Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Miss Pettigrew pushed open the door of the employment agency and went in as the clock struck a quarter past nine."

Almost all of us seem to have experienced regret at leaving a book unread on our shelves for too long. And while Winifred Watson's charmer Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day has not actually been on my shelves for very long, it has certainly been on my TBR for a while and I wish I had picked it up sooner.

Miss Pettigrew is a forty year old governess who is out of work. She is at the brink of losing her lodging and hasn't eaten well in ages. When a choice assignment comes in at the agency, she heads right over -- with only the slightest reservation that a governess is being asked for by an unmarried woman. When the door is opened by Miss LaFosse, a beautiful young woman in an equally beautiful "foamy" robe, Miss Pettigrew is immediately swept up into the most unbelievable and life-changing day she has ever known.

I could have written up a book versus movie post on this one as I saw the wonderful film a while back. However, they are similar enough that I will just say that both are well worth your time. If it weren't for a couple brief racist comments made by the titular character, I might even call this a perfect book. Pettigrew is amusing and her transformation is a treat to read. LaFosse is nothing like what one would expect her to be and you quickly fall in love with her, just like everyone else in the book already has. The most fascinating thing about this novel is the breaking down of Pettigrew's preconceived notions of how she will be treated based on her prior experiences with the wealthy. Almost everyone in the story teaches Pettigrew something new about the human race and about herself. It's a well-crafted story that has hidden depth. I adored it and would love to hear if you have adored it too!

Waiting for my chance to live for a day,

Support our site and buy Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (Persephone Classics) on Amazon or find it at your local library. We bought our own copy.


  1. I've seen the movie and read the book, and I'm currently listening to the audio version read by Frances McDormand. It is just wonderful. Glad you liked it -- there are so many great Persephone books!

  2. I love how she first comes across and stiff and uninteresting but then we see how she’s so open to be challenged and try new things.

    She’s great and I agree with you, the movie does justice to the book.

  3. I vaguely remember seeing a preview for this movie. Love that cover art!!!

    And I have to confess, I was getting it mixed up with the other Pettigrew book that has been big recently! : )

    (To be honest, this sounds better than the other one.)

  4. Karen - This was my first Persephone but definitely won't be my last. I love hidden gems like this one!

    Alexandra - Absolutely. She breaks out of her training and upbringing and becomes a really interesting lady!

    Jenners - Totally get the mix-up. I was confused when that other one came out too, especially because it features a man, right?