Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Review: "A Lady in Attendance" by Rachel Fordham

Rachel Fordham is quickly becoming a name to watch in Christian historical fiction, and A Lady in Attendance might be her best book yet.

Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel's real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts's lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all.

As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can't help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities?

Rachel Fordham pens a tender tale of a soft-spoken man, a hardened woman, and the friends that stand by them as they work toward a common purpose--to expunge the record of someone society deemed beyond saving--and perhaps find love along the way.

A Lady in Attendance is such an enjoyable read! The plot and characters are unique (I mean, have you ever read a book where the hero was a dentist?), and the entire book ended up being nothing like I'd anticipated - in a very good way!

Some things I loved:

Gilbert. Need I say more? He is simply wonderful! 

Hazel's secret isn't drawn out for too long, and she tells about it on her own terms.

The "will they or won't they" doesn't drag through the whole book. Feelings are acknowledged fairly early on; the question of whether Gilbert and Hazel actually CAN be together continues, so there's still a little mystery to the romance.

The supporting characters are fantastic, especially Hazel's friend Ina.

The bulk of the story is about clearing Hazel's name so that she can return to her family, and she has a great crew of friends/frenemies (you'll see what I mean when you read the book) to help her. 

Fordham chooses to slowly reveal the truth of Hazel's past to the reader. I had made some assumptions that were way off, and Fordham's version turned out to be much better than I imagined. 

I've read other novels by Fordham in the past, and I thought they were enjoyable but not too memorable. But A Lady in Attendance is a book that I simply couldn't put down because I was so invested! It's definitely one of the best historical romances I've read this year. 5 stars. 

Buy the book. (Amazon ad)
Read my review of Fordham's
A Life Once Dreamed (3 stars).

Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children's bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.

Learn more about current projects at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell through the Revell Reads program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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