How to be a Victorian

Read:   April 2014

Author:  Ruth Goodman

Published:  2013

Genre:  Nonfiction / History

Pages:  458 (hardcover)

Selected By:  Elle Tea

Elle’s Score:  Scoring Great Book

“Step into the skin of your ancestors… We know what life was like for Victoria and Albert.  But what was it like for a commoner like you or me?  How did it feel to cook with coal and wash with tea leaves?  Drink beer for breakfast and clean your teeth with cuttlefish?  Dress in whalebone and feed opium to the baby?  Catch the omnibus to work and do the laundry in your corset? 

“Surviving everyday life came down to the gritty details, the small necessities and tricks of living…

“[How to be a Victorian] is told from the inside out – how our forbears interacted with the practicalities of their world – and it is a history of those things that make up the day-to-day reality of life, matters so small and seemingly mundane that people scarcely mention them in their diaries or letters.  Moving through the rhythm of the day, from waking up to the sound of a knock-upper man poking a stick at your window, to retiring for nocturnal activities, when the door finally closes on twenty-four hours of life, this astonishing guide illuminates the overlapping worlds of health, sex, fashion, food, school, work, and play.” – from the Goodreads Overview.

Elle read the Kindle version of this book.

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Elle’s Snapshot

This was a really interesting read – the author’s passion for her subject really drove a lot of this, and, though I’ve read a lot of history books pertaining to this time period, this was still very informative and ranks among one of the most engaging and entertaining.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lady Esbe says:

    You peaked my interest. Will have to add to my want to read


    1. Lady Esbe says:

      3h wrong one. Sorr6



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