A Lady in Attendance
by Rachel Fordham
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian/Romance
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.
“A Lady in Attendance draws you in from the first page and leaves you captivated until the oh-so-romantic conclusion. A poignant and beautifully written story of faith, forgiveness, and the healing power of love.”–Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author
Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher for a Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (HFVBT) blog tour, the opinions below are my own.
How does a woman from money end up in a “House of Refuge,” serving a five-year sentence in 1893? Little is said in the prologue to the latest novel by Rachel Fordham, except that Hazel was accused of burglary, and then the action swiftly moves to the end of her time in custody and her meeting with Doctor Watts. I knew the accusation would have to rear its head at some point, and would influence the climax of the story, but I wasn’t sure when. This is no run of the mill romance read, however, with Hazel’s past being the make or break of the relationship. There’s a huge element of suspense in the second half of the book, as Hazel seeks to clear her name and resolve another mystery about her past as well. Please note there is one scene of violence and several violent acts either mentioned in passing or described.
I thoroughly enjoyed A Lady in Attendance. Each character had an individual personality, including Gilbert’s patients. (Side note: I would’ve loved to have known what exactly made the one client, Alberta, tick. I’m sure there’s a backstory there to account for her attitude!) I loved the friendship element between Hazel and Gilbert. I was also pleasantly surprised by the book’s location. I had expected it to be either in Iowa or the Dakotas (the settings of Fordham’s earlier novels). Instead, it’s set in Amherst, NY known now as a suburb of Buffalo. Maybe I’m a little biased because of where I live, but I do like seeing novels set this side (the western side) of the state of New York.
Also, as a bonus, there’s an excerpt from Fordham’s upcoming novel at the end. It’s set in 1880s Iowa and is expected to be released in summer 2022.
About the Author
Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, October 11
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Tuesday, October 12
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Wednesday, October 13
Excerpt at I’m Into Books
Friday, October 15
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Saturday, October 16
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower
Monday, October 18
Review at Novels Alive
Tuesday, October 19
Excerpt at Heidi Reads
Thursday, October 21
Interview at The Book Club Network
Friday, October 22
Review at Ms. Darcy Reads
Monday, October 25
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Tuesday, October 26
Excerpt at Reading is My Remedy
Wednesday, October 27
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Thursday, October 28
Review at McCombs on Main
Friday, October 29
Excerpt at The Tea Queen
Monday, November 1
Review at Bookoholiccafe
Wednesday, November 3
Excerpt at Bookworlder
Friday, November 5
Review at Passages to the Past
Enter to win a copy of A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham!
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on November 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.