#BookReview - A Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding

A story of class, scandal and forbidden passions in the shadow of war. Perfect for fans of Iona Grey, Gill Paul and Downton Abbey.

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady's maid in a small aristocratic household.
Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.
Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital... and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society's most dangerous secrets...

The years leading up to the Second World War are one of my favourite periods to read about so I was delighted when Annabel Fielding contacted me to ask if I'd be interested in reviewing A Pearl for My Mistress. Many thanks to …

Book Review - The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse


With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…
This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?


The Idea of You is a departure from the usual books I read but I know Amanda Prowse has a devoted readership and the subject of this book is something I can identify with. I have three daughters now but have also had three miscarriages and having read some early reviews of The Idea of You knew that pregnancy loss was a main theme of the book so decided it was time to try something different.
Many people who read this book will also have first hand knowledge of pregnancy loss and so it's important to point out that the subject is sensitively handled. However, it's also (quite rightly) covered honestly, this isn't a book that deals in euphemisms when it comes to miscarriages. I believe this is entirely correct, despite being so common there still seems to be a stigma surrounding miscarriage so although this is a work of fiction I applaud the author for her open approach to the subject.
Although Lucy and Jonah's struggles to have a baby form the main thrust of the story, relationships are also an emotive theme. At first the couple seem to have an almost prefect marriage but various pressures soon end up putting their relationship under strain. I have to admit that at times I struggled to warm to the characters in the book. I had conflicting feelings about Lucy,she often seemed very naive for a successful business woman  and I found her inability to discuss her problems openly to be frustrating at times. This is addressed as the book progresses and I became more sympathetic towards her later in the story. Jonah, I felt in some ways was almost a peripheral character and after a promising beginning I found him somewhat self obsessed although again I did feel sympathy for him as the book progressed. I actually found the relationship between Lucy and her stepdaughter, Camille to be the most interesting part of the book and really enjoyed the ups and downs between the two as they struggle to understand one another. Their relationship actually felt more believable to me than Lucy and Jonah's marriage which seemed to be either too idealised or near to falling apart. 
The Idea of You is a warm and empathetic book that handles universal subjects with sensitivity and an honest clarity. I'm probably not quite a convert to family dramas but am very glad to have read it and can understand why so many people love Amanda Prowse's books.
Many thanks to the publishers for my copy received through Netgalley in return for this review.

The Idea of You is published by Lake Union Publishing.



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