A Lady in Attendance ~ Review

 A Lady in Attendance
 By Rachel Fordham

We are introduced to Hazel as she is introduced to life at the House of  Refuge - a prison that she is sentenced to spend the next 5 years calling home. Once a convict always a convict she has been told. Life outside is much worse because even though you've been "reformed" you could commit the crime again. Trust is lost. Not a hopeful prospect for someone who had had a life of ease and wealth.

Five years pass with no more glimpses of Hazel's life within the prison. She has been released but she no longer has a home and her family has pushed her away to save the reputations of her younger siblings. In need of employment she applies to be a lady in attendance for Doctor Gilbert Watts, who is a dentist in Amherst. 

Soon Hazel has a life that she is content with. She enjoys her work for the most part - though occasionally some mouths are less than pleasant to be around. Gilbert has lived a solitary life and Hazel's presence in his office has brought something new into his life - something he never knew he was missing. But there are certain lines that can't be crossed and Gilbert is a man of honor. And if he knew the secrets she carried Hazel is sure that she would yet again be in search of a new home and employment.

Determined to clear her name, Hazel finds herself with noone to listen to her story. She isn't innocent but she never committed the crimes that changed her life forever. Can she trust those who she now calls friends to help her or will she be forever separated from the family she never fully appreciated until they were lost to her forever? 

A Lady is Attendance does not take the reader to Azure Springs (or the surrounding area) as the author's previous books (from Revell) have, so this book is most definitely as standalone title. I really enjoyed getting to know Hazel, Gilbert, Duncan, and Ina. This is classified as a historical romance which it most definitely is but it is so much more too. It is a study of human nature and how an indivdual responds to injustice, forgiveness, and trust. It is a study of injustice and the lack of weight given to a woman's voice at this time. Justice when properly applied is to be admired but when subverted it is a tool of the corrupt. 

I have to admit if the author ever decided to revisit these characters or some of the surrorting characters I would not be disappointed and would love to pay another visit to Amherst, New York, of the late 1890s. If you are looking for a lovely historical fiction with a bit of mystery, suspense, and romance you have to add A Lady in Attendance to your summer tbr list. If you are familiar with Rachel Fordham's you won't be disappointed and if you have never read her before this is the perfect introduction to her literary skills.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel's real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts's lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all.

As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can't help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities?

Rachel Fordham pens a tender tale of a soft-spoken man, a hardened woman, and the friends that stand by them as they work toward a common purpose--to expunge the record of someone society deemed beyond saving--and perhaps find love along the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comments.
~ Blooming with Books