While many families in 1939 were digging holes in their back garden for the Anderson shelter the very wealthy were strolling Bond Street for seamstresses to create a masterpiece. What did it all cost you may wonder?...
'...feathers 30s, gloves 21s, shoes 30s, evening bag 10s 6d, train (she bought her own material and had it made up) £5, dress 15gns, car with footman from 7:00 p.m. until midnight 3 gns, tips 1gn, flowers 25s, hair styled for feathers 7s 6d...'
It was class all the way for the debutante's special night but there were times when women needed their silk stockings repaired. Due to the ridiculously high cost of these items there were specialists who would set up booths in shops or street corners to manually pick up the dropped stitches should you have a ladder. I can not begin to fathom anything so tedious not to mention headache-inducing but needs must.
Anne De Courcy covers a range of topics associated with life during 1930s Britain such as Royal Ascot, Rituals, Entertaining, Oxford and Cambridge, and Servants etc. but the reading felt a bit dry at times. I love a good non-fiction read and the topics should have had me reading late into the night but they just didn't. Certain chapters were interesting such as Health and Panaceas but learning about polio wasn't something I bargained for with this title. I was looking forward to learning about the hopes of a few young ladies from aristocratic backgrounds, their big night and then what happened once the bombs began to fall. Just when mention was made of young women who could barely boil an egg struggling to cope with a black-out the chapter ended and it was on to the King and Queen's transatlantic visit *sigh*.
If you have 1939: The Last Season sitting on your shelf you are going to enjoy it and will certainly learn something. I just wish it had a bit more heart.
Kathleen, Rose and Rosemary Kennedy attend first March Court