Jennifer Delamere wrote “The Captain’s Daughter” which takes place in London around 1873. We find Rosalyn Bernay venturing out on her own from the orphanage that has been home for her and her two sisters since their parents dies. Becoming a lady’s maid was a good job and provided an income and place to stay for Rosalyn until the lady married a no-good rake. His dastardly designs on Rosalyn and his lies about her thievery cause her to run away. Attempting to avoid detection by this rogue, she made her way to London. There she was immediately taken in by a local Madame to a brothel. She escaped, but lost her money and belongings along the way. She stopped at a doorway and was taken for a new hire in the theater. Unknown to her, the ex-soldier who attempted to help her at the train station also worked at this theater, where Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta H.M.S. Pinafore was playing. Rosalyn became the dresser, all the while looking over her shoulder for the lady’s husband to find her and cause trouble.
I thought this was a really interesting story and I loved the references to the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas that were so popular at this time. London seemed a dirty and dangerous place, especially for a young woman on her own. The rewarding part of this novel is the generous help Rosalyn had along the way. I know you will enjoy this story. It is a little out of the norm, but I thought it was well written.
Nancy Moser has written a compelling novel in “The Pattern Artist”. Annie Wood has come to America with her employers from England. She is a just a housemaid to the Lady herself and her daughter and the house. She helps the lady’s maids with alterations and sewing of the ladies’ garments and is sure that her expertise will help her rise to the position of lady’s maid. Her ambitions are short-lived however, when she finds that the other maids are taking credit for her work. She and Iris and Iris’ brother Danny sneak out to seek their fortunes on the streets of New York.
They find themselves penniless when they are robbed and homeless the first night of their get-away. A kindly family takes them in in return for their labors in their bakery. Annie has dreams of have a better job and decides to apply to Macy’s Department Store. She is hired and from there her dreams just keep coming true. The Butterick pattern salesman sees her wonderfully stylish creations and puts in a good word for her at the pattern business. There she is being groomed to be a pattern artist. In the meantime, Iris and Danny continue to work for the Tuttles family and their bakery business. Of course, there are romantic themes in this novel as well…and a villain who is after Annie.
I enjoyed reading about this period, especially with Ms. Moser’s use of big names of the day and happenings during the early 1900’s in New York. My only thought was that Annie is never satisfied. One job leads to another and another. I’m not sure how she keeps up with everything. Of course the chapters in the novel move along rapidly and that could be where I feel that Annie’s life is going too fast.
I received a Kindle copy of this book from NetGalley.com. No review positive or otherwise was required – all opinions are my own.