Antof9's Reviews > Lady's Maid

Lady's Maid by Margaret Forster
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's review
Mar 16, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: 2009-read, about-books, alterna-history, biographies-memoirs, depressing, women, wanna-change-the-ending, travel
Read in March, 2009

This is the fictional story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's real-life lady's maid, and it was fascinating to read. The author really drew me into the era and Wilson's feelings. I really felt like I was living with Wilson while I was reading this book! "Wilson", of course, is Lily Wilson, who comes from a small town to London to work for Elizabeth Barrett, works for her through her marriage to Robert Browning, miscarriages, the birth of her son, and on and off through the rest of Elizabeth's life.

I couldn't give this one 4 stars, though, because it really got depressing at the end. Since it was a fictionalized account, I really wish the author had chosen just a little more hope for Wilson's life. Once she gave birth to her first son, I ... wanted to change the narrative. (won't say any more for spoilage)

I really liked the writing in this. I could see the clothing, the rooms, I could feel the closed-up room Elizabeth spent much of her life in, etc., etc. Sometimes the turn of a phrase just grabbed me. One of those was in a letter Lily wrote to her mother, "It was a very Fine day Monther so warm and sunny as you would not believe up in the dear North and me only wearing a coat for the date's sake and no other."

My father was born and raised in Holland, and one of the traditions they still adhere to there showed up in this book! In Holland, and clearly during this timeframe, bad news (like a death) is announced via a black-edged envelope. Good news (like wedding announcements) comes in silver-edged envelopes (and that's how my husband and I did our wedding invitations). I really liked the fact that this was in this book!

Over all, I really enjoyed this book, and all the travel made me want to Go Somewhere. If I hadn't been so frustrated with Wilson's situation in the end, I'd have enjoyed it more, but for anyone interested in this time, or writers, or (of course) the Brownings, this is a must-read.

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Reading Progress

03/09/2009 page 26
03/10/2009 page 206
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