Nothing says ‘women’s fiction’ like a picture of a clothes peg and a floral stripe on the cover of a novel.
I got about a quarter of the way through Keeping the House by Ellen Baker and gave up because I was bored.
By the time I left the characters to their own devices, the story was flipping back and forwards between a young married housewife in the 1950’s who had fallen in love with a dilapidated house and the former occupants of the house.
Unfortunately the story was slow, the characters annoying and the scandals not juicy enough to amuse me.
While I didn’t finish the story, I did flick to the end of the story to read the chapter headlines throughout, which provided marriage advice from magazines from the 1930’s to the 50’s. For example, a chapter where the young housewife squabbles with her husband because he wants to go fishing on the weekend with his mate starts with the following advice:
‘Happy family relationships are part of my responsibility; therefore – I will save enough energy to do the job of being a happy and helpful hostess to my family day after day. –The Modern Family Cook Book, 1942.
At least the advice was entertaining.