Friday, April 27, 2012

Book 34: Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor

Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor continues my theme of reading memoirs about the lives of those who worked in domestic service. Rosina Harrison weaves her legacy working as a ladys maid to Lady Astor.

This is one of those books I found on Amazon in the related reading area. As I was telling my mom the other night, Amazon and Good are just great places for me to find some books that I want to read next. It was a great little find since this gave me another facet to those who work in the domestic service for the English wealthy.

Rose is a different kind of worker all together. Unlike Margaret Powell, Rose realized very quickly that domestic service as a ladys maid would provide a way for her to achieve her dream to travel the world. Rose was more sophisticated but that was required for her job. As her mother told her, she would have to smarten up so the whole family sacrificed while she got two additional years in school then most girls got. Throughout the memoir, Rose was a realist. She saw both gray in peoples life and how some things just exist as fact.

I loved some of the anecdotes that Rose shared. Especially the one about how Lady Astor wore a frock to death from Marks and Spencer that only cost a few pounds and then claimed it was specially made for her when it was complimented. Working in retail, it was just a story I could see happening and enjoy.   

Rose was in a special proximity with Lady Astor. She was the one who would help dress the lady and be there for her at all times but she wasnt involved with the ladys political life or social life per say. Sure there were times when they confided in each other but it was a bit of separation between them since there was a worker/employer relationship.

In many ways, I think I enjoyed Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor more than Below Stairs. Rose was grateful. Plus she stayed with one place for thirty-five years and was above the stairs so she could really connect with her employers rather than only staying with a family for a short time.

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