The Maid’s Courage
Ginny Thursday loses her mother and three siblings when a ferocious ‘flu epidemic sweeps through Nuneaton in the English Midlands in 1860. Her father, wild with grief, is in gaol after a drunken brawl. Charlie, her surviving brother, aged eight, is in an orphanage. Ginny is strong, resolute, nearly seventeen, a pretty girl with promise of striking black haired beauty.
The Maid’s Courage is a saga, and she has a quest: to rescue Charlie. After some bad experiences, she remembers her mother’s advice: go to Mrs Bronson, housekeeper of Lamp Hill Hall. It is a house of secrets. Ginny becomes companion to Diana, nearly eighteen, profoundly deaf, inexperienced, and vulnerable to fortune hunters. Ginny is glad to gain the trust of this unhappy girl. Mrs Bronson surely holds the key to many mysteries, but why has she so willingly, even thankfully, accepted Ginny into this wealthy household?
The novel is multi-viewpoint, but it is Ginny Thursday’s story. Sharp-witted but sympathetic and unfailingly honest, she is a forthright young woman who has suitors of her own, and she can tell a frank warm-hearted smile from an odious leer; she can take care of herself, but can she protect Diana? Lamp Hill Hall has its share of young men. Some are good but some are very bad indeed, possibly even murderous. Expert storytelling makes this novel gripping. Life promises to be good, only for grief and fear to confront the tragic family repeatedly.