“England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.
Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.
Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…”
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
This book. Wow. What can I say? I love historical fiction, especially books which are set in the 1930s/WW2 period, so I had very high expectations, and I was not disappointed!
From the cover and title, I assumed it was a book based heavily on romance, and whilst there is romance (F/F relationship as well – YAY for diverse historical fiction!), A Pearl For My Mistress is so much more than that! At just under 400 pages, so much mystery, secrets and adventure is packed into this book. I got around half way through reading this novel and was astounded that so much had already happened and was wondering what could possibly happen next, but my gosh, it only gets better!
Yet even with so much depth and events packed into this book, it never becomes overwhelming to read or unrealistic in what was happening – especially as it’s based on what happened in the 1930s in Britain (there is a list of reading recommendations at the back by Annabel so I will definitely get round to a few if I can). Both plot wise, but also the setting, context etc, are so well described, and it’s clear a lot of research has been done before writing this book. This made A Pearl For My Mistress read incredibly well and flow nicely – all whilst being easy to imagine what was happening, which can sometimes be hard to achieve in historical fiction. The writing was beautiful and really did the story justice.
In terms of characters, A Pearl For My Mistress, follows Lady Lucy Fitzmartin and her newly appointed maid, Hester Blake. Throughout the novel, we got to know both characters better and see their development, not only in terms of their relationship, but also in terms of their personalities, personal history and desire for the future. The portrayal of the difference of class between Lucy and Hester was also accurately shown and again, reiterated the research that has been done for this novel. All the relationships seem genuine and develop over time (no insta-love thankfully!) and don’t always go in the way you expect them to!
I honestly can’t put into words how much I enjoyed reading this book! It’s one of my favourite books this year and a now go-to historical fiction recommendation! So much happens, and it is so well researched, without being overwhelming or complicated to read, I’m astounded! If you love historical fiction, want to read more diverse relationships, or just fancy reading something a little bit different and full of secrets and mystery, this book is for you! I can’t wait to see what Annabel writes next and I can guarantee I’ll be one of the first to read it as soon as it is released!
Check out the rest of the Blog Tour for A Pearl For My Mistress if you want to find out more information or get an insight into what some other readers thought! All the details are below!