Review of INSIDE THE VICTORIAN HOME: A PORTRAIT OF DOMESTIC LIFE IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND by JUDITH FLANDERS
I read this book as research for a short story I’m writing set in Victorian England. However, the content here is so well delivered and organized that I believe this would be an enjoyable read for anyone remotely interested in this era.
While a thick book, these approximately 500 pages only scratch the surface of possible topics regarding an entire era. Even with long chapters, the book reads surprisingly fast, because practically every sentence contains interesting information conveyed through strong writing and a logical flow. Flanders organizes her content by room, which is fitting for the ideology of the era: that each room should have a specific, distinct purpose. Flanders also uses each room as a jumping off point for relevant topics such as money, servants, food, etiquette, and fashion. Add in several sections of lovely color photographs and this book is well packed with fascinating content.
INSIDE THE VICTORIAN HOME is clearly very well-researched with a hefty chunk of pages at the end devoted to footnotes and further reading. While this is the only research book so far that made the cut for a review (in other words, that I thought someone not specifically doing research would still enjoy), it also proved a great starting point for discovering other resources, especially nonfiction from the era (like the infamous Mrs. Beeton).
If you find yourself at all curious to know more about the Victorian era, I doubt I could recommend a better book.