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Diary of a Provincial Lady (Provincial Lady Series) Paperback – August 30, 2005


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Diary of a Provincial Lady (Provincial Lady Series) + The Provincial Lady in London + The Provincial Lady In America (Provincial Lady Series)
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Product Details

  • Series: Provincial Lady Series
  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897330536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897330534
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

I finished the book in one sitting, leaving the children unbathed, dogs unwalked, a husband unfed, and giving alternate cries of joy and recognition throughout Jully Cooper I reread, for the nth time, E. M. Delafield's dry, caustic Diary of a Provincial Lady, and howled with laughter India Knight Glorious, simply glorious DAILY TELEGRAPH She converts the small and familiar dullness of life into laughter The TIMES --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

The Provincial Lady has a nice house, a nice husband (usually asleep behind The Times) and nice children. In fact, maintaining Niceness is the Provincial Lady’s goal in life — her raison d'être. She never raises her voice, rarely ventures outside Devon (why would she?), only occasionally allows herself to become vexed by the ongoing servant problem, and would be truly appalled by the confessional mode that has gripped the late 20th century. The Provincial Lady, after all, is part of what made Britain great.

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Customer Reviews

Funny and delightful.
Victoria
This book is most effective when read in small increments, and is very much worth reading, particularly by those who enjoy early-20th century women's literature.
LH422
I first read this book a few years ago, and bought the Kindle edition so that I could reread it.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Tsila Sofer Elguez on July 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Am determined to write impressions from this book in the style of "the Provincial Lady" herself. Am doubtful however as to the outcomes of this effort as my highest labors would not reach the dry frank witticism she displays.
Provincial Lady does her best to satisfy the wishes of silent husband (... "Robert, this morning, complains of insufficient breakfast. Cannot feel that porridge, scrambled eggs, toast, marmalade, scones, brown bread and coffee give adequate grounds for this, but admit that porridge is slightly burnt...."), intimidating cook, beloved children (... "Robin - whom I refer to in a detached way as "the boy" so that she shan't think I am foolish about him..., "Vicky,.... Enquires abruptly whether, if she died, I should cry?"), Mademoiselle (the nanny), Gardner and all kinds of friends and neighbors including the tiring Lady Birkenshop, "our vicar's wife" and the hated Mrs. B. ("query: Is not a common hate one of the strongest links in human nature?... answer, most regrettably, in the affirmative.")
This is the same women world. Husband is as usual quiet and does not give any consolation and the Lady struggles to please everyone and not forget herself and her own wishes (and health) on the way. How very sad to discover it was the same (woman) world even 70 years ago ... Book is so very candid and manages to capture the ever lasting nuances of human behavior ("Mem: Candid and intelligent self examination as to motive, etc., often leads to very distressing revelations...."), little lies, social pretenses and the day to day struggles. Funny and entertaining yet can be tiring at times - since the day to day life is indeed tiring . Very very British and thus charming.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
Delafield's Diary of a Provencial Lady is a classic that shares company with the likes of Eudora Welty, Kate Chopin and even Twain. Unlike Welty, Delafield is chatty. But don't let the airy prose fool you. She captures all the wit and humor of a woman's provencial life in England. Where Chopin's Awakening is tragic and dream-like, Delafield's world briskly bumbles along. Her use of present tense almost makes you breathless. Delafield immediately sets a quick pace and you want to read on and on to to keep up with all the "goings on" in the book. The piece is masterfully written and is a must for those looking to expand their literary boundaries.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Megami on November 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
This charming book was written in the period between the wars, and tells of the daily trials and tribulations of the Provincial Lady - dealing with the servants, nosy neighbours, the horribly snobbish local 'upper class', the husband who hides behind the paper. Always told with style and wit, we observe life for the lady in question as she tries to balance the accounts (never a success - where does it all go?), help out at the local Women's Institute, keep her wardrobe up to date and deal with such important issues as modern parenting, keeping one's brain active when living outside of London, and the delicate balance of letting the husband know not too much or too little.
The stand-out thing about this book is the character descriptions and her take on everyday life. If anyone ever tells you people were much nicer/politer in the good old days, just refer them to this book, which shows that there was just as many selfish, impolite, venal, self-centred and downright rude people in the 'good old days' as there are today. We just need to hope that we can deal with them with as much style and aplomb as the Provincial Lady would.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
I reread this every year or two, and love it each time. Admittedly,a product of its time and place, capturing life among the genteely-poor gentry in an English village between the wars(WW's I & II). The diary format makes the provincial lady's narration of and commentary on the events around her doubly funny, as she struggles to run her household and not be driven crazy by nice but dull husband, snobbish wife of husband's boss,disputes among servants,quandaries about children, etc.--and to find time to keep a sense of herself as a professional writer. Not deep, but funny and often touching.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
A very amusing look at the life of a writer/wife/mother in the English counties. Be warned! Once you start with the first "Diary," you'll have to read them all. And, once you've completed them all, it's so disappointing to realize that 1) there are no more left and 2) there's nothing else out there quite like these amusing stories.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Provincial Lady could be Bridget Jones' grandmother-- she discusses a lot of the problems Bridget would have if she ever became a wife and mother. The book has a breezy and easy-to-read tone, and it has aged very well -- you will most likely find some parallels between it and your life. Can't wait to read the others!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
The Diary of a Provincial Lady is a view of England in the years between the World Wars. She writes with humor and sympathy about the limitations and advantages of life in the English countryside. One can pick up this book in the evening, open it at random, and find some description that makes you laugh.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bridget Foster on August 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story is funny and charming in its own right but I was expecting a glimpse of what life was like in the 30s. Wasn't I surprised to find that for women at least life was basically the same then as it is now. Husbands who don't pick up their clothes and expect you to act as mother to them, children who do as you do and not as you say, dinners to orchestrate, annoying neighbors and what the cat dragged in. This could be my life except that I use email instead of surface mail to contact my friends and shop for clothes. Although, her two post deliveries a day seem to be much more expedient then my unanswered emails. A lovely read and thought provoking as well!
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