Title: The Lady’s Maid
Author: Susan Page Davis
Publisher: Barbour Books
Date: Oct 2011
Genre: Historical Romance
Reviewed by: Holly Weiss
If you’re thinking, “Oh, no, not another wagon train story,” don’t worry. Once you dip into the pages of The Lady’s Maid by Susan Page Davis, you’ll be glad you came along for the ride. Can two refined ladies in hooped crinoline skirts travel from England, don calico dresses, and survive culture shock along the Oregon Trail? Lady Anne Stone and her faithful maid Elise experience a slow crawl across the American Plains, but the reader is treated to a full-clipped story full of pioneer and wagon train details.
The tough male trailblazers doubt if these beautiful, finicky ladies can handle the trip. They break their rule of “no unaccompanied women on the trail” and agree to take them on. Soon Anne and Elise are making open fires, butchering chickens, and surviving egg-size hail.
Anne grows from a tender-skinned aristocrat to a woman determined to find her missing uncle. A glance at the book’s title reveals that Elise may turn out to be the more interesting person. Her character is faithful, reliable, and sympathetic. You will cheer her resourcefulness. A quotation from the book sums up her character well. “Her dainty fingers grasped his rough hand with a surprisingly strong grip.”
Susan Page Davis, a resident of Maine, has researched and published books set from 1689 to the present. A versatile author, she writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and historical fiction.
The author’s style is to spin the story out largely through dialogue, but with the number of people interacting as they travel west, this technique works. A well-executed romantic tension between Elise and Eb Bentley weaves through the book. Tying up loose ends between Anne and her missing uncle, The Earl of Stoneford, might have made the ending stronger.
Barbour Books through Net Galley graciously supplied the advance review copy for my unbiased opinion.
Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont