Her Mother’s Daughter is the second in series of Maids of Kent by Evie Grace. It comes after ‘Half of A Six Pense’ and before ‘A place to Call A Home’.
The story is set in the middle of the 18th century with the main events taking place between 1853 and 1859.
It’s genre is Victorian Saga
Mrs Berry-Clay of Windmarch Court has issue with her nerves and spends her days indoors. She has always wanted a child – a boy who would carry on with the family brewery business after Mr Berry-Clay. When the awaited heir is taking too long, Mrs Berry-Clay, becomes worried. Her loving husband in the bid to please her goes to the workhouse and adopts the child of a poor single woman. The adopted child is Agnes, Agnes Berry-Clay.
Later on, Mrs Berry-Clay gets what she wants, her son Henry comes along. When Henry arrives, he becomes the centre of attention. Agnes is pushed aside. Nevertheless, her Papa ( Mr Berry – Clay) gives her the same nice treatment.
Before her 19th birthday, Agnes’s real mother comes into the picture. It comes as a shock. The only mother she has ever known is Mrs Berry-Clay of Windmarsh Court.
Her real problem begins when Papa passes away a short while after her 19th birthday. Mama ( Mrs Berry-Clay) plans to marry her off to Philip, her cousin.
With the help of her governess, Nanny, Agnes secures a job at Roper House as a governess of two difficult girls, Charlotte and Elizabeth. Life at the Roper doesn’t go as expected but Agnes would rather suck it all up and stay than to go back to WindMarsh Court and back to a protected, restricted life.
Agnes falls in love with Felix, the Faraday’s heir and brother to the two sisters she is supposed to be governing. Felix is full of promises and Agnes trusts him too much.
Every of her secrets gets to Mrs Faraday of Roper House, and she has to face the consequences. She is thrown out of Roper House and left with no choice but to walk the difficult path to Canterbury. Nanny’s uncle is supposed to be living there with his grandchildren, Oliver and Temperance. She has met them a couple of times when she visited with Nanny from Windmarsh Court.
There, Agnes is determined to hide her shame including her swelling mid-section. She joins the struggle in the poorest and dirtiest part of the town where she gets to see the other side of life, a life she is not used to, , a life of dirth and daily struggle for survival.
Portrayed in the story time frame:
– Gender Inequality
While boys went off to school, girls were homeschooled.
While wealthy men went about their businesses to take care of the family expenses, women were homebound to take of their family for there lies her honour and respect.
A girl’s life must be protected from the outside world. Their skins should not be touched by the sun lest it became darker and unappealing to worthy suitors.
The boys were the heirs while the girls were married off to relive their mother’s life.
– Class Segregation
There was huge gulf between the poor and the rich. The poor were forbidden to go near a wealthy family for any reason other than work. They attended different churches, markets, and lived in different parts of the town separated by large expanse of land.
It took time for me to get to the main plot, yet, it was hard to drop the book due to the way the minor events worked in a captivating, pleasing way to reveal the main event later in the story.
The book isn’t boring at all. It’s the kind of book you’ll like to finish before dropping it. It’s thrilling.
Point of view
The story came solely from Agnes’s point of view, leaving me in the dark regarding what happened in Windmarsh Court; to Mama, Philip and the rest, after Agnes ran away. I also wanted to know what happened in Roper house to Charlotte, Elizabeth and Felix when Agness left.
Things will not always go as the reader wants in a story. The writer has the pen and she has the right to write from any point of view.
The end was obvious as I was approaching it. This makes it a little laborious to read to the very end. The ending isn’t as good as the beginning and the middle. It took few pages and thereby turns out to be ‘sketchy’ and rushed.
‘Her Mother’s Daughter’ is a great read, not just to me but is listed among the Goodreads available on Amazon.