Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Winifred Watson's charming 1938 novel Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day was reprinted by Persephone Press and made into a movie fifty years after it first appeared. Miss Pettigrew is a poor, middle-aged governess who mistakenly is sent to a zany, socialite's apartment for a new job post. There, prim Miss Pettigrew becomes fast friends with Miss Delysia La Fosse, nightclub singer and bon vivant. Appearing first as a fine example of "what not to wear," Miss P. is transformed, Cinderella-like, by Miss La F. into a glamourous vision in black velvet, sparkling jewelry and, for the first time in her life, a generous application of powder, rouge and eyebrow pencil. After that, Miss Pettigrew experiences a joie de vivre she has never before felt and, not to spoil the suspense, it isn't long before romance is on the horizon for our lonely spinster.

If you like E.F. Benson's Mapp and Lucia (1931) series or E.M. Delafield's Diary of a Country Lady (1931), you might enjoy this light period piece.

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