My Neighbors Are Better Than Your Neighbors: Even When The Book Isn’t…

November 11, 2015 Book Club, Memoirs 6

Hello Bookworms,

Last week we had our monthly meeting of my neighborhood’s book club. We don’t have an official name, but I’ve dubbed us “My Neighbors Are Better Than Your Neighbors” because it’s true. I don’t usually write up full reviews for our selections, though that’s usually because I’ve already read and reviewed them on the blog. I told them a long time ago not to worry about choosing books I hadn’t read because I’m a book glutton and everyone should get to read what they want to read, you know? Plus, I have an unfair advantage with blogging and ARCs, so I’m kind of the worst. Anyway, this month was Jennifer’s turn to host and she picked a book I hadn’t read yet. Exciting!


Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor is a memoir by Rosina Harrison. She served for 35 years as a lady’s maid to Lady Nancy Astor, a temperamental world traveling Parliamentarian who often entertained royalty. Going into this book, I didn’t realize just how journal-like it was going to be. Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty darn fascinating to read how the other half lived. I mean, changing clothes 5 times a day? Fancy hats? Butlers and footmen and scullery maids and jewelry so valuable you needed a security detail? I’ve not seen Downton Abbey, but I imagine fans of the show would enjoy this book… Except… There really was no scandal, no hijinks. No below stairs drama or major impropriety on the part of the family. It was all pretty well on the up and up. Which again, is lovely… But rather dull. I did take issue with a couple of things in this novel. First, there is a discussion of the Astor family’s fortune and Harrison decided it wasn’t even interesting enough to footnote the fact that JJ Astor perished aboard the Titanic (which believe you me, is super noteworthy. Especially if when you consider that Victor from The Young and the Restless played him in the blockbuster movie version of the tragedy.) Secondly, there were a lot of typos in there for a book that was professionally published. I’m not usually a stickler for these things, which means that if the average book has a few mistakes that I never even notice, this book had a lot more than a few. They even spelled “Astor” wrong once, like “aster” the flower, and that was just weird. So. Yeah. Not the best book ever. Of course, Jennifer then made some really fancy treats which totally made up for the lackluster book. How pretty are these?!

Apples, puff pastry, jam, and prettiness.

Apples, puff pastry, jam, and prettiness.

Talk to me Bookworms! Do you watch Downton Abbey? Am I missing everything?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

6 Responses to “My Neighbors Are Better Than Your Neighbors: Even When The Book Isn’t…”

  1. AMB

    It’s great that your neighborhood has a book club! I’m jealous. I watched the first few seasons of Downton Abbey, but I lost interest after a while. I love the scenery and the clothes (and would watch it just for that!), but not the characters or the plots.

  2. Kim

    YES!! Downton Abby is amazing…I need to catch up actually! Although, without the scandal (like this book) it would definitely be pretty dull! Yay for yummy treats!! 🙂

  3. Michelle

    I am surprised that there was no mention of JJ Astor’s connection to the Titanic. That is one of the first things mentioned when someone discusses the Astor family.

    My husband and I are slowly working through Downton Abbey. From what I have seen, that story is not necessarily about the scandal either but more about the transition in England when the great estates and their owners really lost their hold on politics and within social importance. It is more the rise of the people and the shifts in attitudes that occurred among the landed gentry. Granted, we are only in season two, so that may change.

    • Words For Worms

      Right?! The Titanic is THE THING about the Astors that everyone would know. It was super weird that it didn’t come up at all, but then I was expected to know about other society scandals and things.

  4. Katie @ Doing Dewey

    My book club picks diverse enough books that they’re often books I haven’t read yet, but I still rarely blog about them. I feel as though after our meetings, I’ve gotten everything I need to say about the book out already, so I don’t feel the urge to blog about them anymore.

Talk to me, Bookworms!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.