The Red Review

So Many Books… So Little Time!

by Rachel Fordham

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“I believe if you love him, and I know you do, then you choose not to worry. You wake up each day and embrace your own story. And whatever the day holds, you make it wonderful. And the bad days you laugh about and put behind you. Besides, if you only ever dream, you’ll always wonder, and I can’t imagine that is a better way to live. Love the life you’re given. There will be long days and hard days and days when you both wonder how you’ll ever come together and be one. But those day will only make the other days more magical.”

A Lady in Attendance

Rachel Fordham has quickly become a favorite of mine. After reading A Life Once Dreamed, I knew that any book written by her would be an instant buy. No thought required. A Lady in Attendance only solidified her in my mind as a must read author.

Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel’s real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’s lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all.

As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can’t help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities?

Rachel Fordham pens a tender tale of a soft-spoken man, a hardened woman, and the friends that stand by them as they work toward a common purpose–to expunge the record of someone society deemed beyond saving–and perhaps find love along the way.

The best way to describe her books is unique.

The depth of characters, the secretive way she unfolds information, and a profound level of hope are distinct and a complete pleasure. It is only halfway through the story that you begin to glimpse the protagonist’s history. I always find myself saying just one more page because I hungrily await each new detail of her past.

To that effect, Hazel is no exception. We know that she spent 5 years in a reformatory, but do not know the reason until at least halfway through the book, but trust me that it is worth the wait. I almost appreciate not knowing at first, because I get to know her as who she is now, rather than who she used to be. It also helped bond the reader to Gilbert as he doesn’t know the real reason she holds back either. 

Furthermore, the story takes place in a dentist office in 1898, a time in which I honestly didn’t even think about dentist work, even though a good portion of the books I read take place during this era. I never considered what happened to those that had cavities, lost teeth, or broke a tooth. I really appreciated learning more about the science of the job, but also the beauty and the hope it brings.

Also, true to what I have experienced with Rachel’s previous writings, not only did I love the main characters, but also the secondary characters. I found much hope and excitement about the blooming love between other characters that I almost felt like this wasn’t just a story about Hazel and Gilbert but also of Ina and Duncan. 

Lastly, even though the characters have experienced great pain and heartache, the story leaves you full of joy and hope. A smile on my face up even though I had finished reading (which is always a sad moment for me!). 

Not only is Rachel a wonderful writer, but also woman. Go check out her instagram and feel inspired! 

I was given a free copy of the book, but the opinions in this review are completely my own.

The Red Review: ❤️❤️❤️❤️

***4 Hearts: Compelling Characters, Well-Written, Interesting Storyline (.5), Unable to Stop (.5)

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