This book is subtitled The 1848 Journal of Young Lady Primrose and indeed the book’s lovely design simulates a diary. Unfortunately, its entries aren’t much more interesting than those of the average fifteen-year-old. The young lady Primrose doesn’t stray far from the advice she is admonished to follow, “purity of manners, fine sensibility, chastity, modesty, sweetness of nature, temper meek – that’s what’s important.” But these attributes don’t tend to make for a lively book. Luckily, she isn’t always complimentary about her younger brother, which adds a dash of needed spice.
The diary does allow glimpses into domestic and estate matters of the time: fashion, cooking, household management, the hunt, and landlord-tenant relations. However, the author’s research isn’t always well incorporated into the story, particularly in the case of the letters of Primrose’s father. The book does pick up towards the end, and there is a surprise twist that possibly sets the stage for a sequel. If you are looking for a sweet reading experience, this may be just the book. The drawings interspersed within the entries are a treat.