Title: Lady Maybe
Author: Julie Klassen
Publication Date: 2015
Marianna Mayfield is beautiful, spoiled, and conniving. Her husband, Sir John Mayfield, is moving his wife out of Bath to an undisclosed location in a last-ditch effort to separate her from her lover and retain some dignity to his family name. As Sir John has dismissed all the servants and staff, Marianna has no way to get information to Anthony so that they can be reunited. Hannah Rogers left Marianna’s employ suddenly months ago; when she arrives to request her final allowance, Marianna sees an opportunity. Pleading a “friendly face” on this new adventure, Marianna convinces Sir John to allow Hannah to accompany her as her traveling companion. Although Hannah is reticent about leaving Bath, she accepts the job.
As the carriage pushes through a storm to its new location, an unthinkable tragedy occurs. The carriage slips on the ice and crashes to the Channel below. Hannah is pulled underwater. When she regains consciousness, she learns the awful truth – both the coachman and Marianna Mayfield perished in the accident and Sir John is unconscious and uncertain to recover. Mr. and Mrs. Parrish, the caretakers at Clifton House in Devonshire, a home of Sir John’s, slowly nurse Hannah back to health and help her to gain back her strength and memory. Once Hannah’s health and lucidity return, she realizes the second awful truth – the Parrishs think that she is Lady Mayfield and it was her servant who was washed away. Struggling to find the opportunity to clarify the misunderstanding, Hannah can’t find the right way to rectify the situation. Even when Sir John regains consciousness and shows improvement, he makes no efforts to correct the mis-identification.
But the charade threatens to unravel when Sir John’s solicitor arrives. James Lowden has taken over Sir John’s accounts following his father’s death and has arrived at Clifton House to find a very different Mrs. Mayfield than the one that had been described to him. Hannah also fears for her infant son’s safety. As she sought work in Bath, she had to leave him at Mrs. Beech’s, a home-care orphanage. Because she was incapacity following the accident, she is desperate to regain custody of her son and find a way to ensure his future well-being. At the same time, she must also figure out why Sir John does not call her out on her fraud.
The cover of this Regency era novel suggested part Jane Eyre, part Downton Abbey, and part Wuthering Heights. A gothic style mystery full of romance, adventure, and mistaken identities, Lady Maybe was a very enjoyable read. Although the mystery aspect was rather predictable, there were a few plot twists and surprises that made the novel quite interesting. I enjoy a departure from a straight mystery now and then, and this book was a refreshing change.
I will say that the ending worked out a bit too neatly but it was a nice story and a relaxing period read.
Who might like this book:
Fans of the Regency era and any period drama will appreciate the social customs and restraints of the time period. Hannah and Sir John have some nice depth to their characterization and although not all the sub-plots were developed enough my taste, I highly enjoyed the primary story-line.