This is a lovely amusing and light hearted book, which I think can best be described as Hyacinth Bucket meets Bridget Jones.
The narrator (the provincial lady of the title) takes us through a year in her life in diary form. Set probably in the 1930s – although this is never specified – and somewhere in or around Plymouth, our un-named narrator struggles to hold together a seemingly indifferent husband, two young children, a chaotic staff and ever growing financial worries. Trying to always anticipate and stay one step ahead of her problems causes her to find herself in many sticky situations!
Although the social situations described are very much of their time, the interactions between various characters reminded me of present day relationships, and as the reader is permitted access to the narrator’s innermost thoughts – which of course, nobody else in her life is permitted – I often found myself nodding along and smiling in recognition. There were also a number of laugh-out-loud moments.
The writing reminded me very much of that of Helen Fielding in Bridget Jones’ Diary, and as this book pre-dates that one by several decades, I can’t help but wonder if Fielding was influenced by this.
Overall, this was a hugely enjoyable book, and I will definitely be buying the two sequels.