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THE DIARY OF A PROVINCIAL LADY (illustrated, with translation of phrases in French) (Timeless Wisdom Collection Book 1150) [Kindle Edition]

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

V. 05/15. Added translations of phrases in French, as requested by many readers.

When first published in 1933, critics on both sides of the Atlantic greeted this book with enthusiasm. This charming, delightful and extremely funny book was named by booksellers in England the o.p. novel most deserving of republication.
It has never been out of print ever since, with new generations getting acquainted with her wit and humor, and loving it, describing it as "funny, poignant, thought provoking and honest".

Her marvelous "Provincial Lady books" are a series of journals written by a middle-class wife and mother, who is full of wit and literary aspirations but who is also tied down to her domestic duties. Although she eventually achieves literary success, she still has to pull off a tricky balancing act between her professional and personal lives.

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Product Description


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)

Book Description

* A delightful and witty celebration of the suburban British housewife

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1457 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Business and Leadership Publishing (27 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #373,982 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it again and again - and still love it! 14 July 2007
"Robert says nothing". But what was he thinking?

The Provincial Lady fascinates me: her way of life, her comments about the social standards predominating before the last war. It could all be rather boring but somehow the way she talks isn't. And I catch something different everytime I re-read the book or listen to the audio cassettes.

There were still shades of the the PL's world left during my childhood in the early 1950's: the baker and grocer still called; my Mum wrote and posted copious notes to companies - ordering, complaining, thanking - as well as writing regular long letters to relatives and friends (she rarely used the phone as it was too expensive); the dreaded visit to the bank manager when finances got tight; everything paid cash and careful records kept of income and expednditure which had to balance every week.
My father was very much head of the house and everything was referred to him - unlike Robert though, he said a good deal, most of it critical.

I would recommend the Provincial Lady books to my future daughter-in-law as a good read, and I hope she would find them just as fascinating. The humour and the quality of the writing must surely appeal to any generation.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just love this book...... 19 Feb. 2004
warm, witty and although it was originally published in the thirties I can still relate to the main character much more than I can relate to Bridget Jones. Some great episodes, especially with the trips to the pawnbroker! A really good bedtime book as it can be read in small chunks, and isn't too demanding of tired brains!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is in fact three volumes collected into one. They are the amusing diaries of a middle-class Englishwoman covering the 1930s and wartime. While they are not really laugh out loud they do bring a smile, often of recognition. The simple domestic incidents are retold very much in the style that most of us use to tell of funny things that happen to us - a bit flippant and exagerated. This book is best read in small doses (it originally appeared as a series of features in a magazine). I would recommend this book most highly.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars social and feminist history in a humorous package 18 April 2006
This diary, plus the later ones in which the author visits America and then works in a forces' canteen in wartime, is a fascinating glimpse of what life was like for a middle class woman in the 1930s. My favourite snippet, from ...Goes Further, is when she visits Boston and at a party asks a young man if he thinks television will ever become a part of everyday life. He looks at her as if she were mad!

The humour is intelligent and infectious and the narrative voice very real despite the 'diary' style.

Don't miss it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My enjoyment of this gentle tale which I read as an e-book on my kindle, was totally ruined by the numerous and ridiculous typos which littered pretty much every single page! Double letters, wrong words,' 13's instead of 'B's! and full stops in the middle of sentences. This script hadn't been anywhere near a copy proof editor, and it would seem that no-one bothered to turn on the spell checker - why not? There were whole sentences rendered unintelligible because there were just so many typos. Whoever published this should withdraw it and do the corrections, if I were E.M. Delafield, I would be horrified that a work of mine was being sold to the public in this condition. Hopefully the paperback has been proofed properly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diary of a Provincial Lady 22 April 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although published in book form in 1934, the “Diary of a Provincial Lady,” started life in 1930 as a serial in “Time and Tide.” Largely autobiographical, Delafield substituted the names “Robin” and “Vicky” for her own children, called Lionel and Rosamund, but, aside from name changes, this is very much a light hearted diary of country life and based upon the author’s own experiences.

The Provincial Lady deals with domestic disasters, the W.I., a monosyllabic husband, mutinous staff and the bossy and opinionated Lady Boxe. There are struggles with indoor bulbs and financial worries, tales of friends visits and reciprocal trips to see them – including shopping in London and a rash holiday to the South of France. Obviously, many of the issues raised in this book, such as domestic servants and boarding schools, are not relevant to the majority of people now. However, much of this book still feels relevant today – her musings of parenting especially ring true, as do her statements on social snobbery, her opinions about neighbours, worrying about how she looks and feeling left out of discussions about shows she has not seen or books she has not read (even if you could now substitute this for television shows or films).

There are many sequels to this book and I am sure that I will read them, as I enjoyed this very much. I found the Provincial Lady delightful and this a very light and humorous read. If you also like this, I would recommend, “Henrietta’s War,” by Joyce Dennys, which has a similar feel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By sally tarbox TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wonderful little 1930 work, cataloguing the minutiae of the narrator's life in a highly humorous and pithy manner.
From Our Vicar's wife and her lengthy visits
("she says...she won't keep me a minute. Tells me long story about the Vicar having a stye on one eye. I retaliate with Cook's sore throat. This leads to draughts, the heating apparatus in church, and news of Lady Boxe in South of France...She goes but turns back at the door to tell me about wool next the skin, nasal douching and hot milk last thing at night.")

to the narrator's taciturn husband, her children, problems with unruly servants, and constant irritations with patronising neighbour Lady B: even our Lady's final attempt at one-upmanship by announcing a forthcoming trip to France is spoilt by Lady B leaning out of her Bentley to offer to find out about quite inexpensive pensions.

Although this is set in a world vastly different from our own, every reader will recognise the people who make up this society.
The Virago edition, which I have, also contains 3 sequels, following our heroine to London, to America and lastly through the war.(which I've not yet read - I think one book at a time is probably sufficient.)
Light, but highly enjoyable and observant writing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's amazing that a book written eighty years ago about the ...
Compiled from Delafield's weekly segments in Time and Tide, this is one of the funniest books that I have ever come across. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maxine Dannatt
5.0 out of 5 stars Dear Diary
Elisabeth just longs for the time and space to write something other than laundry lists and read anything other than household accounts. Read more
Published 2 months ago by pinkmouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Maureen Johnson
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
So boring - don't bother.
Published 2 months ago by P. J. Bailey
4.0 out of 5 stars hilariously funny. I don't know why
I found this book, despite the fact that all the attitudes are completely dated, hilariously funny. I don't know why, as I have absolutely nothing in common with the lady in... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Winifred
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written satire
The Diary of a Provincial Lady is a charming, wry, satirical glimpse into the world of the upper-middle class in Devonshire, England in the late 1920s/early 1930s. Read more
Published 5 months ago by nigeyb
4.0 out of 5 stars good book. but a fair few typing errors in ...
Enjoying it so far, good book. but a fair few typing errors in the kindle version that are a bit irritating
Published 7 months ago by Rach
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love this book. Already owned a 'tree' copy so was really pleased to have a kindle version as well.
Published 7 months ago by cas
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I found it a bit boring.
Published 8 months ago by AndreaW
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The story was entertaining, however the Kindle edition was littered with typos.
Published 8 months ago by Celia Jarvis
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