By Winifred Watson
I discovered this smart looking book at my local thrift shop. It’s one of those Euro-style trade paperbacks with a thick cover flap and nicely printed paper. Upon closer examination, the inner jacket explains that Persephone Books is a UK company that reprints neglected classics by 20th century (mostly women) writers.
“They appeal to the discerning reader who prefers books that are neither too literary nor too commercial, and are guaranteed to be readable, thought-provoking and impossible to forget.”
Well, that had me sold! And $3 for a book that used to go for Can $18, it was a steal.
Miss Pettigrew proved to be a very readable as well as a charmingly delightful story about a down-on-her-luck middle-aged spinster nanny in pre-WWII London who strikes an unlikely friendship with a glamourous nightclub singer. Adventure and capers ensue. Over the course of 24 hours, Miss Pettigrew discovers things about herself that she never thought possible. I would not say that the story is especially thought-provoking as it’s basically a contemporary update of Cinderella, but it does have a lot of heart and comedic appeal.
Here is a lovely review that does MPLFaD more justice than I.
Moreover, I enjoyed the book so much, I even rented the 2008 film adaptation a couple of days later, which stars Frances McDormand as the titular character and Amy Adams as Delysia LaFosse. But I thought Shirley Henderson as Edythe Dubarry really stole the show. A very enjoyable movie too.