Do you remember a month or so back I wrote that I had begun to read Miss Pettigrew lives for a day by Winifred Watson? Well, out of guilt I pushed it aside, and read some of the borrowed books I should long since have returned to their rightful owners.
Then, after the weekend’s revelations, I felt I needed a distraction, and picked it up to begin again at about 10pm last night. It is marvelous! Truly inspirational. Written in real time over the course of 24 hours (with chapters titled the like of 1.17 p.m.-3.13 p.m.), the story follows middle-aged, down-on-her-luck and generally frumpy governess, Miss Pettigrew, whose agency send her to the home of a young, beautiful, bed-hopping nightclub singer who might have one or even two illegitimate children. As Miss Pettigrew steps out of character again and again to rescue her new-found friend from fiendish gentleman callers and potentially disastrous situations, the reader finds herself celebrating every tiny event as a soul-elevating victory.
First published in 1938, this novel is a wonderfully contemporary tale of misunderstandings featuring frothy negligees, cocaine and “exaggerated kisses”.