BBAW: Forgotten Treasures

<– click on the button to go to the BBAW website…

I just scanned through my recent read list and don’t have anything too obscure that no one has ever heard of.   Most are classically known or were recommendations from bloggers so that doesn’t count, right?

So, I thought I would highlight a book that someone recommended to me out in the ‘real world’ and upon hearing more about, was absolutely sure that my circle of book bloggers would have known about.

But, NO!**

By the way, if you don’t use or don’t know about Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search Engine, get thyself over to that pronto and get signed up to be on it!     –>  Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search Engine About Page   <–

When I entered title and author into the awesome couldn’t-live-without Fyrefly’s Book Blog Search Engine, I only found ONE true review and a bunch of lists featuring the author’s name.   So all hail Litlove* for reading this and saying it is wonderful because I really really do want to read it someday:

Lady’s Maid by Margaret Forster

Published in 2007  by Ballantine Books, here’s what the blurb is off my local indie bookstore, Baker’s Books has to say.

In Forster’s historically authentic novel, Elizabeth Wilson, Elizabeth Barrett’s maid and confidante, describes her daily experiences, her impressions of the large household and, especially, her sickly but charismatic mistress’s relationship with Mr. Browning.

Publisher Comments
“Absorbing…Heartbreaking…Forster paints a vivid picture of class, station, hypocrisy and survival in Victorian society….Grips the reader’s imagination on every page.”
She was Elizabeth Barrett’s lady’s maid. But “Wilson” was more than that. She was a confidante, friend and conspirator in Elizabeth’s forbidden romance with Robert Browning. Wilson stayed with Elizabeth for sixteen years, through every trial and crisis, and when Wilson’s affairs took a dramatic turn she expected the same loyalty from Elizabeth….

I love historical fiction (though you couldn’t really tell that by what I have read lately) and I do love me some Victorian lit and forbidden love and secrecy and hypocrisy and shenanigans…   AND I want to explore  more poetry so why not some poets, too.    What about you?   Have you read this or want to?



* and Litlove is one of my favorite bloggers, too.

**  Only one other friend in goodreads has this on a to-be-read list.   I really expected more.    Maybe because book blogging was just really getting started in 2007?   This just sounds like a bookblogosphere kind of book to me…

Copyright © 2010. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

36 thoughts on “BBAW: Forgotten Treasures

    1. GT – I know it’s a bit odd to highlight a book I haven’t even read yet myself; maybe I needed validation? and thank YOU for reminding me that Wodehouse is a top3 MUST. It’s embarrassing that I have yet to read anything he’s written.

  1. Ooooh, that *does* look good. I’m not particularly knowledgeable about Elizabeth Barrett, so those aspects of it might be a little lost on me, but I’m all for Victorian class discrepancies and hypocrisy and scandal. (Well, not really *for* them, all “Yay, oppression of the working class!”, but they do make for good novels.)

    Also, thanks for plugging the search engine! One more unicorn ride for you!

        1. Nope; I’ve got a vacation coming up, so I probably won’t even have it in hand by the 10th, let alone had a chance to read it. Sorry!

  2. Oh my gosh! Having just read Flush, which is pretty much like this book except instead of hearing from the maid’s POV you hear from the dog’s, but I actually met Wilson as a character from Flush and I’m dying to read more about this situation! I know very little was known about Wilson (though Virginia Woolf stated her name was Lily and not Elizabeth??). How awesome! I’m adding this to the TBR pile immediately!

    1. Now I need to go find out about Flush! the dog’s POV, you say. Would you have time to read it before mid-Oct if I choose it for my COBC? Actually, I probably don’t have time by then if I truly desire to read Woman in White for RIP. Darn it.

  3. ::raises hand:: Yes, I’ve read it and I loved it too. It was originally published in 1990 and it was the first of her novels I read, so I was really pleased to find it was an older book and that she has such a backlist of works to look forward to. I read her novel Diary of an Ordinary Woman: 1914-95 (2003) next and really enjoyed it too. She’s on my MustReadEverything list now. Nice to see her getting some attention!

  4. I’ve never heard of this one, but I love reading about the “forbidden love” of the Brownings, and this sounds like an interesting way to tackle telling some of that story.

    1. Jeanne, I have zero knowledge of the Brownings other than what anyone else off the street *might* know. Oh, and I had no idea Byron had such a sense of humor NOR that he wrote about Don Juan. I mean I know about Don Juan and I have heard of Lord Byron but never realized a connection. eek? [referencing your post for today, for benefit of anyone else reading this comment and wondering why I’m mentioning.]

  5. I read that book a while ago, shortly after I fell in love with the Brownings from their letters. It wasn’t bad, but I wanted it to be more–I don’t know–nice about the Brownings. There was this afterword, or epilogue, or something, where the author rather snippily said that after Elizabeth Barrett Browning died, Robert Browning got rid of the maid (because she wasn’t needed any more because the lady she had been lady’s-maiding to HAD DIED) and only sent her ten pounds a year thereafter. It made me angry! He wasn’t rich! How could he keep the maid forever and carry on paying her and she wouldn’t even have had anything to do?

    Hm. I seem to have gotten rather heated there. But I love the Brownings so and I never want to hear anything to their discredit.

    1. Jenny, you are always welcome here and I value everything and anything you bring to the party. 🙂
      There seems to be some controversy with this maid, huh? I’m more and more intrigued.

    1. I ask people all the time what book they are recommending these days and this suggestion stuck with me. I recall rushing home to check goodreads – and that was back in December! I am not sure why it popped to top of mind today.

  6. Aww you are such a dear heart, Care. Thank you SO much for the mention, which I really appreciate. And do read the book – I found it compelling and beautifully written.

    I’m sending you a big hug!

    1. Thanks Litlove! I have the book on reserve and I think I will be able to pick it up on Monday. I’m really looking forward to it. Have a terrific weekend.

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