Dear diary....

E.M. Delafield first published excerpts from The Diary of a Provincial Lady (a semi-autobiographical but largely fictional work) in the magazine Time and Tide. I was rather surprised to discover that Time and Tide had started life as a left-wing magazine, as Provincial lady is certainly not left-wing (I think she would probably have a fit of the vapours just thinking about it!).

It's an entertaining, light read, often very funny, at times horribly snobbish and inevitably imbued with the spirit of its age - cosy provincial England in the 1930s. Indeed, the England of Agatha Christie, and I must admit I occasionally did wish that a murderer would appear. It is often impossibly twee. Nevertheless when the provincial lady does let rip - as with her bete noire the impossibly (and all too probably) snobbish know-it-all Lady Boxe, it is devastatingly funny.

Not one of my favourite books of all time - the snobbery and middle-classness was all a bit much for me, but I'll probably give another one of the books in the series a go, if only in the hope that they will improve.


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