This year I’ve been reading going back to read older books that I’ve missed or couldn’t find or…whatever! Today I’m reviewing one such book–Mrs. Tim of the Regiment. I love fictional diaries or novels with letters or e-mails or whatever and this is in that genre known official as epistolary novels–if you like them as well, you may want to see my posts on such books, linked at the bottom of this review.
Also at the bottom, you can see a far more handsome book jacket for this volume. Tartan! Or, as we say in America: Plaid! Love it, no matter which word you use.
“Husbands are annoying at times, but they are a habit which grows on one, and life is extraordinarily dull without them.” (p. 89)
Hester Christie is married to a young officer, Tim, and is the mother of Bryan (at his first boarding school) and Betty (at home with the governess). Set in the early 1930s, the Christies are among the officer class in every way, but like many such people in the years after the Great War (World War I) their finances were not always up to the task. They do have one or two female servants and had a governess, but the motor? Not up to the standards of the class. Ditto their wardrobes. None-the-less Hester carries on, upholding the traditions of officers wives even when it means serving tinned soup!
“Tim says we ought to go to the parish church [in Scotland] which is Presbyterian, of course….I point out that we have no books, but Tim says they don’t have prayer books, but just make it up as they go along—Grace says she thinks it is very clever of them.” (p. 119)
The story takes place when Tim is posted to a Territorial Regiment (i.e. National Guard to Americans) in Scotland. This necessitates moving house not long after having moved to their current abode. Hester’s diary takes us thru the whole move in delightful fashion. Then, heavens! Someone up the Army List (that is the line for promotion) retires and Tim must go back whence they came! All of this results in Hester going on a holiday with her daughter to Scotland to recover. Such was life in those days. Someone “one” knew always had an estate in Scotland where “one” could relax at a house party, didn’t “one?”
I loved this story–although, in the interest of honesty, the trip to Scotland was about as boring to read about as it must have been to experience had this been real life. I ended up skimming it. No matter, I’ll definitely read more in this series, but that part of the book took my rating down a good bit.
FYI: The Diary of a Provincial Lady series can be seen as the civilian counterpart to the Mrs. Tim series.
Mrs. Tim of the Regiment by D.E. Stevenson
If you enjoy epistolary novels:
(This is my most recent epistolary novel post)