13 Jan 2010 from fellow LibraryThing Virago Group member Aluvalibri

Illustrated on the front cover with a picture of a cat very like my Dot, and set partly in Birmingham, this book was a good match for me from the word go!  It’s also a marvellous read, reminiscent of Jocelyn Playfair’s "A House In The Country" as it’s set in a large house during WWII, with not quite enough staff and a social mixing taking place that would have been unheard of in the previous decades.  Miss Bolby arrives to be Governess to a rather unruly set of half-sisters.  Disappointed in life, she is constantly harking back to her early, colonial, years, and her sister’s good marriage, so she is at first thrilled and then dismayed to find a link with one of the other local aristocrats, Lady Archie.  As the war wears on and a new secretary arrives who also claims to be a gentlewoman, Miss Bolby’s patience and character begin to unravel and sour; there is a mystery over some lost bracelets and all ends in a rather melodramatic (but believable) climax.

I loved the beautifully drawn characters in both the boarding house and the big house in the country; the young girls are particularly well done and the atmosphere is evoked wonderfully.  An absorbing and satisfying read.