Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Diary of a Provincial Lady - E M Delafield

If Bridget Jones had been a 1920s housewife, this would be her. The fictional diaries of the unnamed Provincial Lady document the daily life of the well-intentioned, self-conscious and scathingly sarcastic narrator. We are shown her family life in a small village in Devon, and in the sequels follow her on a tour of America and to London during WWII.

While not very much “happens”, as such, the wonderful turns of phrase and the diarist’s acerbic observations on human nature had me sniggering rather loudly in the canteen at work. My boyfriend picked it up at one point, glanced down the page and asked me when it was written. When I told him the 1930s, he said that he hadn’t realised people were so sarcastic in those days.

The Diary of a Provincial Lady defies the common preconception that older books tend to be quite polite and sedate, and instead looks with a keen sense of the ridiculous at peoples’ everyday habits and tendencies. A cleverly written series of books that have the feel of sitting down for a cup of tea and a gossip with an old friend - perfect for curling up with at the end of a long day.

Next up: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

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