Wait for Me!: Memoirs
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORSâ€™Â CHOICE
Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire, is the youngest of the famously witty brood that includes the writers Jessica and Nancy. Wait for Me! chronicles her remarkable life, from an eccentric but happy childhood roaming the Oxfordshire countryside, to tea with her sister Unity and Adolf Hitler in 1937, to her marriage to Andrew Cavendi
The Duchess loves keeping chickens and running her little shops as well as the magnificent palace she calls home. When launching her London store, she called on Prince Charles and asked him to pop in, as it would give her some publicity. Not our world, eh? But you wouldn't hold anything against her, she doesn't have a snobbish or malicious bone in her body, a l ...more
For example: This is one entire paragraph, in which the author describes her father (Farve).
’My good clothes’ were cosseted like his car and gun. Mabel the parlourmaid was in charge and he was always well dressed. In the country, his appearance was indistinguishable from that of a gamekeeper, an occupation that would have suited him to the ground. He wore a brown velveteen waistcoat, alte ...more
By happy coincidence, April 10th was the day ...more
I have, over the last few years become something of a Mitford addict. Having read several biographies, a couple of collections of letters and many of Nancy's novels I am seriously hooked. Some of the tales recounted in the beginning of this book, I have encountered before - but I love them, it's like meeting up with old friends. Of course Debo (as any Mitford fan will know her) was born 16 years after the eldest Nancy, and so her childhood expirences and relationships with her siblings differ fr ...more
Having just read Mary Lovell's "The Sisters", I found the first part of this repetitive with many of the same photos and stories. Lovell, however, is a much better writer. A good deal of this book is apparently based on her appointment books and diaries and seems like a recital of where she went, who she met, what she did, giving a detailed account of what it is like to be a duchess. She was a staunch Conservative and even demonstra ...more
I was reminded of the phrase often used that someone "knew anybody who was anybody", because the author met an astonishing number of the people who shaped the 20th century and describes what they were like very well.
The index gives you a pretty good idea. She had tea with Hitler,was related to Churchill, verhy friendly ...more
I really enjoyed the first part of this book. It is Debo's childhood and teen years and has lots of great stories about her family members.
However, when it got to the point where her father-in-law, the Duke of Devonshire died and the family had to pay death taxes it went down hill quickly for me. They had to pay 80% taxes, which yes, is a huge portion of their wealth. But when she's saying how they had to sell off 42,0 ...more
There's a very good video online o ...more
So let's get the pun out of the way asap. There is much chats-worth in this book. Indeed, a month's worth of chat all neat and tidy.
Deborah Mitford's Wait for Me is a remarkable memoir. I found it candid, relaxed in tone, and, frankly, overwhelming. Overwhelming in a good way. In some ways it is a real Downton Abbey of the twentieth century. Among the pages stroll princes and the Queen, Prime Ministers and Presidents. Also, we met governesses, chauffeurs, gamekeepers, nurses and townspeople. We ...more
No matter if you are Team Nancy or Team Decca (the two sisters that seem to enjoy the most support, probably because both were prolific writers during their lives - and also because no one really wants to claim Team Unity or Team Diana thanks to their avid support of Fascism), there is something for everyone in Debo's memoir. The last surviving Mitford, Debo tells her side of the family lore already made familiar thanks to Nancy's fiction and Decca's autobiography.
One ha ...more
Despite Debo's lack of skill as a writer - everything is told to us, rather than shown (which I can understand, as it's an autobiography, which I imagine would be quite hard to write), and everything is recounted more like a list or a textbook than a narrative - this is an engaging and vivid account of a wonderful life. Some chapters are more interesting than others - I enjoyed her tales about her childhood and début in society more than her stories about the charities represented - but ...more
Mitford aficionados, I'm open for advice.