I’m honored to say that I’m part of Annabel Fielding’s blog tour for her novel, A Pearl for my Mistress.
Those of you who’ve followed my blog a bit, know that historical fiction isn’t something I’d usually pick up. Yet reading the blurb, I was intrigued to say the least!
This novel is set in London – yay! -, in the 1930’s – not so yay.. – and revolves around a lady and her maid who fall in love – big yay! I was all up for tolerating the historic side if it meant indulging myself in some forbidden love.
A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downtown Abbey.
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…
For someone who’s never really been interested in history and anything linked to it, it’s a big deal to say you’ve liked a historical fiction novel. Meaning my whole review is a big deal!
Hester and Lucy are portrayed beautifully. You can follow their train of thought perfectly throughout every chapter. I honestly lost myself completely in their love affair, not to mention all the intrigue and tension the historical setting added to their relationship.
Even though I do think it typical for that time, Lucy’s treatment of Hester rubbed me the wrong way at times. Especially the moments she pretty much states Hester is unknowing of everything going on in the world, that she doesn’t understand the views Lucy herself has. If only there was enough room to talk freely of subjects such as the ongoing tensions between Britain and Germany.
Hester, on the other hand, doesn’t really try to understand Lucy’s motives and reasoning either. This also frustrated me.
So, safe to say it’s just me being me, making a big deal out of something that’s supposedly ordinary during that period.
There was a way to atone for being a failure, and that was to become a perfection. After all, diamonds could be cut and polished. Why not people?
Some of you might know that history isn’t really something that interests me. It was also the one thing about this novel that I didn’t really look forward to and was expecting myself to go on a rant – even though that would’ve been completely my own fault and would’ve nothing to do with the book / author whatsoever.
So let me shock you and myself by saying that I didn’t mind all the historical events and facts mentioned in A Pearl for my Mistress! Yes, at times it felt a bit as an overload, and I realize that’s purely me, but all in all? It didn’t bother me one bit!
I’m not going to say that I started liking history all of a sudden. I’d honestly have to see a rainbow unicorn on a bright green cloud floating around the moon before that’ll ever happen. I am going to say, however, that I was very pleasantly surprised with this side of the novel! It’s a huge part of it and if I hadn’t liked it, hadn’t given it a proper chance, I probably wouldn’t have finished. But I did and I loved it.
Later, when she will be walking through the bare gardens of the hunting lodge, it will bloom into an idea. Then, an idea could be woven into a plan.
Even though I like the characters and I love Fielding’s elaborate and, at times, poetic style of writing, the extreme slow pace of the novel annoyed me at times. I don’t mind slow-paced books at all, but this one was just a tad too slow for my liking.
I felt myself reading slower and slower when there wasn’t really any progress in the story, but as soon as something happened, I literally flew through the pages again. Then that started decreasing again, slower and slower, before picking up once more.
I liked the change in pace, but sometimes it was just too slow and it made me enjoy the novel less.
I loved Annabel Fielding’s writing in A Pearl for my Mistress and I loved the characters – even when they were frustrating me a little, tiny bit – but the snail-like pace made me like this novel a little less. For this, I’m giving A Pearl for my Mistress 4 / 5!
As for the munches, I let Annabel decide! She went for the dainty afternoon tea with sandwiches, which fits perfectly with the Genteel Interbellum setting of her novel and is even mentioned in her prologue!
I received this eBook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion. I’m not being compensated in any way.
The picture of the high tea belongs to a friend and colleague of mine. I don’t claim any rights to this picture.
Annabel Fielding, having graduated from the University of Arts London with an MA in Public Relations, is a PR assistant by day and a novelist by night. Being a self-professed history geek, she dedicates her free time to obscure biographies, solo travel and tea. She also posts a mix of book reviews and travel photos on her blog at http://historygeekintown.com.