Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Valet (Below Stairs #1)” as Want to Read:
The Valet (Below Stairs #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Valet

(Below Stairs #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A historical MM romance novella.

England, 1910 – Ted has a good situation as first footman at Montague Hall, the splendid Gloucestershire manor of the 6th Earl of Carran. But he has just made a mistake so serious it could cost him his position, and even land him in prison if the authorities found out.

As valet to the 9th Duke of Argyll, Richard’s London life is glamorous. B
Kindle Edition, 118 pages
Published November 26th 2020
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Valet, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Valet

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  101 ratings  ·  25 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Valet (Below Stairs #1)
Romance between a footman and a valet in 1910 England. This is a different setting than most historicals, not only due to the time period but also because it’s a romance between two servants, and the author does a good job rendering that setting in detail. Unfortunately, the characters aren’t as detailed, and I didn’t feel a romantic connection between them. This is partially because the prose is very “this happened, then this happened” with little space devoted to the characters’ deeper feeling ...more
Dec 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, ku, m-m
Definitely inspired by Downton Abbey. Wicked lady’s maid, nasty footman, fussy, proud butler, kindly housekeeper. Slow paced
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
** 4.25 stars **

This totally has a Downton Abbey vibe. The story revolves around the servants that are in employ of the Carran family. It has all the tension and rivalries, all the friendships that people below stairs make while caring for their family above stairs. I liked the clear divide and how by the book everything was in regards to behavior, clothes and even attitudes. There was plenty of nail biting tension for me, a bit of angst and steam that showed how careful both Ted and Richard had
Dec 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I was very engaged by the story and the period was well done. Hardly any anachronisms. I liked the characters a lot. It's a little painful, as a gay man, to be pulled that deep into the closet again, but totally worth it for the story; added a lot of poignancy. Congratulations to Gough on acing her first historical! I'm looking forward to more. ...more
J.P. Jackson
Oct 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Did you ever watch Downtown Abbey?

Honestly, it would have been another TV Series I would have skipped if it hadn't been for my husband raving about it, and the odd scene I'd catch with Maggie Smith portraying Violet Crawley - sharp of tongue, she was. And hilarious.

So I started watching the show. I'm usually not one for historical recreations...and yet I find myself fascinated by them. Correction: The good ones tend to draw me in.

You know the old saying, "When I was your age...” I got that a
Lena Grey
Jan 26, 2021 rated it liked it
“Forbidden love provides happiness when there is no happiness.” ~ Unknown

Ted, of ‘The Valet’ by Mel Gough, appreciates his position at Gloucester Manor where he has worked for ten years. He has fought what he, and most of society for that matter, considers to be “unnatural” urges. Most of the time, Ted can control those urges that are not only considered a sin but are also punishable with imprisonment. When he gave in to his feelings and misjudges the intentions of Jimmy, another employee, Jimmy
suz ~Always Reading~
Nov 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, historical, holiday
This was a really lovely story. This reminded me a lot of Downton Abbey and everything that goes on behind the scenes with the servants. The entire story unfolded beautifully. The pacing is a bit on the slow side but I felt like that added to the plot. I felt invested in all the characters and it really is fascinating to read about what happens when working for a family that is either royalty of some sort or extremely wealthy.

Ted is the footman for the Peyton family and Richard is the valet for
Dec 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: ku
3.5 rounded down for the very slow start (especially given that the book is 110 pages long). I enjoyed this sweet historical romance between two servants.It felt realistic and period appropriate in terms of plot. I just whished for the first half to be a bit more fast paced and I would have loved more time with the MCs interacting, we did not get much. They were well suited and I believed in their connection but I wish we got more. They were very sweet though. It's a quick and nice read for thos ...more
Joyfully Jay
Dec 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: sammy
A Joyfully Jay review.

3.5 stars

Mel Gough’s new release, The Valet, takes a look at manor life below stairs just at the turn of the twentieth century in England, a time in history where any hint of homosexual attachment is still unlawful and scandalous. For poor Ted, who is just trying to keep his place at the Hall, life is doubly dangerous due to two work colleagues who have it out for him and never let him forget it. When Richard arrives, the hidden desires Ted feels explode and, for the first
Lillian Francis
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: filed, historical
Loved this.
The MCs were well written and engaging.
I'm no expert on this time period, but the historical details felt authentic.
The relationship is nicely understated, just as they would have had to be in the time period, with much of the focus on the everyday running of the house.
The conflict, both internal and external is resolved realistically with no over the top histrionics.

Why only 4 stars? I think I could have done with a few chapters of UST as well as the avoidance just to really help m
Jane Harper
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This is exactly the type of book I like, and I should have loved this one a lot more; but it was just ok. First, I do appreciate that it is not a valet-employer romance. That's a fresh take. However, after Ted meets the new valet, he proceeds to avoid him. There just was not enough interaction between the two men to suggest a basis for their friendship, much less romance.

Also, the novel is so much like Downton Abbey, it could be mistaken for fanfiction, with just some of the gender and/or sexua
Vera Leigh
Dec 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reading The Valet is like eating cheesecake: the experience is sweet, rich, and decadent. A cozy afternoon read.

The plot focuses on Ted and Richard, two servants in an aristocratic house in rural England. There’s a palpable attraction between them, yet both are afraid to act on it because it would mean the end of their careers. They also have two scheming co-workers ready to tear them down at the slightest hint of impropriety.

You can really feel the longing between these two. They’ve both been
JD Crittendon
Apr 30, 2022 rated it really liked it
Going After What You Want!

This is an enjoyable short historical tale about first footman Ted and valet Richard grabbing on to love even through difficult circumstances. I have an affinity for historical Regency tales, so this quick read checks that box. I also thought the MCs were likable and that the nasty antagonists added just the right amount of friction. A good, slow-paced read. Rating: 3.5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
May 24, 2022 rated it really liked it
Sprung from Downton Abbey with its own evil lady's maid and spiteful footman, that adds spice to a Edwardian romance story. First footman Ted and newly hired valet Richard gently step around each other, mostly orchestrated by Ted who fears gossip. This short but sweet tale of love, pain of loss, and the chance of something meaningful is a well written and touching story. Also there is a follow up book to look forward to. ...more
Nov 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
I loved this sweet, historical novel.
Theodore and Richard are wonderful characters and I love how more experienced, worldly Richard, having lived and worked in London, helps Ted overcome his fears and find the will to fight for what he wants and deserves.
Very Downton Abbey vibes, and if you loved the show and love MM romance, this book is for you!
Jul 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was a lovely story!

I really enjoyed this book. I love when a majority of the conflict comes from outside the central relationship as it did here, and the stakes felt real. Still enough conflict between the main characters to be interesting and require work and talking through. I found Ted very relatable and I loved how patient and insistent Richard was. Just lovely.
David Eric
Nov 23, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a sweet simple book. The book was written as such like Downton Abby but more emphasis on the m/m aspect. The book focuses on life & times of the era giving the reader a sense of proprietary. While not strong overall it was a nice overall read. If your looking for heat, there isn’t much going on in the book.
Maria E.
Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story went straight to my heart. There is something about historical novels with a taboo relationship that makes them very exciting to me, the MCs can't be in the open like in modern times so their feelings, emotions, and passion have to be concealed. And aren't secret relationships more exciting than out-in-the open relationships? If they were part of the upstairs aristocracy, they could get away with it, but as servants, their lives are not their own and they have to be very careful how t ...more
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Good read

I liked the characters in this book. Both main and side characters were drawn out so that I wanted to read their story and learn more about them. I thought the story was good and it kept me interested. I would definitely read more from this author.
May 29, 2021 rated it liked it

Very sweet quick read with little to no drama. Definitely a Downton Abbey vibe here.

-- historical -- work place romance -- sweet -- in the closet -- very light on sex -- likeable MCs... Ted & Richard -- more of a HFN
Ziggy Nardin
Oct 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. Due to my love of Downton abbey and Thomas Barrow I couldn't help but want to read it. We need more happy historical novels like this. ...more
Kortland Wood
Nov 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you're a fan of Downton Abby and a slow burn book this one is a good one to grab. 💚 ...more
Apr 15, 2021 rated it liked it
Downton Abbey meets gay romance. I don’t know that I’ve read a historical romance before where the couple both are staff, so that was different in a good way.
Jul 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
It was very short and not terribly complex, but it was well written and enjoyable enough to read. I would be willing to read something else by the author.
May 24, 2022 rated it really liked it
Lovely Affair

This one is supposed to be a Downton Abbey clone with gay characters leading the way but I don't care about comparisons. What counts for me is the time period (turn of the 20th Century) and the character's lives.

We don't have the usual peer and servant match up here, rather we have an exceptional first footman in Ted and a vastly experienced valet in Richard. This is unusual in an MM historical romance set in England, but in this case it's a brilliant move.

These two are so careful
rated it really liked it
Oct 01, 2021
rated it it was amazing
Jun 09, 2022
rated it it was ok
Aug 28, 2021
rated it liked it
Apr 23, 2021
Glynn Baugher
rated it really liked it
Mar 18, 2022
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • One Glimpse (Indulgence, #2)
  • His Lordship's Secret (His Lordship’s Mysteries #1)
  • Just a Little Mischief (The Brotherhood #9)
  • A Sanctuary for Soulden (The Lords of Bucknall Club, #4)
  • Just a Little Rivalry (The Brotherhood #10)
  • Trapped
  • A Christmas Miracle (Winsford Green, #4)
  • Once a Gentleman (Love in Portsmouth, #2)
  • The Vicar and the Rake (Society of Beasts, #1)
  • The Schoolmaster's Spy (Winsford Green, #3)
  • A Case for Christmas (The Lords of Bucknall Club, #2)
  • Just a Little Gamble (The Brotherhood #8)
  • A Husband for Hartwell (The Lords of Bucknall Club, #1)
  • The Viscount Debacle
  • His Lordship's Master (His Lordship's Mysteries #2)
  • The Best Gift
  • Just a Little Heartache (The Brotherhood #5)
  • One Indulgence (Indulgence, #1)
See similar books…
Mel Gough loves writing about love – but with a twist. Nominated for the 2019 Selfies Awards, her bisexual romantic suspense novel He is Mine is a typical Mel Gough story. She needs her HEA fix, but on the way there will be thorns and fire, and sometimes brimstone. All right, that might be over the top, especially since her stories are firmly based in the real world - though not always in the here ...more

Other books in the series

Below Stairs (2 books)
  • The Season (Below Stairs #2)

Related Articles

  Holiday-themed books are always a good time. A quality romance or cozy mystery becomes enhanced, somehow, when there’s a connection to those...
150 likes · 21 comments