Judy's Reviews > Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
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it was ok

After reading and enjoying many Persephone books, I was expecting a lot from their number one bestseller. However, I found myself a bit disappointed, and would have to say for me this is one of their weakest titles out of those I've read.

At the start, a poor, timid, middle-aged governess is sent by an agency to a prospective new job. After she knocks on a stranger's door in London, a series of comic misunderstandings see her being welcomed in by a kindhearted nightclub singer, Miss LaFosse. Within hours, Miss Pettigrew is busy helping her new friend/employer to organise her love life, sampling all kinds of exciting food and drink and borrowing clothes and make-up.

The glamorous world of the Bright Young Things is fun to share, but the story is slow, repetitive and predictable. I also just didn't find the writing all that funny - not a patch on Angela Thirkell or other comic writers of the period. Another problem is the anti-Semitism and prejudice against Italians - this is detailed in other GR reviews, so I won't go over it all again here, but it certainly sours the supposedly sweet, feelgood atmosphere!

Overall, I don't quite understand why this flimsy Cinderella story gets so much love. Maybe because the book itself is so beautifully produced, with lovely illustrations, or because it has been filmed? I haven't yet seen the film but have heard good things about it. There is also a very enjoyable introduction by Henrietta Twycross-Martin, detailing how she put the novel forward for republication and discovered the author was still alive at that time. Two and a half stars for me.
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Reading Progress

February 22, 2018 – Started Reading
February 22, 2018 – Shelved
February 28, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Canadian Loved your review. I didn’t much like this either—for all of the reasons you articulate so well.

Judy Canadian wrote: "Loved your review. I didn’t much like this either—for all of the reasons you articulate so well."

Thank you - a shame, it is so beautifully produced but the book just doesn't live up to the expectations.

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