Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Ambassador International provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
Well, Rebecca, wave good-bye to your name, your own will and desires; you are now a nobody, paid to work but not to think.
Such are one young woman’s thoughts as she enters a new life as a housemaid at Barton Manor in Rebecca Stubbs: The Vicar’s Daughter by author Hannah Buckland.
As I’ve encountered a number of stories set in historical England and told from the point of view of the rather privileged, with servants only in the background, it was a pleasure to read a novel from the view of a servant herself during the Victorian period. The author illustrates interesting points regarding the contempt held between different classes of people who actually depend on each other, and the heroine ponders whether it’s right for her to question her place in society, in light of her faith. Faith, theology, and salvation are indeed major themes throughout the novel.
Though I found Rebecca’s journey to be relatable and interesting on the whole, I would’ve liked to see more dialogue in the story. Since Rebecca rarely draws the reader directly in to hear the interaction unfold in her relationships, those relationships tend to feel more summarized than realized. The use of dialogue does pick up at almost the very end of the book, but more key conversations between Rebecca and the important people in her life would’ve added greater dimension to the characters and variety to the flow of Rebecca’s steady narration, helping more scenes to stand out.
Also, it seems that a few significant trials of Rebecca’s faith are summarized and quickly resolved in a couple paragraphs before they’re fully developed or believable. The overall resolution to the story begins and finishes rather quickly as well, before some new characters have much chance to round out into anything less than perfect people.
Still, the novel brings to light the tension between contentment and the desire for more in life, and the message of God’s care shines through.
The Lord has many ways of being kind to us; some are strange, but all are effective.