The Lady’s Maid is part of some books Random House has recently released for the US. Dilly Court writes a rambling yet absorbing tale of two girls born on the same day whose fate couldn’t be any more different. This is a good story with a strong plot that will appeal to a wide number of people.
Two women are in labor on a secluded hilltop. Both are unwed mothers. Dena is a gypsy girl who has been seduced by a gentleman. She gives birth to a baby girl she names Josephine after the father. Josephine is to be adopted by the lady of the manor who plans to pass her off as her own.
Clara is a gentlewoman who has fallen on hard times. She gives birth to a girl who is named Katherine. After extracting a promise from the gypsy woman to take care of her child, Clara dies in childbirth. The old gypsy learns about a worker on the lord’s estate who has a stillborn child. She hands over Katherine to the farmer who raises her as his own. Jospehine and Katherine grow up together and are close friends, but Josephine always has the upper hand, being a gentleman’s daughter.
Years pass, and the girls are young ladies. Josephine is about to be married to a rich trader. She does everything possible to insult him. The rich trader is more impressed by Katherine. The girls are banished to the country as punishment for Josephine’s indiscretions.
Katherine flourishes in the country and loves working on her father’s farm. But her small perfect world comes crashing down when her father marries a termagant. And the old Squire is pressing her suit, but she hankers after Harry, the rich tradesman Josephine is engaged to.
After another turn of circumstances, the girls learn about their birth and find themselves homeless. They are reduced to working as servants, living in extreme poverty. Will Katherine ever find her true family? And will fortune shine on them?
The story takes a lot of twists and turns that I cannot talk about if this review is to be spoiler free. This story has an almost epic like quality, although it only spans about 20 years of the girls’ lives. I will definitely be reading more books by Dilly Court, and wholeheartedly recommend this for anyone who loves a good story!