Tag Archives: Margaret Forster

Lady’s Maid

Thoughts   Lady’s Maid by Margaret Forster, 1991 by Doubleday (first published 1990), 548 pages  |  0385417926 (ISBN 13: 9780385417921)

Genre:  Historical Fiction.   Challenge:   None, personal referral, BBAW 2010 Forgotten Treasure.   Source:  Community Library

When I was last in the hospital for a quick in/out procedure, I asked the prep nurse if she had read any good books lately.   She said, “Yes, Lady’s Maid.   I can’t remember who wrote it but it was really good!”    Somehow, I managed to remember the title and later put it on my goodreads.com TO BE READ list.     When we were prompted with the post idea for the BBAW Forgotten Treasure, this is the book that came to my, even though I had not yet read it.   I do recall thinking it odd that I could not find many if any reviews online in my corner of the book-blogosphere so that is why I chose to highlight this.   Doing this prompted me to search the interlibrary loan service and reserve it.    I tend to read my library books right away – I’m not one to check out a ton of books at one time.   I’m quite monogamous in my reading habits.

I also tend to ramble on posts like this when I fail to write a review in a timely manner.   Yep, I turned the book in already.   DARN.   I also think that I failed to read the Introduction!   I meant to do that.

If you’re still here reading this (wouldn’t it be interesting to have stats tell us how many people skim a first paragraph and then wander off?) then I can only tell you a bit of plot, that I enjoyed it very much, and point you to a better blog’s review.   And then call it a day.   I have a new puppy, you may recall, and she is a cute little time suck…

This novel introduces the reader to the imagined life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s maid, ‘Wilson’.    Historical facts have shown when she first became employed and that she never (quite) left her mistress.   She was a witness to EBB’s elopement with poet Robert Browning, travels with them to Italy and had a super-dooper relationship with their son, Pen.  (READ the END NOTES.)   Lots more happens, of course.

Margaret Forster gives a fascinating (if not long, ahem) look at the life and employment practices in the mid-1800’s,  England AND Italy.

I enjoyed it.    I have no clue how or what to say more.    Honestly, I’m not all that impressed by Ms. Elizabeth.    She comes off a tad on the bitchy manipulative side of the fence when it comes to being her maid’s BFF and then so easily dismissive.    But alas, such were the times?

Amanda of Zen Leaf has reviewed a book that also looks at the life of Mr. and Mrs. Browning, but through the adventures of their dog, Flush.   oh!  and Flush is written by Virginia Woolf!! I can’t tell you how much that intrigues me.   Maybe I just did.    I’m wishlisting this for a read someday and I also want to tackle Aurora Leigh by EBB.   I don’t have much interest in Robert Browning, actually.

Well-written, engaging, lively, with depth.

Do read Litlove’s review, Masters and Servants, at Tales From the Reading Room.    I’m telling you, again.  GO READ LITLOVE..   🙂


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.

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.