The Maid of Lindal Hall

Written by Katie Hutton
Review by Aidan K. Morrissey

At three years old, a scarred and scared Molly Dubber arrives to stay in the care of Annie and Robert McClure, along with other orphaned or abandoned children. With love, tenderness and familial bonding, Molly thrives at school. Sometimes bullied because of where she lives and having no parents, she determines, and succeeds, to be the best in her class. Annie wants Molly to stay on at school, but the Home’s Board of Guardians have different ideas, and she is obliged to go into service.

In 1933, Molly is sent to work at Lindal Hall, an eccentric house with an even more eccentric, war-damaged, owner. Molly is the last of a string of maids, because the owner’s odd behavior, and his obsessive love for his vast library of books, tends to drive them away. Working with the cook, Jepson, and the wonderfully scatty Agnes, Molly’s own love of books and caring nature succeed where others have failed. However, this would not be a Katie Hutton book if everything ran smoothly. A dark secret is revealed, and events unfold which put Molly’s future and the existence of those closest to her in mortal danger.

In my opinion, this is the best of Katie Hutton’s brilliant sequence. I hope to see more in the future. As always, characters are fully rounded, with their rough edges, failings and foibles developed carefully and skilfully. For people who love this form of historical, romantic drama (and even for those who don’t normally but want to see our writing craft at its finest) this book is a must. As the lovely Agnes might say, ‘That’s class, in’t?’