Title: The Lady’s Maid
Author: Dilly Court
Genre: Historical fiction, romance
Publisher: Arrow Books
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy for tour with TLC Book Tours
First line: Zolfina could tell that the gorgio girl’s life was ebbing away on a crimson tide.
Goodreads blurb: In the quiet of a warm summer’s evening, two young mothers are forced to give up their babies. Whilst Kate grows up knowing only poverty and servitude, Josie’s world is one of privilege and luxury.
Despite the differences in their circumstances, Kate and Josie have been friends since childhood. But their past binds them together in ways they must never know.
Until a chance meeting forces Kate and Josie to confront the truth of that night nearly twenty years before – a truth that turns both worlds upside down and threatens to destroy their friendship forever…
Sigh. This is one of those reviews that I have put off writing, because The Lady’s Maid was not a good reading experience for me. In fact, if I hadn’t been reading it for a tour, I probably wouldn’t have made it past the first chapter.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I don’t read many romances. I like books that have a romantic element, of course, but I don’t read the romance genre. From the description, I thought this book was more historical fiction, less romance, but it turned out to be similar to all the historical romances I read in high school and college. There was a major difference, though, in that I remember that those books, while predictable and formulaic, were at least well-written. This one wasn’t.
First, there was a ton of flowery language; the metaphors and similes were a bit over-the-top. Also, the author has a tendency to thrown in archaic words from the time without any context at all. I like well-researched historical fiction, and that will definitely include era-appropriate terminology, but when it happens on every page, constantly, it seems as if the author is showing off rather than showing the reader.
The two main characters were very stereotypical. Kate is the good girl, the one who is kind, understanding, and who only gets angry or stands up to people when it is for someone else, never for her own sake. Josie is the fiery one, the one with spirit and temper, and is continually unpleasant to those around her. The undying friendship between Josie and Kate was completely unbelievable, simply because Josie was such a horrible person. And then, toward the end of the book, Josie makes a sudden change to her character, one that simply did not seem authentic.
The male characters were one-dimensional, which made it hard for me, as the reader, to understand why either girl would fall so desperately in love with them. The plot – and not just the romantic elements – was completely predictable. I could have told you by the end of chapter five exactly how things would turn out.
I usually don’t write a completely negative review, and I tried to think of something nice to say about The Lady’s Maid, but I simply didn’t like it. I will say, though, that according to the book’s Goodreads page, the author has a lot of fans who really enjoyed this book. So maybe this is a case of “it’s me, not the book.”