John Toogood always prided himself on being the perfect gentleman's gentleman: skilled, discreet, and professional. But now he finds himself laid off and blacklisted, stuck in tiny Lively St. Lemeston until he can find a new job. Any job.
His instant attraction to his happy-go-lucky maid Sukey Grimes couldn't come at a worse time. Her manners are provincial, her respect for authority nonexistent, and her outdated cleaning methods...well, the less said about them, the better.
Sukey can tell that John's impeccably impassive facade hides a lonely man with a gift for laughter-and kissing. But she also knows he'll leave her sleepy little town behind the moment he gets the chance, and she has no intention of giving him her heart to take with him.
John learns that the town vicar needs a butler-but the job is only for a respectable married man. Against both their better judgments, John and Sukey tie the knot. The ring isn't on her finger long before Sukey realizes she underestimated just how vexing being married to the boss can be...
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This may be the first time I've ever read historical romance about the working class, and I LOVED seeing that. Sukey in particular was a delight.
Featuring characters outside the mainstream and lots of humor. Recommended for fans of Carla Kelly and Eloisa James.
This is the third novel in the Lively St. Lemeston series and the first I've read (so I can tell you right off the bat that I've definitely added books one and two to my ever expanding to-be-read pile.) In a sea of dukes, duchesses, lords and ladies experiencing the highs and lows of the Season, there aren't many stories that go behind the scenes to the servant class who make things happen like clockwork. This story remedies that in a tidy, masterpiece theatre worthy way. Indeed, if you are a fan of Downton Abbey, this story should definitely get on your list. John Toogood is a 'gentleman's gentleman' as the saying goes, an experienced bachelor valet who has been let go due to ill feelings with his former employer's mother (who couldn't understand how John didn't tell her that her son was headed down an unsuitable marriage path). Out of work and blacklisted, a possible solution comes up when he finds out that a local Vicar is looking for someone to take over as butler for his small household. The only problem is that the Vicar requires a married couple. Meeting Sukey, the local maid who has the part time responsibility for cleaning his current room at his boarding house seems like a godsend, especially when she herself has a falling out with her employer and dreads going back to live with her mother and finding yet another position. At John's request to consider a marriage of convenience, Sukey decides that while their friendship is new, it's enough to form this partnership and agrees, and thus they find themselves newly employed and newly married. In the world of the servant class though, John is an upstairs man while Sukey is only a downstairs maid. As they struggle to find their footing in the new job and with each other, can the attraction that is between them lead to trust and ultimately love? I think what interested me so much about this was that despite the struggles of the lower classes (and there are many), they still had time for meaningful relationships. I'm definitely glad that I didn't live in this day and age, because the day to day struggles are not glossed over here, and the life of a lower maid, like Sukey, isn't easy. Nor is it for John, especially as he goes from being valet to one man, to running a household, something he never envisioned himself doing. Though his father has run a household and John learned everything he knows about it from him, he never had any desire to take over his father's place. Part of the conflict in the story is that expectation and the relationship John has with his parents. But what John does discover is that running a household, as he ends up doing for the Vicar, is made much easier when the staff are willing to work as a team - and when he can turn to his new wife for comfort in the resting hours. So while this story is a romance for sure, with some sexy scenes between Sukey and John, it's like peaking in the window of what it must have like to live in those times. The setting is described vividly, from the dress to the mannerisms to the 'behind the scenes' look at the running of a house. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I'm definitely looking forward to catching up on the series, and hoping for more to come.