published: 6th August 2019
A seductive thief
Lady’s maid Molly Wilkins is done with thieving—and cheating and stabbing and all the rest of it. She’s determined to keep her hands to herself, so she really shouldn’t be tempted to seduce her employer’s prim and proper companion, Alice. But how can she resist when Alice can’t seem to keep her eyes off Molly?
Finds her own heart
For the first time in her life, Alice Stapleton has absolutely nothing to do. The only thing that seems to occupy her thoughts is a lady’s maid with a sharp tongue and a beautiful mouth. Her determination to know Molly’s secrets has her behaving in ways she never imagined as she begins to fall for the impertinent woman.
Has been stolen
When an unwelcome specter from Alice’s past shows up unexpectedly at a house party, Molly volunteers to help the only way she knows how: with a little bit of mischief.
Galley provided by publisher
To be honest, I was put off this book on the first page when there was the following line:
Alice didn’t know how she was supposed to concentrate on her sewing – or whatever it was she was meant to be doing – when there was an ample bosom or a pert backside within reach at all moments.
That would be sexual harassment, Alice.
The book then goes on to establish Alice as meek and not at all likely to be the kind of person who does that, so why that line was in there, I don’t know. All it really served to do was put me off the characters and the book.
Because, although this book was less than 100 pages long, I still really needed to at least like the characters from the first page. And I didn’t. So I got bored. (Charlotte, you are so easily bored, you say. And yes, true, but it also doesn’t take that much for me not to be bored. Just some characters I actually like and a decent plot.)
The major sticking point between me and this novella, besides the boredom, was how off the pacing felt. The first chapter skips around a lot and it just felt like I’d been dumped into the middle of a longer story. And then when that finally settles, the book is over before it’s even properly started. I went from “I’ve read three chapters” to “wait, that’s the end??”.
There’s also not a whole lot of reason to actually want the characters to get together. One of the first things Alice does in the book is follow Molly home and imply she’s either stealing from her employer or sleeping around. And then proceeds to stutter a bit when Molly looks disapproving but never really apologises for her assumptions. So maybe it’s a little harsh to say I couldn’t really want them together, because by this point I’d already been put off, but ultimately, I never felt anything between them.
And also I really couldn’t stop thinking about how one of the characters is described as smelling like a person who had a job and a child and a purpose in life, not merely a vague infinity of breasts and hips and crooked grins. So they smell of baby vomit?