Although I enjoy memoirs, I wasn't expecting anything from this one based on the cover, which didn't pique my interest. Was I ever mistaken!
I adored everything about this book, particularly how it was written in a conversational style. It was almost as if I were sitting next to an old woman who had a lifetime of fascinating stories to tell.
Elsa describes what it was like to be born into a wealthy German family with servants to help with the household chores. She doesn't come across as someone who believes she is superior to others; her status was actually the only way she had ever learned to live. She falls in love with Paul, the man her family had carefully arranged for her to meet, after her parents send her to Naples to visit relatives.
She marries Paul and lives as a well-cared-for woman who has household help to do the majority of the chores. Following a series of financial losses, the family is forced to terminate the assistance.
This book was a treasure trove of historical events told in such an engaging voice by someone who had lived through them. Elsa added fascinating tidbits about some of the hotel's guests, which added a lot to the novel. It comes highly recommended from me.