by Margaret Powell

Reviewer Rating:


Below Stairs creates a telling portrait of the relationship between the classes in turn-of-the-century England.  The author, Margaret Powell, began working as a kitchen maid and eventually attained the status of cook.  She explains the different roles among the servants, how being a cooking maid is the lowest while being the actual cook is the highest with its perks.  She also gives a sense of what it was like to be looked over by what she calls “Them”, the owners of the house who probably gave better care to their dogs than their servants in most cases.  That being said, she is quick to give the employers credit when they do treat the servants as human beings and she shows how life wasn’t always terrible. It is a quick read, short and to the point.  If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, as I am, then you will enjoy this book because it gives you a bit insight into the lives of the house servants in turn-of-the-century England.

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