Flowers for Mrs Harris is the slightly preposterous but rather charming story of a British cleaning lady scrimping and saving for several years to follow her dream to go to Paris and buy a Dior frock.
Up to that magic moment of finding herself hoisted off the face of the earth her life had been one of never-ending drudgery, relieved by nothing more than an occasional visit to the flicks, the pub on the corner, or an evening at the music-hall.
Mrs Ada Harris is a widow in her late 50s who despite her "drab and colourless" existence "had always felt a craving for beauty and colour" which had previously manifested in her "great love for flowers". This was to change dramatically after after she sees two Dior gowns in the wardrobe of one of her clients, Lady Dant.
It had all begun that day several years back when during the course of her duties at Lady Dant's house, Mrs Harris had opened a wardrobe to tidy it and had come upon the two dresses hanging there. One was a bit of heaven in cream, ivory, lace and chiffon, the other an explosion in crimson satin and taffeta, adorned with great red bows, and a huge red flower. She stood there as though struck dumb, for never in all her life had she seen anything quite as thrilling and beautiful.
I did enjoy Flowers for Mrs Harris, although I suspect that if Paris was not involved I might have not liked it quite so much. While much of it is about Dior and dresses it is also a shrewd study of character.
Mme Colber smiled a thin, sad smile. She might almost have guessed it. 'Temptation' was a poem created in materials by a poet of women, for a young girl in celebration of her freshness and beauty and awakening to the mysterious power of her sex. It was invariably demanded by the faded, the middle-aged, the verging on passé women.
I've come to realise that I've never been to Avenue Montaigne, and clearly I need to remedy this situation on my next trip to Paris tout de suite, even though I'm not going to be coming away with a Dior gown like Mrs Harris. But I could pop in to the Hotel Plaza Athénée for lunch- a rather long held dream.
|Dior on Avenue Montaigne, so pretty|
In America the book is known as Mrs 'arris Goes to Paris, and there is a 1992 telemovie starring Angela Lansbury as Mrs Harris. I'm going to have to watch it when I can find it, it seems pretty unavailable. There's even a new musical theatrical version this year in the UK!
|Dreaming of France is a wonderful Monday meme|
from Paulita at An Accidental Blog
|French Bingo 2016|