Monday, November 29, 2010


What are your reading expectations when you pick up a book? Entertainment? Knowledge? Escape from the mundane? Maybe it depends upon your mood, the season, personal drama?  Sometimes nothing but a serious read will do.  To delve into the history of a certain time period can make one feel like such an adult--to choose to study rather than have it inflicted upon.

But times in between I need a witty book, well-written of course.  Humor with style is the dessert after  serious reading.

The Provincial Lady in London by E.M. Delafield is dessert.  I reviewed her first book, Diary of  a Provincial Lady here. Delafield's style of writing is so current yet the book was written in the 1930's.  I first learned of Delafield from Simon (Stuck in a Book), and she is now one of my favorite writers.

Our Provincial Lady (PL) is a wife, mother, and writer living in the southern English countryside. Money is usually an issue so there are strained relations with her banker; a flat to be had in London despite tight finances; another writing deadline looming overhead; and the usual flare-ups (humorous and otherwise) with friends and family.

PL shows great wit and wisdom tracking the ups and downs of her life.  In one entry she keeps putting off having a difficult conversation with her daughter's Governess (Mademoiselle): "Decide to do so immediately after breakfast, but find myself inventing urgent errands in quite other parts of the house, which occupy me until Mademoiselle safely started for walk with Vicky (daughter). (Query: Does not moral cowardice often lead to very marked degree of self-deception? Answer: Most undoubtedly yes.)"

If you can't find the time to plow through a book right now, this might be a good choice for you since you can easily snatch a little here and a little there. It's a good book to have stashed in your car or bag when you snag a bit of unexpected time to read.


  1. Given my OCD tendencies I have a love/hate relationship with Delafield. I always want to solve the Provincial Lady's problems. Until recently I didn't even know those editions had dust jackets. But then I found a copy of the first volume with a dust jacket. Surprised the heck out of me. Who'd a thunk it?

  2. Kim, you won the little guardian over at Bayou Quilts. As soon as I get your address, I'll put her in the mail. Thanks for playing!