R M Dashwood is the daughter of E M Delafield who wrote The Diary of a Provincial Lady, which I read and thoroughly enjoyed many years ago. In Provincial Daughter, Rosmund Dashwood has written not exactly a sequel to her mother’s books, but a new take on a similar situation, that of a middle class woman and the trials and tribulations of bringing up a family with not enough money to quite meet the social expectations of her class. Which makes it all sound a bit pompous, but this is a very funny novel.

The story is set in the 1950s and covers three months where the narrator (never named) decides to keep a diary of her goings-on just to demonstrate to herself that she isn’t wasting her fine mind and expensive education. So we find out about her husband the doctor, her three sons, her friends and neighbours, her German au pair and her writing career.

I found it fascinating; I was born in the early 1960s so this world had largely gone by the tme I would have been old enough to recognise it, although I suspect this is a very English take on things and it might have been a bit different where I grew up. I liked the narrator very much, which always helps, and it’s a shame that there don’t seem to be any further adventures; I would have liked to know whether they moved to Scotland as seemed to be on the horizon at the end of the book, and what that might have meant.

This is good fun, and I loved the cover – what a frock! – and the illustrations by Gordon Davies are excellent. Recommended.

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