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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
There is drama at Maddington House – both upstairs and downstairs. Conspiracies, lies, secret loves, and betrayal. Edward Montague of the wealthy Montague family is reluctantly welcomed back after years spent in prison on the charge of poisoning his wife. He’s angry, but so is the rest of the Montague family. And the downstairs staff? Well, some have changed, as staff find other positions or leave the workforce to marry. It’s a complicated and tense setting for both staff and the wealthy family who hired them. Will it result in more tragedy? More intrigue? And who is next in line to be abused, mistreated, harassed, or pushed out?
Valerie Anne Hudson’s novel, Love, Lies, and Betrayal, is the second book in the Maids of Maddington series. Set in the early 1900s, the plot follows the lives of those who live upstairs, as told by those who live downstairs. Told in the first person narrative from the points of view of three downstairs maids, Aggie, Bessie, and Alice, each chapter is a new voice, and the chapter label identifies who is speaking. Lots of drama unfolds and the varying perspectives add different biases to the accounts being shared. Each maid has their own secret agenda: love, determination, and dreams of a better future. Alice, for example, aspires to have her own business and secretly keeps a notebook of posh vocabulary, often practicing the pronunciation when she thinks no one is listening. These three characters are well developed through their own voices, while their voices project the character developments of everyone else at Maddington House, both upstairs and downstairs. It’s a riveting drama that will hold readers' attention to the very end.