The Lady's Maid
Laura M. Gateman was a freelance writer/photographer and author of Echoes of Bruce County, lived in Chesley, Ontario.
The Lady’s Maid isa light Canadian historical novel. The story begins in England in 1819 during the time of the industrial revolution. Sally Bates and her brother Rob are involved in disputes over poor working conditions in the mills. On a quiet Sunday in August the workers gather in Manchester to listen to union organizers. Before anyone can stop it, a battle begins that is later known as the Peterloo Massacre. Rob Bates is killed and Sally becomes a fugitive, running to escape the hangman’s noose, for her association with the dissidents.
Blaydon Dalby, aristocratic son of the mill owner, is shocked by the family’s business tactics. He recognizes Sally as the girl who worked as his mother’s maid and who nursed him back from war injuries. He helps her to escape.
Sally gets a position as a companion to the aged, eccentric, and wealthy Sarah Blanchard, who is on her way to Canada. The future appears to be secured. However, Sarah Blanchard dies before they reach Quebec.
With almost no funds, no friends, and a past that seems to be catching up with her, Sally Bates makes a drastic move to protect herself. She becomes Sally Blanchard. Since she has been well trained in the social graces, she is immediately accepted by the elite society of the frontier town of York. Taking advantage of the unsophisticated customs of Canada, Sally opens her own shop, where she is extremely successful. All is well until Blaydon Dalby appears on the scene and Sally faces being exposed as a lady’s maid.
Sally loves Blay but her chances of ever having him are minute. To top it all off, another associate of the past also turns up. He likes the way Sally lives and wants to become part of her life. In her struggle to do what is right Sally becomes caught up in a dangerous situation. An interesting twist of events takes place.
The authentic historical background material gives this novel a little more class than the average modern romance. A good light read.