Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Life as a Victorian Lady, by Pamela Horn

Life as a Victorian Lady (Life) (Life)

A short book merits a short review. Here it is: this book is good. Brevity is a virtue, and, through this book’s small keyhole, worlds are visible. Have you often thought that certain monumental history books could have been condensed with no loss of content? Here is a book which is informative, engaging, interesting and just 89 pages short. Haiku history; nonetheless, it finds room for authentic voices of the period, such as this lady advising her niece on marriage: ‘Women are not like men,’ wrote the aunt, ‘they cannot chuse, not is it creditable or lady-like to be what is called in love’. For the writer in me, this small book’s greatest achievement is in the avenues of possibility that open from voices like this one: a vista of bitterness and frustration on the one hand; on the other, a clear sight line down to pragmatism, resignation, wisdom. Good. Go and read it.

Life as a Victorian Lady; Pamela HornSutton Publishing 2007 89 pp. ISBN 9780750946070

8 comments on “Life as a Victorian Lady, by Pamela Horn

  1. Jackie
    October 21, 2007

    Hmmm, this one sounds intriguing, especially if one were in the right frame of mind. It would make a nice antidote to happy endings. And novellas seem so scarce these days, though perhaps aren’t if one looks for them. Thanks for bringing to our attention and with another cleverly written review.

  2. Ariadne
    October 21, 2007

    It’s non-fiction! My fault – I should have tagged it.

  3. Jackie
    October 22, 2007

    So it’s a memoir of a regular lady in those times?

  4. Ariadne
    October 22, 2007

    No, it’s a history book that describes what everyday life as a Victorian lady would have been like. There’s a whole series, along the lines of ‘daily life in the middle ages’ ‘daily life in the napoleonic wars for a british soldier’, etc. etc.
    It’s really interesting because it tells you just what a posh lady in Victorian England would have done all day, and quotes lots of personal letters of the time, showing what they thought about, e.g. charity work, getting married,.

    Hmm… think this has flagged up a serious flaw in my reviewing style. Note to self, before getting all literary, say what the book is about! LOL.

    Below is the synopsis as it appears on Amazon:

    We are planning to publish 18 books, in batches of six, that will predominantly be sold through English Heritage/ National Trust properties. They will be short reads (15,000 words maximum) published in a small giftbook format, and we aim to price them at around GBP4.99. These are short, highly readable books, split into short chapters which would cover what life was really like for the people living there, in terms of food, clothing, living quarters, kitchens, etc. The books will take the reader back in time and show them what it was really like to be a Victorian Lady, what sights and smells would be around them, and what day-to-day life would involve.

  5. Jackie
    October 24, 2007

    Ah, thanks for explaining. This would be a series of interest to a history buff such as myself, while also giving a nice introduction to a certain period. It’s a good idea for a publisher ot tackle.

  6. Leena
    October 24, 2007

    These short, ‘novella-like’ books of non-fiction seem to be in fashion nowadays – at least Penguin has published lots of them, though those tend to be abridged from longer works, which these Sutton ones aren’t (or are they?).

    Looks like a fascinating series.

  7. 19thcentury
    October 27, 2007

    It sounds great! I hope bookstores near me will sell it :) I linked to you in my most recent post, I hope you don’t mind!

  8. Pingback: Len Chester: Bugle Boy « Vulpes Libris

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This entry was posted on October 20, 2007 by in Non-fiction: history and tagged , , , , , , .

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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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