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Aurum Press / Quarto Publishing, 2015. Good secondhand condition.
As a working class woman in the 19th century, you could do no better. The housekeeper of a great English country house might manage a hundred servants, and a domestic budget on par with a small bank. She had no need of a home of her own - or, for that matter, a husband. But for all her importance, she has been invisible to history.
This unique history tracks the housekeeper's fortunes during a period of relentless social change. She enters the book haughtily, in black bombazine and whalebone stays; she exits a lone figure in a nylon housecoat, down on arthritic knees with a scrubbing brush.
None of these women, mulling over the day in their parlours, would have imagined their stories worth telling - but The Housekeeper's Tale proves otherwise. In five gripping accounts, Tessa Boase brings to life the heroic women who ran Britain's country houses.