Inside the world of the super-rich
Lydia and her husband spot an ad for a steward and housekeeper for an upmarket property in the land of the cicadas, the south of France. They decide to apply for the positions looking after the superb country house and serving its wealthy owners.
And so Lydia enters the world of the super-rich. She works in several houses with various owners - who all share the same penchant for making outrageous demands: her life is one of long hours, obligatory uniform, slavish responses to a bell, contempt, neuroses, intrusive surveillance and insults... Lydia shows us what really goes on behind the castle walls, where the work of a housekeeper ressembles the 12 labours of Hercules.
Traps are set for Lydia like those in the fairy-tale "Le Petit Poucet": Madam hides a grain of rice under a rug, a cherry stone in a drawer and a cotton bud at the back of the dressing room and then accuses the housekeeper.
Danger is everywhere, for when Madame is not there, the other members of the household act as her zealous spies in the hope of currying favour with their employers.
This is an intimate exposé that shares numerous anecdotes - astonishing, exasperating, even unthinkable experiences. The book speaks out to denounce these little-known archaic practices that are virtually a form of modern slavery.
Lydia Lecher in 40 years old and was a housekeeper for over 10 years. Today, she has decided to reveal all. Doan Bui is a journalist for the magazine Le Nouvel Observateur.
Publication date: February 2016
Rights available: world