Some time in the previous year, I picked up the youngest Mitford sister’s biography, Wait For Me!: Memoirs of the Youngest Mitford Sister by Deborah Cavendish/Devonshire, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, and I just got around to reading it over Christmas.
My to-be-read pile is growing at an alarming rate, by the way. I am incapable of saying no to books, apparently. And there seems to be a family rule of walking into bookshops rather than walking past them. (My mother is the only one not adhering to this. She claims something about getting books at the library. What’s that about?)
But back to the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. The first parts of the book is rather uninteresting, if you have read the previous Mitford sisters book. But as she starts to go into when she met her husband, and her life after that, it becomes an interesting insight into life in the upper echelon during and after WWII. The running of a large household from a first person point of view gives a bit of extra background in these Downton Abbey times. And the introduction of John F. Kennedy and the Kennedy family intertwines American history with British. Especially with Kathleen Kennedy’s marriage to Deborah Cavendish’s brother-in-law.
The stoicalness throughout the story – things were bad, but you just went on through and it worked itself out in the end, somehow, feels very typical of the British who lived through WWII.
I don’t think the book is all that well written. She jumps around a lot, and it can be difficult to keep track of names and events. However, it is a readable book, if that makes sense. The events described, the relationships between the Mitford sisters from Deborah’s point of view, and the voice of the story, kept me hooked, despite other minor quibbles I might have with it.