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Posted December 9, 2008
This is a surprisingly fascinating biography of Isabella Mayson Beeton, author of the classic Book of Household Management, first published in installments in 1859 and still celebrated a century later. Kathryn Hughes digs deep into the icon¿s childhood where she learned much of the housekeeping tips that she provides less than two decades later. What is Interesting is the section where Isabella is about to marry magazine publisher Sam Beeton and she has to put into practice what she learned about managing a household. Finally she wrote articles for Sam¿s publication The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, which he started in 1852, but she joined one year after their marriage in 1857. The middle class housekeeping management bible, The Book of Household Management was published in the magazine in installments (much of Victorian literature including Dickens¿ novels was released that way) two years later. Six years later at twenty-nine, Isabella is dead. --- This is a terrific biography that showcases more than just an intriguing person as readers obtain a taste of the lifestyle of the growing middle class in England. The chapters include the expected look at her life and the posthumous fame that her book provided her but there also terrific interludes where Ms. Hughes offers an analysis of the era to include the role of women, the impact of the nouveau moneyed middle class, and much more in a biography worth reading. --- Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.