Wait for Me!

Wait for Me!: Memoirs - Deborah Mitford Deborah Cavendish, better known as the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire and the last remaining Mitford sister, has lived a life so eventful that it almost seems mythical. From her oft-discussed childhood with her five sisters to tea with Hitler and helping to revive the ailing fortunes of the famed Cavendish estate, there is much in Debo’s life that has yet to be covered by the numerous biographies, memoirs of her sisters and collections of letters that have packed the shelves. Unfortunately, “Wait For Me!” manages to achieve the impossible by being insufferably dull. Cavendish’s writing lacks the wit and skill that her sisters Nancy and Jessica seemed to pull off with ease, with random vignettes of plodding prose in place of a sturdier narrative. While there are moments of genuine wit, Cavendish’s storytelling priorities seem questionable. More time and attention is given to recounting her days of fox hunting and debutante balls than to tea with Hitler and attending John F. Kennedy’s inauguration (an event which shockingly made her miss the beginning of hunting season). An unashamedly conservative figure, the reader’s mileage may vary when it comes to Cavendish’s outrage over having to sell a few Rembrandts to pay inheritance tax, as well as her uncomfortable defence of her Nazi sympathising sisters Diana and Unity’s politics. The book earns some points with Debo’s stoic but heart-breaking account of becoming the last remaining Mitford, but “Wait For Me!” is oddly lacking in insight and one for hard core Mitford devotees only.