Steampunk is a genre of adventures and inventions, of exceptional people and exotic locales. The history books are the same way: presidents and kings scrawled over all the pages. In the background of these wild stories and world-shaking events lives an empire full of ordinary people. Occasionally, a scholar starts to wonder what the ordinary people did with their time: how they felt about adventurers tracking mud into their parlours, what that mud might be made of, who paid the grocery bills.
Yaffa Claire Draznin wrote a book about those ordinary people entitled Victorian London’s Middle-Class Housewife: What She Did All Day. It is an excellent book. She follows the routine of a typical housewife in Victorian London between 1875 and 1900. Her prose is easy and fun for the layperson (ie: me) to read. I learned so much from her research into the seldom thought-of world of the everyday.
I wish there were more pictures. It would be fantastic to see more illustrations, perhaps of the interior of a typical Victorian home, or explanatory diagrams about cleaning techniques. Though, with research as scarce as it is on the subject, she may have included everything she could find!
I give this book four and a half gears out of five. I found it informative and clever, easy to read and stuffed with tidbits of usefulness. I highly recommend taking a look at what the middle-class housewife did all day in Victorian London. It’s much more interesting and difficult than you might imagine.
Your Correspondent From The Bookstore,
Penny J. Merriweather