Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson (1938)

Miss Pettigrew is a middle-aged spinster who has to earn her living as a governess. Her life is uneventful and dull, but everything changes when she is accidentally sent by her employment agency to work for a nightclub singer. As soon as she enters Miss LaFosse’s life, Miss Pettigrew is thrilled, overjoyed, surprised and thankful, because Miss LaFosse is such an exciting and glamorous woman. The nightclub singer leads a sophisticated and bohemian life, with her many lovers and her dashing and daring friends. Miss LaFosse’s life is full of surprises, intricacies and troubles and that’s why Miss Pettigrew is so fascinated by the beautiful singer. At first, the governess is shocked to learn about Miss LaFosse’s chaotic and disreputable lifestyle, but the more time she spends with the singer, the more she grows fond of her. And since Miss LaFosse’s life is so unexpected and eclectic, Miss Pettigrew observes everything with great enthusiasm and admiration. But when a series of misunderstandings and stirring events occurs, Miss Pettigrew intervenes and immediately becomes a lifesaver for Miss LaFoss and her friends. In return, the governess is showered with kindness, acceptance and warmth and for the first time in her life, she is treated with respect and she is given the attention she’s always craved.

Miss Pettigrew’s story is remarkable and incredible in every way and it’s a lovely version of Cinderella. The likeable heroine never fails to surprise you, with her newly acquired repartee, her enthusiasm, her wit and her newly found self-confidence. Before she entered Miss LaFosse’s life, Miss Pettigrew never attracted anyone’s attention; she led a bleak life as a governess and nobody was interested in her. She had to live with other people and take care of their children and she never received any recognition for her work. The governess had no one to talk to and to confide in, as she had no friends. But everything changes when our heroine meets Miss LaFoss and her friends. Over a period of 24 hours, Miss Pettigrew’s life is completely altered. Suddenly, people begin to notice her, to listen to her and to ask for her advice. Miss Pettigrew finally feels appreciated and respected and she enjoys every minute of her new life. Our heroine also enjoys her new role as a lifesaver and she is happy that she can help out her new friends. Since she met Miss LaFoss, the governess has learned many things – she has learned to speak her mind, she has learned that she should never judge a book by its cover and she has learned to be daring. But the most important lesson she has learned from her day with Miss LaFosse is that it’s never too late to start living!

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is an irresistible book full of memorable and naughty characters, witty dialogue and wonderful adventures. This novel is humorous, charming and intelligent and I loved everything about it. I devoured every single page of this amazing book, but when I finished reading it, I felt sad and I began to miss all the characters. Miss Pettigrew and the other protagonists have become very dear to me and it was hard for me to part with them. When you love a book so much, you always long for more and you try to hold on to it for as long as you can. And this was the case with Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day; everything was great about it and I cannot understand why it has taken me so long to discover this engaging novel. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read it, because it’s now one of my favorite books.

I highly recommend this charming book to everyone out there who likes to read books set in the past and to everyone who likes to read books with a positive message and a feel-good vibe!

I would like to thank Lydia from Persephone Books for sending me a copy of this enchanting book!

“Persephone Books reprints neglected classics by C20th (mostly women) writers. Each one in our collection of 83 books is intelligent, thought-provoking and beautifully written, and most are ideal presents or a good choice for reading groups.”

For more information, please visit Persephone Books.

Note: This review has been written for Nymeth’s 1930s Mini-Challenge.

Andreea

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vivienne
    May 19, 2010 @ 18:33:45

    I can’t wait to read this one soon.

    Reply

  2. Kathleen
    May 19, 2010 @ 21:14:54

    I loved this movie so much and would love to read the book.

    Reply

  3. iliana
    May 19, 2010 @ 22:50:53

    Isn’t this book wonderful? I love to recommend this when someone ask for a feel good/comfort read. I highly recommend the movie. It’s so good too.

    Reply

  4. Alice Teh
    May 20, 2010 @ 03:08:07

    I will KIV this but it sure sounds like a warm and nice read…

    Reply

  5. Lua
    May 20, 2010 @ 06:11:59

    This sounds like such a charming, wonderful book! I was waiting for your review ever since I saw you were reading it on your sidebar and now I can’t wait to go and get myself a copy 🙂

    Reply

  6. 83October
    May 20, 2010 @ 07:11:41

    This sounds like an interesting book. Hopefully I find it in one of the local book shops.

    Reply

  7. Aarti
    May 20, 2010 @ 18:33:12

    Oh, what a great review! I just won a Persephone copy of this book from Fleur Fisher Reads and it arrived yesterday. I am SO excited to FINALLY have a Persephone book in my possession 🙂 Maybe I’ll take the book with me on my next plane ride. Hmm…

    Reply

  8. Nymeth
    May 20, 2010 @ 20:52:56

    I’m dying to get my hands on this book! I have a feeling I’ll love it just as much as everyone else has.

    Reply

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