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Wait for Me!: Memoirs

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  2,350 Ratings  ·  313 Reviews

A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ 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

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Paperback, 345 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by Picador (first published September 1st 2010)
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Mariel
Dec 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lauren
Recommended to Mariel by: Lauren
I bought Deborah Mitford's (I refuse to call her Debo. Just try and make me!) memoir Wait for me! for my twin sister as a Christmas present. I tried not to get her something that I wanted to read and she had little interest in. Because I would never do something like that. If my twin was Deborah Mitford (I refuse to call her Laur for this review) she could write a memoir that goes like this: "Mariel was always kind to use her interesting taste to push me into reading books that I would otherwise ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Apr 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an advantage for an author of autobiographer to outlive most of the other people in one’s life so that one may be perfectly honest about one’s opinions of them. This is the case with Deborah Mitford (actually Deborah Cavendish) in this slightly unfocused memoir. No feelings are hurt when she points out that Evelyn Waugh was very witty when sober – but he was sober for such a short time and the rest of the evening he was miserably insulting. And she can be honest about her father’s having le ...more
Nicholas
I'll read anything related to the Mitfords but there's no getting around it: Deborah doesn't write as well as Nancy or Jessica. She is best when she’s describing her upbringing, but even then she relies on the published words of her sisters from time to time. By the final third of the book, it’s become a long list of events and celebrated people whom she’s entertained and it gets both a little confusing and a little boring. As Janet Maslin noted in her review in the Sunday Times in December, whe ...more
Petra Eggs
One day I will write a review of this big book by a very big personality who does not have the same frame of reference as the rest of us.

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
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Mo
Jul 18, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
A bunch of random remembrances, strung together without much regard for interest, amusement, nor continuity.

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
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Ceilidh
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Deborah Cavendish, better known as the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire and the last remaining Mitford sister, has lived a life so eventful that it almost seems mythical. From her oft-discussed childhood with her five sisters to tea with Hitler and helping to revive the ailing fortunes of the famed Cavendish estate, there is much in Debo’s life that has yet to be covered by the numerous biographies, memoirs of her sisters and collections of letters that have packed the shelves. Unfortunately, “Wait ...more
Jaylia3
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful new addition to the Mitford canon by Deborah, The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, known as "Debo". Her sisters Nancy, Diana and Jessica (Decca) long ago wrote their own books, but being the youngest and only living sibling Debo brings a different perspective to WAIT FOR ME!. Nancy and the other older children hated having to move from Asthall Manor, where they had freedom and privacy because their rooms were in a converted barn, but Debo, then six, loved their new home at Swin ...more
Danielle Raine
Jan 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wait for Me is much more than an account of life within the Mitford family (though that aspect is certainly entertaining). Throughout her life, Debo had a priveledged access to the highter echelons of society, both in her home country and, (as the wife of a government minister and close friend of Presidents), across the world. Although she was not born a Duchess, Debo did come from a very well connected aristocratic family. Despite this, she retained a down-to-earth personality - as happy on a h ...more
Jennifer
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, 2012
I have been fascinated by the Mitfords for years so when I knew I was coming to the UK I decided that one of the books I would pack was Deborah Devonshire's memoir Wait for Me! Every member of the Mitford family has their own amazing points of interest whether it's Diana's marriage to fascist leader Oswald Moseley, Nancy's wit and literary career, or Unity's devotion to Hitler. They had their own languages and nicknames growing up that they continued to use their whole lives - the clan feels lik ...more
Rebecca Budd
April 10, 2016 was National Siblings Day. I have two brothers and one sister who have been with me through good times, bad times and everything in between. They are the first ones I call to celebrate achievements and milestone. In times of decision, they are there to offer their support and guidance. In moments of sadness, I feel their presence in silent communion. They have been with me for my whole journey and will be with me as we move ever forward.

By happy coincidence, April 10th was the day
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Ali
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
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Lois
Jun 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wait for Me, a Memoir by Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire.

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
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Drayton Bird
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book - written at the age of 90 - very good indeed, and a fine corrective to those who think Downton Abbey accurately reflects the lives of the English Aristocracy.

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
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Melee
Not the most compelling read at times, but quite interesting. The bits about her sisters were golden, of course. Several mysteries from The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters were cleared up for me. Such as, what the phrase "Do admit." means. Those words often popped up in their letters and I was amused by it but could never figure out what they meant exactly. Also, I found out why everyone referred to Debo's friend, Kitty Mersey, as "Wife" or "My Wife". So, I was rather delighted to have tho ...more
Kennedy
I think the Mitford family is fascinating. They were such a part of history.

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
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Norma
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written account of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire's early years as the youngest sibling in the well-known Mitford line-up. While I haven't rated it as "amazing," (doesn't always apply, does it?)* I loved this book. It's so funny to note that, as was often repeated in her letters to Patrick Leigh Fermor (in the book,"In Tearing Haste"), Debo was known to detest reading, which makes it hard to understand how she turned out to be such a good writer.

There's a very good video online o
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Nette
Dec 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mixed feelings. The first half, which describes her childhood, was charming and funny, although I've already read most of the same stories in her sisters' books. The second half, which focuses on her stately home(s) and her horses and her la-de-da guests, didn't interest me at all. She comes off as shallow and and clueless. I was put off by the running commentary about the the glorious past vs the annoying present. She pines for the days when people were SO much more glamorous, and it was easier ...more
David Conway
A self-indulgent and ultimately tedious catalogue of names,dates and scandalous privilege. Were the author to acknowledge the last of these - rather than advocate, as she does, its preservation - one might feel more sympathetic. As it is, with the brouhaha surrounding the Queen's Jubilee already gathering strength, this book is a timely reminder of how class-ridden British society still is. Hitherto mildly left-leaning, nothing more, I now yearn for the sound of the tumbrels. Moreover, having go ...more
Angie
I needed to read a memoir (a juicy one? Not sure this ended up fitting that description) for a reading challenge, and this caught my eye. Deborah Mitford Cavendish aka Debo aka Duchess of Devonshire saw a lot of changes take place in her lifetime; including living through the Second World War, losing several children in infancy, being married to an alcoholic, and dealing with lots of family drama as just a sampling. She was the youngest of the famous Mitford sisters, who include Nancy Mitford, t ...more
Peter
Oct 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


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
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CS
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, the Mitford sisters.

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
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Beth Bonini
Nov 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have an insatiable fascination for the Mitford sisters, but I have mostly read about them from a biographer's point-of-view. (An exception would be Jessica Mitford's Hons and Rebels -- but Debo claims that a lot of the material in that was highly exaggerated!) This is no personal diary, though, and although interesting -- it is far from revealing. DD makes it clear that her sisters tended to keep their own counsel on personal matters and their innermost thoughts, even from each other; so with ...more
^
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brides
Recommended to ^ by: my mother
Deborah Devonshire (DD) writes superbly. She knows how to tell a story because she looks at the world not only from her own direct experience, but also from her ever-present keen consideration of those around her. To find such selflessness is a truly humbling experience in itself. There is a very British saying, 'By your friends ye are known'. Selflessness engenders deep and loyal friendships, and many, many of them. At this point I have to also compliment her editor, Charlotte Moseley, and her ...more
Donna
Sep 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For an account of the fascinating lives of the Mitford family, Mary Lovell's "The Sisters" is a much better book, as well as anything written by Nancy Mitford or "Hons and Rebels" by Jessica Mitford. What this book adds is an account of youngest daughter Deborah's life: her early life with her eccentric family (writers, Nazi sympathizers, Communists, etc...) from her point of view, later WWII, and her life as one of the most privileged aristocrats in all of the UK, and her help in saving Chatswo ...more
Lisa Jarman
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting book about a remarkable life of duty and privilege. The book can be a little dry in places but it isn't without humour. What i found really fascinating was how having a title could really open doors for you in the past in a way that it probably no longer does. Deborah Devonshire is obviously a bright and energetic individual who gets involved with many organisations and companies, making a great success of her roles but you do wonder if she would have been on the board of Ta ...more
Carolyn
Feb 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I loved this book, but then I'm a bit of an anglophile and I did visit Chatsworth 14 years ago (and stayed at the wonderful Devonshire Arms)and found it breathtaking. I'm also fascinated by the Mitford sisters and have read a number of works about them. This autobiography combines all those interests in a sort of perfect storm. Add into that elements of the Kennedy's, the Bright Young People of the 20's/30's, a ton of great discussion of architecture, gardening and a wide smattering of var ...more
Margaret Heller
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
It's no secret that I have long had a slight obsession with the Cavendish family, and in particular the women who have married into this family. I spent one of the most gleeful days of my life wandering around Chatsworth in 2004. I also have long had a slight obsession with the Mitfords: six sisters who exemplified in their own lives nearly every political movement of the twentieth century-- fascism, communism, socialism, conservatism, apathy. And they all were delightful writers, even when thei ...more
DeB MaRtEnS
A string of memories recounted, told as though the reader must already know the cast of Deborah's life characters and strewn with pet names which the British upper classes seem to love adorning their very "in crowd" with. I found the style garrulous, unstructured and confusingly hodgepodge. Even though I persisted gamely until half way through, the historical context simply was missing. I wished to learn about this woman, the history around her and her importance. She was incapable of serving up ...more
The Book Queen
3.5 stars

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
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Melody
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heard, memoir
I suspect that this is precisely the wrong place to start with the Mitfords. I was thrown willy-nilly into a confusing jumble of nicknames (each person has several), titles and anecdotes. I retire bloody and beaten.

Mitford aficionados, I'm open for advice.
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261994
Deborah Vivien Freeman-Mitford Cavendish, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, who published under the name of Deborah Mitford, was brought up in Oxfordshire, England. In 1950 her husband, Andrew, the 11th Duke of Devonshire, inherited extensive estates in Yorkshire and Ireland as well as Chatsworth, the family seat in Derbyshire, and Deborah became chatelaine of one of England’s great houses. She is th ...more
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