Skip to main content

Book Review: If Walls Could Talk by Lucy Worsley

Why were kitchens once placed as far away from the main house as possible? Why were there times in history when people did not bathe? Why did everyone once cover their heads while sleeping? What are the origins of many of our modern homes and customs? In If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, Lucy Worsley delves deep into the history of our home, focusing on the bedroom, bathroom, living room and kitchen. But this is much more than a history of what comprised these rooms throughout history. Rather, it is a look at how people used these rooms ~ and all the sordid things they did in them!

With chapters on childbirth, menstruation, sexual relations and other rather taboo subjects, this book is certainly not for every reader who is interested in history. But Worsley definitely keeps it from being a dry recap of history by including these topics that just about everyone can relate to. Many of the little facts she reveals are fascinating and surprising. I must say I learned quite a lot about everyday life, and how our homes and our customs evolved throughout different eras of history.

Reading this book from start to finish was a bit daunting, though, and I found myself skimming more and more as I went on. I found certain topics much more interesting than others, which I'm sure is to be expected. But some of the references to modern-day England were lost on me since several things are quite different in the U.S. I also found there was an overwhelming focus on the upper class as she reviewed historical customs.

Overall, I would recommend If Walls Could Talk to anyone who has an interest in learning some very unique facts about the evolution of our homes and customs ~ as long as you're not squeamish about some of the more intimate details Worsley covers about birth, life and death!

My Rating: 3.5/5

For more information, visit the author's website

This review was written based on a digital galley of If Walls Could Talk that I received from Bloomsbury through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I love fascinating tidbits like that so this book sounds like something I would be interested in!

    1. Yes, it sounds like something you would definitely enjoy!

  2. I was waiting for your review of this one. Sounds like you thought it was a little uneven. I would be more interested in the homes of ordinary people as opposed to the upper class. I'm still going to keep a lookout for this book but not with the same degree of eagerness.

    1. Yeah, it was interesting but I think it would have been better if I read it in short bursts instead of straight through.


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Getting back to blogging

It seems that blogging has dropped to the bottom of my list for the past year, and was pretty low for the year or two prior to that. I love to read, and am continuing to do so, but as my regular readers know I haven't been around much. My last blog post was almost a year ago!!

There are many things that have taken me away from blogging. Work has been much more challenging and interesting these past few years, but that means I really don't want to get back on the computer when I get home at night - or on the weekends.

Family life has been more busy with kids having multiple activities in the evenings, leaving little time to just hang out and write about the books that I read.

I will admit to a bit of a Facebook addiction, which means way too much time spent scrolling through my newsfeed instead of doing something more productive. This is one of the things I'm working on and hoping that this will free up some time for getting back to the blog.

Overall, life is good. Work is …

Book Review: The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett

Peter Byerly is distraught over the loss of his wife nine months ago. He has retreated to their cottage in the English countryside, hoping to return to his love of collecting and restoring rare books. But when he opens a book about Shakespeare forgeries and finds a Victorian watercolor of a woman who looks just like his wife, Peter is soon on a search for the origin of the painting and the truth about Shakespeare's real identity.

The Bookman's Tale: A Novel of Obsession by Charlie Lovett is a wonderful journey for anyone who loves books. It follows Peter's search in 1995, which turns into a bit of a thriller at times. But Lovett also takes the reader back in time a bit so we can learn the story of his relationship with his wife and how he came to be a bookseller. He does a beautiful job of expressing Peter's feelings about the rare books he encounters, and his feelings are contagious.

And then he takes us back even further to the history of one particular volume, whos…

Banned Books Week: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park

This is the end of Banned Books Week and unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of time to write about banned books this year. But I did want to include at least one post about it, so today I wanted to share one of the book series that it seems most people are surprised to find on the list: Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park.

According to Wikipedia:
The Junie B. Jones series came in at #71 on the American Library Association's list of the Top 100 Banned or Challenged Books from 2000-2009. Reasons cited are poor social values taught by the books and Junie B. Jones not being considered a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. This is an interesting example of a banned book. Many times there are serious, controversial topics featured in books that are challenged. Things like homosexuality, drugs, vulgar language, etc. You can actually understand why people may not want their children to read those books, and why they may challenge their inclusion in school libra…