Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor

Hallelujah, I think that post I wrote the other day about book block helped me get on the road to recovery! I’ve not only finished an entire book, but I’m ready to move on to the next one. Life is good again!

This story of Rose Harrison and her 35 years in service to Lady Astor was such an enjoyable book. I just love stories about the English gentry, their lives in those gorgeous homes and the people who made that lifestyle possible. It’s astounding the sheer number of people it took to make the Astor household run and operate.

Rose was ladies maid to Nancy Astor and was able to enjoy a lifestyle that went way behind her meager yearly salary. She traveled the world with Lady Astor, visiting palaces and castles and meeting a few Kings and Queens along the way.

Lady Astor was notoriously temperamental but Rose seemed to have just the right type of personality to deal with her and all that entailed. From her Lady’s 5 to 6 clothes changes a day to guarding the diamond “sparklers”, as Rose called them, she was pretty much on duty 24/7. It was fascinating learning all that was involved in taking care of the furs, jewels and hats, not to mention keeping the clothes clean and in good shape.

Lady Astor

Lady Astor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And the traveling she got to do was right out of her dreams although the packing was more like a nightmare! She sailed first class on luxury liners, road in fancy cars and flew on jumbo jets. She visited America more than 20 times and most corners of Europe. Lady Astor was quite the character, she served as an MP, entertained lavishly and lived grandly and Rose was by her side for it all keeping things running tickity boo.

Julian Fellowes seems to have borrowed lavishly from this book for Downton Abbey, as the stories and characters from both, are at times almost mirror images. This is in no way a tell-all book of Lady Nancy Astor, it’s really the story of two extraordinary, strong-willed women, from different backgrounds whose lives became intertwined for over three decades.

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4 thoughts on “Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor

  1. Seeing this I had to go back and look at my review for the book!! It is a good book to start with to learn about servants and masters in England as well as a bit of political history.

    Lovely to read another review.

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