Monday, July 19, 2010

Deanne Gist's Maid to Match ~ Reviewed

By Deeanne Gist
Published by: Bethany House
363 Pages

Back Cover:

When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack's rugged behavior by tutoring him in the ways of refined society, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie's efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt's lady's maid. But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangled in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs...and their hearts.


Deanne hits another home run with Maid to Match. I was glad to receive a review copy. I loved the first line, “Like a butterfly breaking free from its confining cocoon, Tillie Reese emerged from the barren, tan-colored servants’ hall into the opulence of Biltmore’s main level.”

This author quickly whisked me into the Biltmore, where I wanted to know more about the Vanderbilts, their amazing home and what was required to become a lady's maid. My favorite thing about Deanne’s books is the fact that they are educational and captivating. This author goes to great lengths to masterfully craft historical details in every book she writes. I was immediately drawn into the unfamiliar world of 1898 with its class struggles, and was mesmerized by how a Mansion is run. It only took a few minutes to feel compassion for the hopes and dreams of her believable characters.

Deanne writes about strong women with conviction. Tillie is no exception; she has a deep faith in God and has her focus on the purpose for her life. She’s been groomed to be a lady’s maid and she will stop at nothing to achieve it. Tillie falters a little when she meets Mack and the chemistry between them unnerves her. Tillie’s mother has prayed hard for this opportunity. Could Tillie be seeking money and status over achieving the call God has for her life? Everything has lined up perfectly, hasn’t it? People were depending on her; she had to get this job to provide. So, why did she have this nagging unrest in her heart?

God has worked everything out—hasn’t he? She wonders and prays a hard prayer, “I’m listening, Lord. Call to me. Just like the sheep. Just like these animals that you called to the ark. Call to me and I will follow.”

I felt like I was actually there when Mack, a big, strong manly man, dressed in proper attire, tries to serve his first formal dinner with its many courses. I felt myself praying he didn’t spill anything or break a dish. I couldn’t believe how much food they ate and the manner in which it was supposed to be served and eaten.

I was amazed how the Vanderbilts lived and how they cared for their servants. I couldn’t believe what a lady’s maid was required to do for Mrs. Vanderbilt and her guests. It seemed too intimate to let someone else do these things for you. It definitely went against the "personal space" rule we have today. This book is going on my list of favorite picks for book club.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
The Book Club Network

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