The Diary of a Provincial Lady, Hardback Book
4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


With a cover design by Cath KidstonBehind this rather prim and proper title lies the hilarious fictional diary of a long-suffering, disaster-prone Devon lady of the 1930s, and her attempts to keep her somewhat ramshackle household from falling into chaos: there's her husband Robert, who, when he's not snoozing behind The Times, does everything with grumbling reluctance; her gleefully troublesome children; and a succession of tricky servants who invariably seem to gain the upper hand. And if her domestic trials were not enough, she must keep up appearances.

Particularly with the maddeningly patronising Lady Boxe, whom the Provincial Lady eternally (and unsuccessfully) tries to compete with.


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This book is a delightful light read. The heroine chronicles daily events and inner thoughts in a quite witty diary. Daily life in "the provinces," i.e.; well outside London, revolves around relationships with her husband, her children, the servants, and fellow villagers. She pokes fun at all of this, while simultaneously revealing her own feelings of inadequacy as wife, parent, employer, friend, or woman of intellect. Several humorous situations are followed through the diary: an attempt to grow garden bulbs, an adopted stray cat who has kittens, vain attempts to stay one step ahead of a bank overdraft, the eccentric behavior of certain villagers, and her husband's general reticence. All are described in a wonderful style, such as this comment about the husband: <i>Very marked difference between the sexes is male tendency to procrastinate doing practically everything in the world except sitting down to meals and going up to bed. Should like to purchase little painted motto: 'Do it now', so often on sale at inferior stationers' shops, and present it to Robert, but on second thoughts qutie see that this would not conduce to domestic harmony, and abandon scheme at once. (p. 156)</i>The "provincial lady" 'is so engaging, and so easy to identify with, and yet is never given a name. Perhaps this is because she is "everywoman"? In any case, this fun little book had me smiling and laughing to myself from page 1 to the end. Delightful.