Tilly Reese was raised to become a Lady’s Maid – the highest position a woman could reach professionally, other than Housekeeper. Tilly's mother spent many years and many resources training her to one day be able to be chosen as Lady’s Maid for some wealthy lady. The position would secure a life of comfort, travel and a significant salary increase, meaning Tilly would be able to help provide for her family. When Tilly is placed on a shortlist to become Lady’s Maid for the wealthy Mrs Vanderbilt, her mother is ecstatic even though becoming a Lady’s Maid would mean giving up the possibility of marriage and motherhood. For 18 year old Tilly this is a sacrifice she is willing to make… until she meets Mack Danver.
Mack Danver is a mountain man forced to place his younger siblings with foster families when he can no longer financially afford to raise them himself. His only sister, however, is sent to an orphanage in North Carolina instead of a foster family. When Mack suspects the children at the orphanage are being abused, he needs to raise funds quickly in order to get Ora Lou out of the orphanage and set her up on her own. His twin brother is also employed at the Biltmore Estate, as footman. When Mrs Vanderbilt realizes that the handsome Earl Danver has a handsome twin brother, she jumps at the chance to offer him a position at the estate - not superficial at all, but handsome twins in one’s service is quite the coupe de grace for the wealthy.
A position at the Biltmore Estate comes with a very attractive salary, and eager to get Ora Lou out of the orphanage Mack accepts the offer intending to leave the estate and head back to his beloved mountains as soon as he can. Then he meets Tilly Reese. Mack and Tilly are instantly drawn to one another. While Mack makes no secret of his intentions, Tilly fights their attraction every step of the way. She knows she can’t be distracted by a man so close to accomplishing her goal of becoming a Lady’s Maid. Tilly even goes out of her way to avoid Mack, but then she is enlisted to tame his wild ways and coach him in proper servant etiquette. Forced to spend time together, and then jointly discovering a hideous scandal at the town orphanage, Tilly and Mack’s romance blooms in spite of Tilly’s efforts to keep him at arm’s length.
When his goal is within reach and Mack’s time at Biltmore Estate draws to a close, with the realization of Tilly’s lifelong dream close enough to touch, her mother’s dreams resting heavily on her shoulders, can Mack and Tilly find a way to be together, or will the realities of life push them apart?
Maid to Match is another gem in the Deeanne Gist collection. I was hooked in the first chapter, and kept reading faster and faster to discover what happens next, and to reach the point where Tilly finally stops fighting her feelings for Mack. The tension in their relationship was perfectly paced and beautifully done.
The complications Tilly and Mack face are believable, and even though you as reader believe that Tilly and Mack will eventually find their happily ever after, the obstacles they face are so real that you can’t help but fear that life might get in the way. A suspenseful romance is always fun to read, because the moments of happiness and joy are that much more precious.
Deeanne Gist is quite simply a master of romance. Her books are all lovely, sweet, funny, feel-good, grab-you-by-the-heart-reads. Her characters are real, deep, emotionally driven and her plot lines are flawlessly built on foundations of faith. What’s not to love? Maid to Match is a must read for all romantics and history lovers alike!
Title: Maid To Match
Author: Deeanne Gist
Number of pages: 368
Publisher: Bethany House
One of the reasons I was able to enjoy a story about servants, is that I adored the Vanderbilts, the Master and Mistress of the Biltmore Estate. They are such kind and loving characters, and treat their staff with respect. You can imagine my joy at discovering in the author’s note that George and Edith Vanderbilt truly existed! As did their gorgeous estate in Asheville, North Carolina! This Estate is still in the Vanderbilt family, and is still the largest, privately owned home in America.
What a breathtakingly beautiful Estate! Can you imagine living there?! What made the Vanderbilts so extraordinary is the fact that when George Vanderbilt built his estate, he took extra care to also prepare lovely servant quarters, unheard of at the time! The Vanderbilt’s servants had windows, electricity, central heating and running water. He also bought brand new furniture for his servants. George and Edith were truly ahead of their time in their treatment of their servants, and in Maid to Match one gets a glimpse of their extraordinary lives.
|George & Edith Vanderbilt 1912|
I love when the lines of fact and fiction meet, and no author does it better than Deeanne Gist.