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on 3 February 2008
The Duchess has that touch of Mitford wit that can also be seen in Nancy & Jessica's writings. Filled with pithy observations about aspects of life in Britain and history, I was laughing out loud at her recountments of ancestral adventures (brothers sharing one hotel room with a dead body, everyone crying at the birth of another girl) and encounters with the general public ("Saw the duchess in the garden, she looked quite normal."; "That's the Dowager Duchess. It was taken the year she died."). A gem of a book!
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on 11 October 2007
I picked this book up on a whim and couldn't put it down! It had me laughing out loud at times. It's worth the price of the book just for her two lines about her new T.V.
The authoress is witty, charming, opinionated (and I certainly don't agree with all of her views (for example I love sparrowhawks and hate the cult around Elvis)) but above all I found her adorable.
A lovely gem of a book.
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on 13 August 2010
I knew nothing of the Mitford sisters, especially not that one lived so nearby my family home, until I read `The Mitford's: Letters Between Six Sisters' a few years ago which swiftly became one of my all time favourite reads. Deborah Devonshire, or `Debo', is the youngest and last surviving of the Mitford sisters and was also one of the people responsible for turning Chatsworth into the stately success that it has become. In an assorted collection of articles, diaries and reviews that make up `Counting My Chickens' we gain a greater in sight into her life. From here childhood with her siblings, to taking on Chatsworth and all it entails and to how live has changed for her over the years (I wanted to say as she aged but I fear it would be improper with a Mitford sister and rather impolite).

There are three sections to the collection; `Diaries' looks at her life over several years and has titbits on her sisters and other famous relatives, her thoughts on the TV version of `Love in a Cold Climate' are interesting and thought provoking. `Chatsworth' looks at how the estate has changed over the years, the responsibilities of it and how much she adores the place and the staff it has housed who have become friends. `Books and Company' is a selection of reviews of books by those she knows or those in the `stately home' genre plus more of a look back on her childhood.

I loved all the sections but it was `Chatsworth' that sang out to me, probably because I was one of the youngsters that used to play in the parkland way back when. It really evokes the atmosphere and scenery of that beautiful part of the English countryside. In fact if you love books that are quintessentially English you need go no further than this or indeed any other Mitford memoir. Like her sister Nancy (I have yet to read anything by Jessica) Deborah Devonshire has a way of phrasing things which is sardonic and wry yet delightful and warming. I wonder if it was in their gene pool.
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on 2 February 2009
The now Dowager Duchess of Devonshire recalls incidents from her childhood and her life at Chatsworth House. She is delightfully forthright and whilst you might not necessarily agree with all her opinions, (what is wrong with female weather presenters?!) she is refreshingly honest and down to earth.
Despite the fact that her upbringing and indeed her life is vastly different from the average person, her experiences and her memories will strike a chord with a lot of people. For others it is a great insight into what life was like in days gone by but also gives an insight into what is involved in running a large country estate.
I actually read this book in one night, because I couldn't put it down. However, the format of the book means you could pick it up at any time, each excerpt stands on its own, not dependant on having read the others. Anyone who knows and loves Chatsworth will love this, but even if you haven't visited, it is still an excellent read.
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on 6 December 2001
I couldn't put this book down! Deborah Devonshire is a wonderfully successful business woman and an author with a touch of the Mitford eccentricity. I particularly liked her description of her handbag which she described as "septic". I have one the same. I managed to obtain a signed copy from Chatsworth House - she is a lovely person, taking time to chat to bookbuyers and asking what they would like her to write. I would highly recommend her other books, The Garden at Chatsworth and The House at Chatsworth.
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on 4 August 2009
A delightful little collection of anecdotes and thoughts from an utterly charming and down to earth but very special lady. I enjoyed reading a few pages of this over breakfast each morning - it's not as demanding as a novel, which requires a greater level of concentrated reading. It's a book you can pick up and read at varying intervals. If you're after a sensational blockbuster of a book, this won't be for you. However, if you enjoy dipping in and out of a book as you would spending a few minutes of light hearted informal chat over a cup of tea, then you'll definitely enjoy this book. The anecdote of one of the author's sisters playing "Tea for Two" in a rather churchy fashion on the church organ amused me no end. All in all, thoroughly enjoyable!
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on 20 October 2009
This is a delightful book written by a delightful lady with a wicked sense of humour. Forgive me Your Grace but you would never believe from the style of the writing that it was written by someone hurtling towards ninety. An easy read which will leave you feeling warm at the end.
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on 7 September 2009
I am a huge Nancy Mitford fan and having read her books and books about her many times over thought I would give her younger sister a whirl. The book is hilarious, full of the Mitford, tongue in cheek, slightly satirical, eccentric and always witty observations of life and people. The Duchess has written the book in small chunks of reminiscence and reflection. each chapter could be read as a separate entity and is ideal for the reader who dips as the urge directs. Her writing recalls the past and also analyses the present and also gives an insight into the movers and shakers back in the day. An excellent humorous read all round
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 August 2011
Counting My Chickens: and Other Home Thoughts, is an entertaining collection of occasional writings which first appeared in various newspapers or magazines.
When I started reading this book, I wasn't sure what to expect, but Deborah Devonshire's down to earth, warm and witty personality appealed to me straight away. I laughed at many of her thoughts and finished the book in no time. The article about the similarities with poultry and human behaviour is hilarious. The bit about her favourite Beatrix Potter books also made me smile. I think my favourite part, though, talked about life at Chatsworth, over the years.
All in all this book is a very good read, and I look forward to reading the second compilation, Home to Roost: And Other Peckings
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on 8 September 2014
I absolutely loved this, laughed out loud in parts and couldn't put it down. Like her sisters, she has that gift of communicating with humour and creating wonderful throw-away remarks. Great as a bedside book to pick up when your spirits need a lift!
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