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

Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson

Mrs. Tim of the Regiment is the first in a popular series of four Mrs. Tim novels and it revolves around Hester Christie, who is married to Tim, a military man. Hester leads a busy and stressful life and she has to take care of many things as a military wife. Since her husband Tim is often away, Hester has her hands full with her children, Betty and Bryan and then, there are her social and domestic responsibilities that keep our heroine busy. Thus, when she learns that her family will soon have to move to a new regiment, Hester is not really pleased, as she knows that her life will become even more stressful. From the troubles of settling in to saving a dear friend from making a disastrous marriage, Hester has to deal with many new predicaments and dramas in Scotland. And when the wealthy Major Morley enters Hester’s life one day, our heroine finds out that life is often unexpected and that it takes you by surprise.

Written in diary form, Mrs. Tim of the Regiment gives the reader an account of Hester’s daily events and it displays the hectic and stressful life of a military wife in the 1930s. Mrs. Tim of the Regiment is very charming and wonderful and I really enjoyed reading this book. Since I loved Miss Buncle’s Book, I was eager to read about Mrs. Tim and her adventures and I am so glad that D.E. Stevenson has again managed to write such an amusing novel. Some books that are written in diary form are often boring, as the various daily activities and the limited dialogue often slow the story down, but this is not the case here. The author narrates Mrs. Tim’s story in an exciting way, entertaining the reader with detailed descriptions, action and some witty dialogue.

I really liked Mrs. Tim of the Regiment because it was interesting to find out about the life of a military wife and to read about Mrs. Tim’s adventures, troubles and dilemmas. The characters in this book were amusing and delightful and it was a pleasure to read about them. Overall, I find that Mrs. Tim of the Regiment is an engaging and lovely novel written by a talented and wonderful author. I am looking forward to reading more works by D.E. Stevenson in the near future!

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

Andreea

The 1930s Mini – Challenge

When I heard about Nymeth’s 1930s Mini – Challenge, I didn’t know if I could take part, since I didn’t have any books to read for this reading challenge. However, I really wanted to join, since I love books that are set between the wars. I don’t really know when it all started; I just know that I love to read about this specific period, especially when these books are set in England. There’s just something so special about the 1930s (and about Interwar Literature in general) and I find it fascinating to learn more about these years. I have already read a couple of books that are set between the wars and I must say that I really loved them all. High Rising by Angela Thirkell, Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson and The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim are just a few of them and they are such wonderful, entertaining and lovely books!

That’s why I wanted to read more interwar books and luckily, I finally can, because I received some great books yesterday. Peter Miller from Bloomsbury Publishing has kindly sent me some books that are set between the 1920s and 1950s and I can’t wait to read them all! I wasn’t really expecting to receive so many books and I am really grateful for that! Unfortunately, only one of these books is actually set in the 1930s, thus I can only read that one for Nymeth’s reading challenge. However, I will enjoy reading them all, as they are set in the early 20th century and I love every book that is set in the past. And I think I will also be able to read a Persephone book for this challenge as well, namely, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson.

But now let’s have a look at the Bloomsbury books:

 

Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson (the author of Miss Buncle’s Book)

Love’s Shadow by Ada Leverson

A Kid for Two Farthings by Wolf Mankowitz

Henrietta’s War by Joyce Dennys

Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker

The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson (which I actually read but not reviewed yet)

Daphne by Justine Picardie (a literary mystery about Daphne du Maurier and the Bronte siblings – I have wanted to read this one since I discovered it last year)

So what about you? Have you read any of these books? (I know Nymeth has)! Also, are you going to join? If you want to learn more about this reading challenge, please click here.