Lady Maybe: A Novel. Julie Klassen. Penguin Group (USA). July 2015. 400 pp. ISBN#: 9780425282076.
Marianna and her husband, Sir John, are moving because of Marianna’s infidelity. So he is a very, very angry man but is determined to save his marriage by removing her from temptation. Marianna’s only comfort is that her former companion or servant agrees to travel with them. Chaos erupts, however, when they are in a terrible accident where their carriage turns over and over off a road.
The next thing we know is that Hannah awakens in a strange bed, learns that Sir John has been seriously injured and is lying unconscious in the same house and Marianna is assumed to have drowned in the water near where they fell. At first Hannah doesn’t remember much and is uncomfortable with the delicate and caring attention she is getting from the doctor and other servants in what is obviously Sir John’s home.
This then is the story of a woman who at first allows everyone to think she is Marianna and that Hannah died. But Hannah’s vague memories of a baby compel her to escape from this false identity she has assumed through her silence. How this novel evolves is stunning!
A solicitor (lawyer) is highly suspicious of Hannah and even challenges Sir John multiple times, in literal and legal ways. Another woman, a former lover, someone who abducts children for financial gain, and so many other characters appear and turn the basic story upside down in a delightful way. It’s a mystery as well as a romance story that keeps the reader wanting to know more about these so-called members of the aristocracy and those beneath them.
Julie Klassen knows her time period as well and has given a Gothic and historic romance to readers who will be more than pleased at this story that reads like a true classic Regency novel. Finely written, Julie Klassen!