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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, a rural Mrs Miniver, 27 Aug 2009
This review is from: One Fine Day (Paperback)
'I am a perfectly happy married woman, simply getting a little greyer, duller, more tired than I should be getting, because my easier sort of life has come to an end.' In fact, Laura is only 38 - how young that seems to us now - but in 1946 the nation was weary. For the no longer wealthy upper-middle class, the penny is beginning to drop that their parlourmaids, cooks and gardeners are lost to them forever. Laura's life is now an incompetent struggle with housework, trying to maintain standards of a leisured world that has been lost forever. Her husband - though he helps with the washingup - still grieves for the old ways, the polished silver and candles, the immaculate gardens. Her mother cannot grasp that it has gone forever.
On one perfect summer's day, this is an elegy for all that is lost and a hymn of thanks for peace, that England and Laura's family have survived. Mollie Panter-Downes's writing is beautiful, you can feel the heat, smell the roses.
As other reviewers have noted, the book ends on a hopeful note that all will be well. I couldn't help wondering, though, what Laura would have made of the ugliness of so much of our modern life; the bare legs of women who couldn't buy stockings were shocking then, but what would she think of today's tattooed ladies? I felt a surge of nostalgia for all that we have thrown away.
Virago, sadly, have thrown away the lovely Charles Ginner book cover from my 1985 edition; sad that they thought fit to replace it with a bland, meaningless modern cover - but probably that says it all. Any chance of starting a campaign for real Viragos? Their covers used to be one of life's small joys.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Jun 2013 18:57:03 BDT
Flora Cake says:
Had to laugh at the 'tattoo'd ladies' comment, being one myself! Of course I know that we would be outrageous to the sensibilities of those times, but then it was still 'very modern' to wear trousers, and a woman who didn't marry was an old maid, or something worse!
It sounds like an interesting piece on the difficulties of adjusting to Post War life, but I feel the reviewer is caught up in the nostalgia of a Golden Age, and our world is no uglier in many ways. The ugliness of that time was just swept under the carpet more.
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