• Gemma

The Servant by Maggie Richell-Davis

Updated: Dec 7, 2020




Young Hannah Hubert may be the granddaughter of a French merchant and the daughter of a Spitalfields silk weaver, but she has come down in the world.

Sent one spring day as maidservant to a disgraced aristocrat, she finds herself in a house full of mysteries - with a locked room and strange auctions being held behind closed doors.

As a servant, she has little power but - unknown to her employers - she can read. And it is only when she uses her education to uncover the secrets of the house, that she realises the peril she is in.

Hannah is unable to turn to the other servant, Peg, who is clearly terrified of their employers and keeps warning her to find alternative work.

But help might come from Thomas, the taciturn farmer delivering milk to the neighbourhood, or from Jack Twyford, a friendly young man apprenticed to his uncle’s bookselling business. Yet Thomas is still grieving for his late wife – and can she trust Jack, since his uncle is one of her master’s associates?

Hannah soon discovers damning evidence she cannot ignore.

She must act alone, but at what price?



I am a big fan of historical fiction novels especially when they are set in England. From the very beginning your heart goes out to Hannah who finds herself an orphan at the age of ten. Until that moment her world has been of a privileged one where she has been educated, learning to read and write. She suddenly finds herself in a poorhouse and then finds work as a housemaid in the Buttermere household. As Mrs Buttermere moves to York, Hannah finds herself working for a new family, the Chalkes. The house is very run down and not a patch on the Buttermere's house. Peg, a thin, dirty and crippled woman is the only other hired help in the house. Hannah makes it her mission to care for Peg and nourish her back to better health. The Chalkes are cruel and secretive and although Hannah has been warned by others to leave she is determined to unravel the strange goings-on in the house.

You immediately feel for Hannah, a child having the responsibility of serving two loathsome individuals. As you turn the pages Hannah's fate worsens and you wonder how she is going to survive. The twists in this book are shocking and heartbreaking all at the same time. Maggie Richell-Davies paints a very clear and bleak picture of the poorest, deprived areas of London during the Georgian period. She captures the hardships, harshness and feelings of powerless beautifully throughout her novel, provoking emotions making it utterly heartbreaking in places.

I adored Peg, Hannah and Nellie. These strong women through grit, determination and hard work are survivors. Although all alone in the world they reach out to one another, put their trust in each other, displaying both kindness and loyalty. Their friendship truly uplifted and balanced the novel as did the romantic element that weaved through.

A thoroughly enjoyable novel. Many thanks to Maggie Richell-Davis for gifting me a copy of The Servant in return for my honest review.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All