Title: Housekeeper's Tale: The Women Who Really Ran the English Country House
Author: Tessa Boase
Publisher: Aurum Press
Publish Date: August 12, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Working as a
housekeeper was one of the most prestigious jobs a nineteenth and early
twentieth century woman could want - and also one of the toughest. A far
cry from the Downton Abbey fiction, the real life Mrs. Hughes
was up against capricious mistresses, low pay, no job security and
grueling physical labor. Until now, her story has never been told. The Housekeeper's Tale
reveals the personal sacrifices, bitter disputes and driving ambition
that shaped these women's careers. Delving into secret diaries,
unpublished letters and the neglected service archives of our stately
homes, Tessa Boase tells the extraordinary stories of five working women
who ran some of Britain's most prominent households."
My Two Cents:
If you've watched Downton Abbey, you know just how important the housekeepers were to running grand houses in England. "The Housekeeper's Tale" is the story of some of the real life housekeepers throughout the decades that ran the houses of England. If you're interested in some of these amazing residences (which I most definitely am), this would be a great pick for you!
This book introduces us to several women starting with Dorothy Doar who lived during the Regency era all the way up to a housekeeper of today, who was also fascinating. I guess I never really thought about the idea that there may still be jobs for people to run these huge houses today! Each of these woman are very different. Boase looks at their personalities, which play a huge role in how they run the house. Some of the women are beloved by the people whose houses they run. Others are terrors (and those may be the most fun to read about!!!).
I really liked how the author wove these women in with a lot of good historical detail. The times in which the women live in definitely affected the way that they ran the houses. In times of war or economic issues, these women had to change the ways that they were used to in order to make sure that things still ran smoothly. I really liked the pictures that were included in the book. They really helped to give you a great sense of these women's lives. Overall, I really enjoyed this book!