One Pair of Hands, by Monica Dickens

Originally posted on Blogging for a Good Book:

The popularity of Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs has brought interest back to old books like Below Stairs,  first published in 1968, and Rose, My Life in Service from 1975, not to mention older TV series like Flambards.

Another half-forgotten book in this category is Monica Dickens’s One Pair of Hands from 1939. Monica Dickens was the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens, but this isn’t her main claim to fame in her series of books about her forays into the working world in the 1930s.

Monica Dickens is unusual in the stable of domestic servant memoirists as she didn’t have to take on domestic servitude to prevent herself or family from becoming destitute. She came from a wealthy family and was a debutante who came out with all the glamour of a debutante ball. She became bored with her social existence and thought, “Surely… there is more to life than…

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