Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist

     This is the first Deeanne Gist that I have read but I'll be looking for more!  Maid to Match is funny, touching, historical, and romantic.  Set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina in 1898, this book is a look into the servant's life in America at that time.  Servants for the Vanderbilts were treated much better than in many of the other gilded homes of the time but they were still servants and the demands on their time and the limits on their lives were very real.  Just the look at history makes this a worthwhile read.  You'll be saying to yourself, "Servants were expected to do that!"     Gist has chosen servants for her main characters which is a departure from the usual class chosen for the leading roles in a romance novel.  This change gives the reader a much better view of real life in 1898 but it doesn't lessen the tension and romance one bit.
     Tillie Reese is the head parlor maid for the Vanderbilts and she is in the running to become lady's maid to Mrs. Vanderbilt.  Lady's maid is the position that Tillie has trained for all her life.  It is the position that Tillie and her mother have dreamed of Tillie holding.  It means great esteem in the household and a much needed raise in pay.  Just as Tillie is about to step into this exalted role in the household, she meets Mack Danvers.
     Mack is not the least bit interested in continuing in the employ of the Vanderbilts.  He has taken the job of "useful man" strictly for the money.  As soon as he can earn enough to get his sister out of the orphanage in Asheville, he intends to return to the freedom of his mountain. 
     The sparks ignite between Mack and Tillie, but Tillie is determined that her best life is with the Vanderbilts and Mack is sure his is without them.  The situation at the orphanage draws both Tillie and Mack to
re-evaluate their priorities. 
     In many ways this is a book for our times, too.  It speaks to what we Americans believe to be important - individual rights and responsibilities, freedom to determine our own destiny, and respect for all no matter their place in society.

Books by Deeanne Gist:

A Bride Most Begrudging  (c2005)
The Measure of a Lady  (c2006)
Courting Trouble  (c2007)
Deep in the Heart of Trouble  (c2008)
A Bride in the Bargain  (c2009)
Beguiled  (cFeb.,2010)
Maid to Match  (cJune,2010)

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