At the mention of an arranged marriage, Elizabeth Caughley feels her life is over at the age of three and twenty…so she hatches an escape plan. She will reinvent herself as a housemaid. Overnight, Elizabeth becomes Lily – on the understanding if her attempt at independence fails, she will return home and marry a man of her parents’ choosing. Viscount Westrop will ensure his legacy is passed to his own son one day. Even though he feels insurmountable pity for the unborn child already, he knows how much pain a broken promise can cause and will do what is right. But with the arrival of his new housemaid, his plans are thrown into disarray. Lily is funny and feisty and the most beautiful creature on earth – Andrew is thunderstruck. But if anyone suspects how much he wants to ravish her and endlessly love her, Andrew’s lineage will undoubtedly be in peril.
Review: The Arrival of Lily Curtis is a reasonably enjoyable historical romance despite it being not overly memorable.
The plot was interesting, though not complex, and mostly well executed; it was quite a pleasant surprise that the novel still managed to hold its readers’ attentions despite the fact that it lacked any form of plot twists or surprise revelations. However, it was perhaps a tad unbelievable that Lily would manage to complete all tasks of a servant to such perfection as they were completed, with the exception of the first night’s incident, considering her entire life had previously been spent as a well born lady. It would have been more plausible if she had difficulties or at least occasionally complained internally about completing some of the more menial chores she was set. The other issue with the plot was that there was no real resolution to some issues that had previously been deemed important and were then neglected to reach the intended conclusion. A prime example of this occurring would be the situation with Lady Tasmin as Lily fretted constantly over the impossibility of a desirable solution and then proceeded to forget about Lady Tasmin in the final chapter.
The main characters were likable and enjoyable to read about; in fact the best component of this novel would doubtlessly be the witty interplays between Andrew and Lily. There was also a nice cast of secondary characters that could have contributed a lot more to the story had they been fleshed out further; instead they seemed a bit one-dimensional at times.
A major flaw of the novel was that there were, unfortunately, too many discussions where the same points and virtually the same words were repeated; this made what was otherwise a well paced novel feel dragged out for the last one-thirds of the chapters.
Overall, despite its flaws The Arrival of Lily Curtis was a nice foray into historical England that lacked the generic feeling that numerous novels set in the era have.