Saturday, 25 October 2014

Book #29 Wait For Me! by Deborah Devonshire

Wait For Me!

Debo, the Duchess of Devonshire was the youngest of the famous Mitford sisters and the last to pass away, just recently, at the age of 94. I only got to really know the Mitford sisters story this year and Debo was by far my favourite, which made her passing all the sadder for me.

There is a slight problem with the portions of the book that cover her childhood and her sisters in that nothing new that isn't already known about them is imparted and feels slightly like a retread. Other stories are familiar too. How many times does one need to read about the 'hilarious' occasion when Woman failed to recognise Lord Mountbatten?

At this point, having read so much about them I was more keen to hear about Debo post her marriage to Andrew Cavendish, when having unexpectedly inherited the dukedom, the couple became determined to turn around the fortunes of Chatsworth House.

Ownership of Lismore Castle also reverted to the Devonshires after the death of Adele Astaire and talk of both these buildings made me want to visit them.

All the Mitfords 'moved in society' but perhaps Debo more than any of them having been related to two Prime Ministers and a US president. Whilst Diana, exiled, socialised with fellow exiles the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Debo was close to Prince Charles and spent time with the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.

Her friend the apparently legendary Sybil Chomondley as mentioned in letters to Paddy Leigh Fermor, gets three pages, personally I'd have liked a biography.

Debo also speaks with perhaps unexpected candour about her difficulties carrying children to term, and her husbands struggle with alcoholism.

Easy to read and with a warmth sometimes lacking in the other sisters, Wait For Me is perhaps nonetheless one for the Mitford fans only. 7/10

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