"The Butler Speaks" by Charles MacPherson
Whether you live in a stately country home or a downtown condo (or anything in between), household management is one of your priorities. But sometimes it all can seem like it's too much or you just don't know the best way to do things. Now, everything you need to know is in one easy place. The Butler Speaks: A Return to Proper Etiquette, Stylish Entertaining, and the Art of Good Housekeeping by Charles MacPherson includes everything you need to know about household management and etiquette. With over 24 years of experience as a butler and owner of North America's only registered school for butlers and household managers, MacPherson is the ultimate authority.
I try to tune in to the Marilyn Denis Show whenever I see Charles the Butler (as he is known) is on. He always has great tips for making things easier around the house (he gave a great tip for cleaning the oven that I use, a task I seriously hate.) So I was thrilled to see that he has put his best information into a book. There is an entire chapter dedicated to good housekeeping, showing you how to clean your entire home, room by room. He also teaches the correct way to do typical tasks such as making the bed and ironing a shirt (yes, there are correct ways.)
I'm also a lover of etiquette books, especially old ones. In our day of smartphones and headphones, it often feels like etiquette has been thrown right out the window. Watchers of television shows like Downton Abbey may wonder what ever happened to things such as high tea, proper table settings, and how to make a proper introduction. But those things don't have to be put by the wayside and MacPherson covers these and more.
I was fascinated learning things such as the different types of place settings, napkin folding, and table serving styles. I greatly appreciated explanations of dress codes (white tie and black tie?), the cleaning calendar, and the descriptions of every piece of cutlery you will ever find on the table.
Whether you love entertaining in your home or are looking for helpful cleaning tips, you'll find tons of useful information in this book. There is nothing snooty in this book, nothing to be intimidated by. It doesn't look down on anyone or anything It's just a great, handy book that will help bring manners back to the table.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Random House of Canada. The opinions expressed above are my own.