Blog Tour and Book Review: Rags-to-Riches Wife by Catherine Tinley
To wedded Lady?
Lady’s maid Jane Bailey’s life is turned upside down by the arrival of wealthy gentleman Robert Kendal. He’s come to take Jane to visit her long-lost, aristocratic grandfather. Travelling together, they succumb to a mutual attraction. Yet Jane knows a maid should not hope to love a gentleman, even if she’s suddenly wearing silk dresses and dining with the Family. Society decrees they cannot marry, but how long can Jane deny her heart?
A thoroughly enjoyable Regency romance which does a really deep dive into the gulf between the gentry and the servant class in the era. Lady’s maid Jane Bailey knows her father was disowned by his family when he married her mother, but when a mysterious stranger comes to visit her employer and requests Jane accompany him to Yorkshire to meet the grandfather she’s never met, her curiosity makes it inevitable that she go.
The setup between Jane and Robert is obvious from the beginning… to everyone except the two of them, and it comes as an ugly shock when Jane’s grandfather’s will is read and their joint inheritance is conditional upon a marriage between them. Robert reacts particularly badly, having been the subject of a great many of the old man’s manipulations over the years, but to his credit he’s mainly angry on Jane’s behalf, because she realistically has much less choice in the matter than he does. He’ll still be perfectly comfortable even if he doesn’t inherit; she will not.
The examination of Jane literally living out a Cinderella story is fascinating, not least because of how very uncomfortable Jane is, the discomfort caused in part by those around her not treating her terribly well but also because Jane has very set ideas about what her own place in the world is and from the very first, she’s pushed way outside of her comfort zone. She’s happy and fulfilled as personal lady’s maid to a countess who is obviously fond of her, and doesn’t ask for anything more from life. The glittering society world opening up to her is alien and intimidating, and were it not for Robert, I could absolutely see her walking away from it with a certain amount of relief.
This is a very interesting and unusual story despite the obvious Cinderella trope, because of these careful examinations of the class structure of the era through the eyes of both Jane, who has a foot in both worlds, and Robert, who comes to a much greater awareness of what goes on below stairs as he gets to know Jane and understand what matters to her. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am delighted to award it a full five stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via Rachel’s Random Resources.
Author Bio –
Catherine Tinley is an award winning author who writes witty, heartwarming, Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, NHS management, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now works in Sure Start. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, and dog and can be reached at www.catherinetinley.com, as well as www.facebook.com/CatherineTinleyWriter and @CatherineTinley on twitter.
Social Media Links –
Giveaway - Three winners will each receive a signed copy of Rags to Riches Wife, plus a mystery book by another romance writer (two GB/Ireland, one international).
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