It’s always fun to go back through an author’s backlist and discover interesting stories. That’s part of what I’m doing in 2023 for a backlist reading challenge to check off (at least) 23 books from my TBR. Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen has been on my to-be-read list for a while, and I’ve been very curious about it because it’s a different publishing house (a gen market title vs her usual inspirational imprint). I listened to the audiobook of this one, and greatly enjoyed that format!
In the new novel by the three-time Christy Award-winning author of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, a woman’s startling secrets lead her into unexpected danger and romance in Regency England…
One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness…
Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie.
But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.
I wasn’t sure at first what to think about Lady Maybe! It’s unconventional in some ways, and a gen market departure for Klassen from her usual inspirational publisher (though the content is no different, other than a closed-door depiction of infidelity).
I did enjoy the audiobook, and as I’ve come to expect from a Klassen Regency story, it is all excellently told and described.
My review is in rather general terms because to share specific names and examples would spoil much of the story for the reader!
Sometimes I liked Hannah, the heroine, and admired her determination; at other times I was frustrated with her fickle choices and sometimes-deceit. Having read all of it and knowing the surprises, twists, and identities of certain characters, I do see why she justified her actions and why she was driven to make some of her choices.
A love triangle is not my preferred trope, but Klassen uses it here to spin the story in a unique way and to surprise the reader at a few turns. I’m happy with the way the love thread worked out, though I have to admit ambivalence at a certain point towards both potential heroes. Both were portrayed realistically with noble qualities, flaws, and prejudices, though I think one of them was a little more manipulative at times.
It is interesting to me how the significant themes of Lady Maybe are portrayed in oppsites, as in truth vs deceit, honor vs shame, and fidelity vs unfaithfulness. These characteristics and behaviors are shown with full consequences, both positive and negative. I think this is my favorite thing about the story, beyond any particular character or other story element.