“Feel that life is wholly endurable, and decide madly to get a new hat.
An amusing glimpse into the diary of a very simpleminded and clumsy Provincial Lady, her careless and grumbly husband Robert, her too truthful children and her hopelessly pretending neighborhood. It reads almost like a forerunner to "Bridget Jones' Diary" with its endearing scenes of everydaylife, not-too-practical musings on personal economy and unlucky efforts to dye one's hair.
The book is composed of simple and short sentences - which can be tiring at times, but generally feels very convincing. The fact is, this does seem like a diary, someone would keep; it is not filled with pompous musings and elegant language - but it is perfectly believable. Filled with little memos and random wonderings, "The Diary of a Provincial Lady" almost feels like a personal notebook.
I adored the many literary references, and laughed wholeheartedly at the Provincial Lady and her literary aspirations. In fact, the entire novel is buzzing with books people read (or pretend to read) in order to seem intellectual and cultural enough. The book of the month that nobody reads and everybody hates, the narrator's desperate wish to love Keats, and the many acquaintances of authors and artists are perfect examples of literary snobberies.
But beneath the many satiric layers of country-life lies a feministic worldview and a delicately executed criticism. Lady Boxe almost reminded me of Austen's Lady Catherine de Burgh, and Delafield does indeed possess that particular Austenesque sense of comical personalities.
“She is never alone when she has Her Books. Books, to her, are Friends. Give her Shakespeare or Jane Austen, Meredith or Hardy, and she is Lost - lost in a world of her own. She sleeps so little that most of her nights are spent reading.