Thursday 5 November 2015

Book Review: Lady Maybe

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In the new novel by the three-time Christy Award-winning author of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, a woman’s startling secrets lead her into unexpected danger and romance in Regency England… 
One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness…
Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie. But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.

My review
I found this story less of the mystery suggested by the blurb and more of a love story with a twist. When former Lady’s companion, Hannah Rogers, finds herself in a sad and desperate position, she appeals to her former employer for help. Because it suits her own plans, Lady Marianna Mayfield takes Hannah on as a travelling companion. The journey they go on, however, does not end as Lady Marianna had hoped, and Hannah finds herself engulfed in an intriguing situation, one which has the potential to take her life in a very dangerous direction, or open up the possibility of a new beginning for her.

Set in North Devon, England, in the early 1800s, the story has all the quaint and engaging historical characteristics that make period novels enjoyable. I particularly liked the female characters. Hannah is a ‘not too good to be true’ heroine, and Lady Marianna is a well portrayed self-centred woman of her day. The simple innocence of Becky, Hannah’s helper, is very engaging and adds an element of potential undoing of Hannah’s hopes, which provides ongoing suspense to the story. Some of the male characters; Sir John (Lady Marianna’s spouse), Anthony Fontaine (her lover) and James Lowden, (Sir John’s solicitor), I found a little less believable. Their motivations and intentions seemed a bit convoluted and I felt their characters were less well developed in the writing. I thought the real hero in this novel was the kindly Dr Parrish, who, while having no romantic role in the story, has a depth of character which is believable and endearing.  

The intrigue and pace of the story was clever, with lots of twists and turns. The plot kept me wondering and turning the pages. There is a fairy tale ending which will please lovers of romance novels, even though the path to it is quite tortuous and in the end a little too neat.

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Carol writes historical novels based on her family ancestry in Australia from the First Fleet. They include the Turning the Tide series; Mary’s Guardian, Charlotte’s Angel, Tangled Secrets and Truly Free. Her earlier novels Suzannah’s Gold and Rebecca’s Dream have been re-released by EBP. Her new novel, Next of Kin, was released by Rhiza Press this year. You can see more about Carol and her novels on her website


  1. I haven't read Lady Maybe (yet).

    One thing I noticed is that the publisher is Berkley, not one of the Christian publishers. How did you find the faith elements in Lady Maybe? Is it Christian fiction, or "wholesome" Regency romance?

    1. I wouldn't call this Christian fiction. Perhaps not even particularly wholesome because there was a fair amount of deceit. It certainly wasn't offensive but I struggled to like or identify with the main female characters and they were not portrayed as Godly.

  2. Thanks for the review, Carol.
    I've read several other Julie Klassen novels, but not Lady Maybe. I've read other reviews which sound similar to yours, especially regarding the men in the novel.


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