The Servant is an historical fiction story set in London during the 1760s. The story was inspired by the author’s visit to London’s Foundling Hospital Museum.
This is Hannah’s story; she is a girl of fifteen employed as cook and housekeeper. Unusually taught to read and write by her previous employer, Hannah is able to detect possible illegal activities undertaken by her current employers. She is placed in terrible danger as she learns more, but what can one servant girl do? Who will listen to her accusations?
Although the subject matter was dark and disturbing, this was a well-written and interesting story; I immediately wanted to know more about Hannah. I read the first half of the book easily in one sitting. Poor women and young girls had so few opportunities to live better lives; I’m glad there was someone who gave Hannah hope. I would easily recommend this to historical fiction fans.
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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?