The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow. Olivia Newport. 2013. Revell. 320 pages.
"Kiss Henry for me."
Momentarily startled by hearing the words aloud, Charlotte Farrow glanced around, seeking assurance the moment was private.
Readers first met Charlotte Farrow in Olivia Newport's The Pursuit of Lucy Banning. In this second novel, Charlotte's story is told. The novel opens with Lucy and Will preparing to leave for their honeymoon. Charlotte, who is a maid in the Banning household, will miss her friend, but she will have plenty to do since she'll be training or helping to train a new maid, Sarah. Lucy has especially asked Charlotte to help Sarah keep her position until she returns that winter. It won't be an easy task for Sarah hasn't the inclination to be in service to others. Life becomes complicated when Charlotte's secret son, Henry, is left at the Banning house. The woman Lucy has been paying to keep her maid's son has had a family emergency. She can't take the baby with her and she has no idea when she'll be back in Chicago. Charlotte allows the other servants to think the baby is an abandoned baby. This is tough for Charlotte, of course, especially since Sarah the newest maid is appointed to be nanny. Charlotte has to watch a mindless seemingly heartless woman care for her son, or NOT care for her son as the case may be. Charlotte's life is not only emotionally complicated but physically exhausting: it seems she's to do the work of three maids now. (Her own tasks, the tasks Sarah would have done, and being a lady's maid to the Banning's house guest Emmaline.) And when she does have a moment to herself, well, Archie is there trying to woo her. But though she loves the wooing, she's worried that it will just be too hurtful in the end.
I definitely enjoyed The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow. I really liked Archie and Charlotte. I pitied Emmaline. I loathed Sarah. I would be interested in Emmaline's story or possibly Sarah's story. Can the author redeem Sarah and make me feel sympathetic towards her?
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible