Book Review; A Pearl for my Mistress by Annabel Fielding

A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downtown Abbey.

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.

Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.

Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…

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My Review

Hester Blake travels to Hebden Hall to take up the position of a maid to Lady Lucy Fitzmartin. It is her first job in service and she arrives excited but slightly hesitant as to what lays ahead.

She is relieved when her new employer greets her with a friendly smile, and they soon bond as they share a love of literature. Although there is a very clear class divide, both girls are ambitious and hungry for knowledge of world affairs, politics and historical events.

All is not what it seems at Hebdon Hall. The years of decadence are well and truly over, but the Fitzmartins go to great lengths to keep their lack of finances hidden.  Rooms are dimly lit and cold, bed linen is repaired and towels darned, by a greatly diminished number of household staff. As well as the humiliation of their lack of funds, the family ‘s main fear is that a scandal will break out, destroying the ancestral reputation and bringing shame on the family.

Lucy tries to be the dutiful debutante her parents aspire her to be but she feels trapped in this world and she struggles to keep her opinions unspoken.

When the girl’s feelings for each other start to deepen they are forced to keep their relationship hidden.

An extremely well-researched novel laced with mystery, scandal, and intrigue. The book is not just about social class divides which are so often recorded, but also about classes coming together, loyalty and the keeping of secrets. A hugely interesting and entertaining read.

Thank you to the author and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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