Goodness, how rebellious have I been – not very to be honest:
This Virago Modern Classic edition contains not only The Diary of a Provincial Lady but also: The Provincial Lady Goes Further; The Provincial Lady in America and The Provincial Lady in Wartime.
I had read The Diary of a Provincial Lady before and heard it on Radio 4 read by the wonderful Imelda Staunton but I had not read the other three. I picked this up a few weeks ago at the local charity bookshop and was really looking forward to it. In her introduction to this collection Nicola Beauman states ‘… it would be doing E.M. Delafield a disservice to sit down and read the four Provincial Lady volumes straight through.’ This is the advice I did not heed and I don’t regret it for a moment. Obviously, there were breaks for sleep, food, and work but I have been picking this book up at every opportunity over the last week, OH has got quite used to hearing me snort with laughter while sitting on the sofa, while stirring gravy, while in the bath, when waiting for the kettle to boil to make tea etc etc. I don’t for one minute think I have done Delafield a disservice, yes there is repetition but her repeated minor social gaffs (always arriving too early for everything), repetition of certain thoughts and phrases (Answer came there none) are part of her character and the repetition, I felt, added consistency. Who of us doesn’t have character traits, sayings/expressions that those who know us and love us could spot in a heart beat?
I did feel a little bereft when I came to the end of the Wartime section today – not quite sure what book to go to next. I have a large pile of ‘to be read’ books but what I am wanting right now is any one of a number of books in the Persephone catalogue and not any of the books I actually have at home waiting to be read!
But I am off to bed shortly so I need to make a decision and find something to read for an hour or so before sleep.