Cover image for Lady's maid
Lady's maid
Forster, Margaret, 1938-2016.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, 1991.
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Central Library FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Grand Island Library FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order


Author Notes

Margaret Forster was born in Carlisle, England on May 25, 1938. She read history at Somerville College, Oxford. Before her writing career took off, she was a teacher at a girls' school. She is the author of over 40 books of fiction and non-fiction. Her novel include Mother, Can You Hear Me?, Have the Men Had Enough?, Lady's Maid, Private Papers, Diary of an Ordinary Woman, Over, Isa and May, The Unknown Bridesmaid, and How to Measure a Cow. Georgy Girl, published in 1965, was made into a film starring Lynn Redgrave in 1966.

She has written several memoirs including Hidden Lives, Precious Lives, and My Life in Houses. Her biography Elizabeth Barrett Browning won the Heinemann award and her 1993 biography of Daphne du Maurier won the Fawcett book prize and was filmed for the BBC as Daphne in 2007. She also wrote a history of feminism entitled Significant Sisters in 1984. She died of cancer on February 8, 2016 at the age of 77.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The author of the acclaimed biography Elizabeth Barrett Browning invents an equally fascinating portrait of Elizabeth ("Lily") Wilson, lady's maid to the invalid poet. The reader is treated to a revealing account of the passionate romance between Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning through the eyes of an intimate observer. Though instrumental in their legendary elopement and in the establishment of the Browning household in Italy, Wilson is undervalued and underpaid by her celebrated employers. Self-absorbed and often insensitive, the Brownings exhibit the callousness of their class in regard to their servants. When Lily becomes pregnant, the Brownings refuse to accommodate her baby into their home, virtually compelling her to abandon her son shortly after his birth. Suffering the conflicts of loyalty and bitterness, Wilson nevertheless remains devoted until the death of her mistress. An authentic representation of the subordinate role of both privileged and impoverished women in Victorian society and a sterling example of historical fiction. ~--Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Elizabeth Wilson, maid to Elizabeth Barrett, witnesses with ambivalence her sickly but charismatic mistress's affair with Robert Browning. This example of top-drawer historical fiction was a BOMC main selection in cloth. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Until Wilson appeared, it seemed impossible to the agonizingly sensitive and delicate Elizabeth Barrett that anyone could replace the beloved Crow, who had deserted her mistress to marry a baker. As retiring as her new mistress and adept at ministering to the sick, the new maid soon establishes herself as the invalid poetess's defender and companion, even accompanying her in her elopement with Robert Browning. Thus begins an intense relationship that is to become the burden and support of each of their lives. Forster brilliantly explores the uneasy intimacy between mistress and servant, working-class girl and educated lady of leisure to produce a compelling character study and an engrossing novel of the colorful Browning menage. This London Times best seller is highly recommended. --Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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