Debs at War

Last week I read this really good book by an author, I have come to appreciate a lot. Anne de Courcy wrote “The Viceroy’s Daughters” and “Diana Mosley” and did so in a very objective way, which must have been very, very difficult when you get close to the people you interview. To tell the truth, the book above, was purchased by me, probably 7 years ago. This one, and the next one, I will mention, were purchased in the Imperial War Museum, because I got so excited that among all the “boy stuff”, there was actually something about women as well. Through the years I have sat in my arm chair looking at the backs of these two books in my book case, thinking “I haven’t read them yet! Should I start one of them today?”. But I have put it off and off and off. Why? Well, at first, I thought, I want to save them for a rainy day. But then I thought, a whole book about the Season? It will be drole, won’t it?

Now when I have read it, I wish I had before. It was great. Not at all drole and not just about the Season but everything pertaining to 1939. Chamberlain trying to staying out of war. Social History of Britain. Fashion. The new King’s trips to Canada and the US. Royal dinners and parties as well as what a debutante’s season looked like. What their poor mothers had to go through, like incredible boredom at dances. The book only took two afternoons to read.

I moved on to what one could have imagined would be the continuation. But it has taken me a week to read it. It wasn’t up to her usual standards or a light read. She’s interviewed 47 debutantes from the late 1930s but the whole book was very disorganized. Jumping back and forth in time, quotes by this and that person on this and that subject and lots of photos of certain girls but none of the majority mentioned. Which I find frustrating since I like a face on a person I am reading about. A photo gallery of all of them would have been much better. And what I disliked most about the book was that it did not really seem like the girls’ hearts were in it. As soon as they could, they got married and had a baby right off. Some served for the duration but not that many and if something irritates me, it is wasting of government training when their country needed them. Especially since they pulled strings to get the best jobs and to get promoted.  Hmmmm! I can’t beat the feeling of disappointment after reading this book. I have moved on to a book about a WWII nurse now. Hopefully it will leave a sweeter taste in my mouth.


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