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on 1 August 1999
Miss Delafield is one of the forgotten, feminine feminists of the inter-war years. Her 'Provincial Lady' fictional diaries gave light relief to the more solemn pages of Lady Rhondda's 'Time and Tide' magazine, reminding her readers that it was possible to worry about the hyacinth bulbs as well as the state of female emancipation. In the mid 1930s she accepted a commisssion to travel the Soviet Union. This book tells the tale, from the awfulness of her travelling companions, a collection of idealists, forward thinkers, bores and opportunists, to the truly committed and hard working community she found on a collective farm deep in the Ukraine. She managed to travel surprisingly widely at a time when the 1917 Revolution was still a fresh memory and westerners a source of deep suspicion. Ever wry, about her fellow travellers and about herself, but always confident, Miss Delafield tells a good story, and makes a good case for never leaving home without flea-powder. The publicists will have confused prospective readers with the title and the dustjacket; this is NOT a 'Provincial Lady' fiction but an autobiographical travel book. And the editing, presumably by the 1930s publishers, makes the tale jump from London to collective farm to the start of the journey, but nonetheless this is a little gem. It deserves to be read by students of 1930s social history, by admirers of the light writers of the day, and by anyone who is surprised by the continuing literalness of Russian hotel desk clerks.
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on 16 February 2014
The underlying humanity is there, of course, but this is a very much more serious thing, underneath the self-deprecating manner. It is a series of articles. I wonder how it would strike a reader born after 1990? The picture painted of the Soviet Union is a familiar one to those old enough to read in the 1970's or earlier, perhaps. So far as I can judge the picture is drawn well.
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on 21 April 2010
I can't recommend this book enough to anyone who's interested in life in the 1930s Soviet Union. Insightful and humorous, it creates a realistic and funny picture. It's quite positive and a must for any aspiring writer who want to set their book in the prewar Russia.
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on 10 January 2014
A factual account of EM Delafield's visit to Russia in the mid-30s. Because of this, it's a bit more episodic than the "Diaries" and feels like a few separate documents stuck together, with no particular development. Interesting insights into attitudes of times and, as you'd expect, entertaining on other people, particularly other tourists.

Minor quibble - page 122 is missing.
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on 8 May 2015
This did not begin to come up to the standard of the earlier 3 books about the provincial Lady which I have regularly read over the last 60 years. I was very disappointed. It was rather dreary not only in the subject matter but in the total lack of the usual humour in the previous books which I strongly recommend.
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on 11 October 2014
quite boring really, no where near as good as the other Pov.Lady books. But interesting insights into pre-2nd war Communist Russia.
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on 28 September 2014
So very good I will read it again a joy too read
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on 20 February 2016
Very good of its time
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