Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Servants' Hall: A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance by Margaret Powell


Oh man, I am all about that GIF life now. Thanks, new job for making me more tech savvy! (I can actually look at HTML code without getting cross eyed. I know what I'm looking at now!)

But seriously, Herman Munster was appropriate for this book. I feel like I've wasted my "buy one, get one" free Audible book sale because this book was completely useless.

I purchased the book because of it's connection to Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs shows on BBC. I think it's actually the author who inspired those shows... which I thought would lead to some juicy stories and tidbits about the wealthy back in the day. The title of the book has "romance," but it's not the main character's romances, though she discusses the various duds she dates before she meets her husband. It's about a romance of her friend, Rose, who is incredibly pretty, but Margaret doesn't pull any punches in the beginning of the story, stating that Rose is a bit of dullard.

Margaret dutifully tells us all the things she experiences as a cook, going from house to house, all the while keeping contact with her friend Mary and her friend Rose. However... she doesn't experience much. I almost wanted her to embellish or make some stuff up to make the story more interesting. I love food, and I like cooking, but damn, I don't want to hear about the dishes that were made.

I had this never ending sensation that I was waiting for the book to start, but really, I was waiting for Margaret to tell the reader something exciting. I thought that Margaret was going to still away Gerald, or find a rich man of her own... but no... Rose just remains a stick in the mud and Margaret remains jealous of her the entire book. She has a good sense of humor and I laughed a few times, however, when she made fun of Rose and her lot in life.

By the end of the book, I was so bothered every time she mentioned 'people now' v. 'people back then.'Largely, it seems, she prefers how things are now, but has that annoying habit of just assuming that all young people are a certain way. I didn't listen to the book with the intention of listening to someone compare lifestyles. Yes! We know! Women can wear lipstick now and not be considered a harlot!

Finally, for most of the book, she laments over the fact that she can't find a good man. She has some funny antidotes for some of the men she meets, but effectively leads the reader into the moment where she meets her husband... until she just glosses over the whole introduction to her husband! He was the milk man that she knew throughout the entire book. Couldn't she had thrown in some antidotes about meeting him, and assuming he had a wife, and maybe even the freaking story about how they actually met?! She just glosses over all of it! It would have been a far better book to just... make up a friendship with the milkman or something in the beginning of the book, and a chapter about the revelation that he was asking her out or something of that nature.

Overall, this book is a waste of time. Don't waste your money. Is her first book better? Has anyone read it? 

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