7 October 2011

Review: The Lady's Maid by Susan Page Davis

Elise Finster is The Lady's Maid (Prairie Dreams), having served Lady Anne Stone (and her mother before her) for twenty years. Lady Anne’s father, the Earl of Stoneford, has recently died, and his heir, David Stone, was last heard from ten years ago when he was running a shop in America. Efforts to find Uncle David have been in vain, and the question of who is the new Earl cannot be settled without knowing for sure whether David Stone is dead or alive. Meanwhile, Lady Anne is left with only a small annual allowance that is not enough to maintain her lifestyle, so Lady Anne decides to travel to America to find Uncle David, with Elise accompanying her as her maid and companion.

Once in America, the ladies find evidence that David Stone rode west to Oregon ten years earlier, so they decide to purchase a wagon and mules, and join a wagon train going west. The train is guided by Mr Rob Whistler, with Mr Edwin (‘Eb’) Bentley as the scout. They have reservations about two women travelling alone, particularly as these women are obviously ladies, and, equally obviously, have none of the skills necessary for survival in the wild. However, good fortune provides them with one Mr Thomas Costigan, who offers to drive their team, but who may not be all he appears to be…

The Lady's Maid (Prairie Dreams)was a really sweet historical novel, with a growing friendship between Anne and Elise, a romance, and some suspense. The lead characters were plainly Christians, but this was not really the emphasis of the story, so the book was not in the least preachy. It has to be said that the end of the novel does not quite tie up all the loose ends, leading me to suspect that a sequel will follow. Perhaps this will also answer the question of why David Stone left England for America almost twenty years ago… However, the end is quite satisfying for all the romantics out there. Overall, The Lady's Maid (Prairie Dreams)was a very enjoyable book, even though it was quite different from Susan Page Davis’ contemporary romantic suspense novels (such as Frasier Island (Frasier Island Series, Book 1)) that I have previously enjoyed.

I have to say that the journey Anne and Elise took was quite pleasant and sanitised in comparison to some, yet it still renews my awe for those hardy settlers who crossed America in tiny covered wagons to settle the West, particularly for the hardships they faced. My family drove north across part of the Great Plains in 2010, and I found it amazing that the drive that took us only a matter of hours would have taken months for those in the wagon trains. Even more amazing – 150 years later, in places you can still see the grooves left by the thousands of wagons that made the journey before the railroad was completed.

Thanks to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook to review.

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