First published in 1938, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day is a completely silly, dated, and beguiling novel.
Middle-aged Miss Pettigrew, tired, out of work, and not a little depressed, is sent by her employment agency to the home of Miss Delysia LaFosse to fill the position of nursery governess. After a few minutes in Miss LaFosse’s company, Miss Pettigrew, unsophisticated though she may be, is fairly certain that the extremely glamorous and young Miss LaFosse has no need of a nursery governess.
But when Miss LaFosse (nee Sarah Grubb) unquestioningly embraces Miss Pettigrew’s presence, Miss Pettigrew is (not unwillingly) swept along by the younger woman’s charm and the non-stop action at No.5 Onslow Mansions.
The hour-by-hour plot involves visits from Miss LaFosse’s three boyfriends and her best friend Miss Dubarry, a makeover for Miss Pettigrew, a visit to a nightclub, and large quantities of drink.
At the end of the day, romantic entanglements are happily resolved, and Miss Pettigrew finds courage, confidence, and a new home.
In 2008, a film version of the novel (which I haven’t seen) was released staring Frances McDormand and Amy Adams.