The Poor Relation by Susanna Bavin – Book Review


The Poor Relation


Susanna Bavin

1908, Manchester. Mary Maitland is an attractive and intelligent young woman determined to strike out on her own and earn a living. Finding work at a women’s employment agency, her creative talent is soon noticed and Mary begins writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

But being of independent and progressive mind are troublesome traits when those you hold dear must constantly live up to the expectations of the well-to-do family to which they are linked. With increasing pressures from the powers that be, can Mary find the fine line between honouring her family and honouring herself?

The Poor Relation

Purchase Link

My Thoughts

I am a great fan of Susanna Bavin’s writing and was excited to read The Poor Relation, a stunning historical fiction novel set in Manchester in 1908.

I was completely absorbed in the life of Mary Maitland who was born to a respectable, modest household but closely related to the extremely wealthy Kimber family. When she is continuously bypassed for promotion at work by male colleagues who she has personally trained, she knows she has to make changes. Mary is ambitious, intelligent, and strong-minded but she knows that she must not appear to be ‘above her station’ and cause embarrassment to her family. In addition, Mary has the influential and extremely snobbish Kimber side of the family, making her feel inferior at every opportunity.

I loved how strong Mary was to overcome all the obstacles against her in a time when women were totally overlooked. The treatment of women who wanted to stand up for their rights is portrayed clearly and  Mary herself comes across prejudice and humiliation. There are secrets around every corner and the plot beautifully demonstrates the shocking divides of the rich and poor society.

I’ve read all of Susanna’s books and they are all equally absorbing, with fascinating characters and excellent storytelling. I look out for novels that feature strong women and this author excels at this with female characters who are ambitious but also tremendously kind-hearted.

Lovers of historical fiction will adore this story from an accomplished and talented author.

About The Author


Susanna Bavin lives on the beautiful North Wales coast with her husband and their two rescue cats. She is originally from Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Manchester, where her family has lived for several generations and which provides the setting for her family sagas.

I recently shared an Author Spotlight about Susanna’s writing and all her novels, including The Surplus Girls which she wrote as Polly Heron.

Susanna Bavin Author Spotlight

My reviews of all Susanna’s books can be found on this blog by using the search icon.

Untitled design (11)

Susanna can be found on Twitter @SusannaBavin or her website which is

All books are available on Amazon via this page:-

Susanna Bavin Author Page

Thank you so much to the author for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.

Thank you for reading.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: