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Lady's Maidby Margaret Forster
Synopses & Reviews
Young and timid but full of sturdy good sense and awakening sophistication, Lily Wilson arrives in London in 1844, becoming a lady's maid to the fragile, housebound Elizabeth Barrett. Lily is quickly drawn to her mistress's gaiety and sharp intelligence, the power of her poetry, and her deep emotional need. It is a strange intimacy that will last sixteen years.
It is Lily who smuggles Miss Barrett out of the gloomy Wimpole Street house, witnesses her secret wedding to Robert Browning in an empty church, and flees with them to threadbare lodgings and the heat, light, and colors of Italy. As housekeeper, nursemaid, companion, and confidante, Lily is with Elizabeth in every crisis — birth, bereavement, travel, literary triumph. As her devotion turns almost to obsession, Lily forgets her own fleeting loneliness. But when Lily's own affairs take a dramatic turn, she comes to expect the loyalty from Elizabeth that she herself has always given.
"Absorbing....Heartbreaking....Forster paints a vivid picture of class, station, hypocrisy and survival in Victorian society.....Grips the reader's imagination on every page." San Francisco Chronicle
"Fascinating....The reader is treated to a revealing account of the passionate romance between Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning through the eyes of an intimate observer." Booklist
"Forster brilliantly explores the uneasy intimacy between mistress and servant, working-class girl and educated lady of leisure to produce a compelling character study and an engrossing novel of the colorful Browning menage." Library Journal
In Forster's historically authentic novel, Elizabeth Wilson, Elizabeth Barrett's maid and confidante, describes her daily experiences, her impressions of the large household and, especially, her sickly but charismatic mistress's relationship with Mr. Browning.
About the Author
Margaret Forster is the author of best-selling memoirs, Hidden Lives and Precious Lives, acclaimed biographies of Daphne du Maurier and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and of many successful novels, most recently The Memory Box.
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