Set in 19th century England, this story offers an “upstairs, downstairs” view of the privileged and servant classes. Margaret Macy has led a privileged life with a doting father that she adores and younger siblings she loves and protects. When her father dies and her mother remarries, there is a grasping stepfather and new suitor in her life who intend to force her into marriage for the inheritance she will soon receive. To escape their plans, Margaret becomes Nora, a servant looking for a position in crime-ridden, poverty-stricken London. She winds up working for two brothers – one of whom she turned down as husband 2 years before and the other who she had hopes of marrying.
The author’s descriptions of Nora’s attempts to learn tasks like making beds and emptying chamber pots are humorous. Coming down to the servant level makes Nora a much more sympathetic, friendly character. Walking a mile in her servants’ shoes brings out the best in her. I really enjoyed the humor provided by the supporting characters: Joan, Fiona, Mrs. Budgeon, Monsieur Fournier, and many others. The image of servants turning to the wall to avoid their betters is funny yet sad. The romance was great to read, but readers may want to bop her on the head because as late as page 257, Margaret is still drawn to older brother, Lewis Upchurch, rather than Nathaniel.
This story was hard to put down. I loved the minor characters. Their pride in their positions and kindness toward one another were heartwarming. The storyline about Nathaniel’s eye-opening condemnation of the slavery on their island plantation added to the feeling in the story that every character improved their moral fiber.
4 1/2 Stars
*Reviewed by Colleen*
This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.