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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: The Lady's Maid (Prairie Dreams) by Susan Page Davis

This is an entertaining story of two British women joining a wagon train across the United States.
The Lady's Maid (Prairie Dreams)
by Susan Page Davis

  • Series: Prairie Dreams (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc. (October 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 161626439X
  • Genre:  Historical Romance, Christian
  • My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Book Description
Publication Date: October 1, 2011
Travel along with Elise Finster and her British mistress, Lady Anne Stone, as they search for the new but missing earl of Stoneford. Determined to follow David Stone’s somewhat cold trail leading to Oregon, greenhorns Elise and Anne secure livestock and supplies to join a wagon train. Will the ladies succeed in their quest or succumb to the malfeasance of the mysterious man dogging their heels? Scout Eb Bentley’s initial disgust with these ill-prepared women eventually turns into admiration for one lady in particular. Can he protect her long enough to win her over, or will prairie dreams turn into a Wild West nightmare?

Elise Finster was only sixteen when she entered domestic service as a parlor maid. Twenty-two years later she is dedicated as Lady’s Maid to twenty-year old Lady Anne, whose father has died. Lady Anne’s uncle, David Stone, is the next Earl and heir but he is in America and hasn’t been heard from for ten years. The estate remains in limbo and Lady Anne has no funds to support the family home. If there is proof that David is dead then the estate and title pass to a less friendly cousin.

Anne and Elise set off to America determined to find Uncle David.  They manage to overcome sickness during the ocean voyage, then travel by train from New York to St. Louis. Elise suspects there is a man following them but she can’t pin him down. Elise and Anne believe that David went west on a wagon train. They resolve to travel after him even though it is a totally alien world to them. They are already traveling as companions instead of Lady and servant so others will not mock them.

Elise and Anne meet Rob and Eb, the trail master and scout for the first wagon train heading west. The rule is that women cannot travel without a man to help them drive their team and do other chores. The ladies hire Thomas, a man who poses as one recommended by Eb but who has been spying on them for the man who followed them from New York. Eb is particularly unsure if Elise and Anne can make the trip but slowly they modify their attire and learn how to cope on the trail. They learn to cook and handle the team of mules under the protective eye of Rob and especially Eb, a widower, who has developed a quiet interest in Elise.

The story contains wonderful details of life on a wagon train and it was particularly interesting to have the British women as a focal point in that journey. The ladies show determination and grace in dealing with each new ‘adventure’, danger and obstacle they face. Elise finds herself in a personal dilemma as she is committed to her promise to help Anne find her Uncle but she has fallen for Eb and can’t help but wonder what it would be like to have a husband and home of her own. There is a bit of a mystery remaining at the conclusion of this book which leads to the second book in the series.

I enjoyed the old-fashioned nature of the story, including the protective attitudes of the men (fitting for the time period) and the support and friendships among the pioneer families. There is an underlying faith that helps different characters although the author also presents scenes that show how jealousy, anger and fear can twist men and women who proclaim to be Christian. The book is well researched and written. The book club ladies all agreed that it was an entertaining and easy read.

I purchased and read this for my Ladies’ Book Club for 8/2/14.
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  1. Susan has published over 40 books. Her long-time hobby is genealogy and some of her ancestors have inspired fictional characters.

  2. Interesting the author grew up on a small farm


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