by Julian Fellowes

This is one of those novels that takes you into a different culture and tells you how people live there. The culture is full blue-blooded English aristocracy and the time is now. This clever, witty story reveals all. Edith strives to become part of this world but once there can she cope?


'Blimey O'Reilly,' said Annette and Edith noted with interest that no one else would acknowledge the strangeness, the orgiastic luxury that they were witnessing. She was beginning to understand it is a point of honour in that world that one must never be overawed by any display of wealth, no matter how fabulous. To register that riches on any scale are not routine, even mundane, is to risk being 'middle-class' - a sector of society to which many of them spend most of their lives proving to no one in particular that they do not belong. There are exceptions to this rule. It is possible to exclaim, 'How simply lovely!' but it is done in such a way as to show generosity rather than awe on the part of the speaker. Better yet, 'My dear, how grand!' This in a tone to show that the decoration, menu, whatever, is excesive and verging perilously close to vulgar. Lady Uckfield was particularly adept at crushing with smiling enthusiasm. These are hard skills for the novice though and Edith did well not to attempt them.


Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope
I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson

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