Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Maidservant and the Murderer by Sam Thomas

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Personal Kindle Library
Read: January 4, 2014

On an autumn day in 1620, young Rebecca Hey rode into York in the back of a farmer’s wagon and started on the path that would eventually make her one of the most powerful women in the city. Rebecca was an ordinary country girl when she became John and Grace Hooke’s maidservant—a little light-fingered, perhaps, but never malicious. In the Hookes’ service, however, she finds herself caught between a vicious mistress and a rapacious master, with their quiet but kind son, Richard, the only benevolent face in view. In Samuel Thomas' e-original short story, Rebecca recounts her escape from this desperate situation, and bears witness to the choices that have turned her from a naïve young woman into the ruthless Rebecca Hooke. The question she would ask the reader is simple, “What else would you have had me do?”

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Antagonist. Otherwise known as an opponent, competitor, enemy or rival. In Sam Thomas' The Midwife's Tale, Rebecca Hooke is all of these to heroine Bridget Hodgson. Malevolent and self-serving, she seems a transparent adversary, but appearances can be deceiving.

In his latest novella, The Maidservant and the Murderer, Thomas  sheds light on Rebecca's troubled past, adding new depth to her character and illustrating the circumstances that molded her personality and effectively shaped the woman we see in Thomas' debut.

An illuminating short, I really enjoyed seeing a different side of this character and fervently hope Thomas' exploration of her early experiences mean we will be seeing more of her as Bridget's adventures continue. 

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I had always been a willful and contrary child, but now I felt my mischievousness turning to malice. I had not known this Rebecca when I was young, but welcomed her arrival, for she was well-suited for Mr. Hooke’s service.
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