Review: Aspirations of a Lady's Maid by Eva Shepherd

Print Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Historical (July 21, 2020)

From  Separated by class

Brought together by passionHaving finally fulfilled her dream of opening a hairdressing parlor, Nellie Regan has no interest in love ruining her plans. After Nellie is caught mocking landowner Dominic Lockhart’s lifeless engagement to Lady Cecily, she’s not expecting him to defend her in a tavern brawl. Now the frustratingly handsome gentleman must recuperate in her home! Close quarters stir simmering attraction…but Nellie’s determined to follow her head, not her heart. Is Dominic willing to do the same?


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Unfortunately what started off as an interesting premise, quickly became repetitive, and to put it bluntly, boring. The first time these characters meet, Nellie is doing a rather insulting impression of himself and his fiancé. And for the next several passages all we get to hear about it how Nellie refuses to be "reprimanded" because she is no longer a servant, and how Dominic ought to "reprimand her for being impertinent". The poor man only wants to ask her, at the request of his sister if she will do her hair at his ball, but of course, Nellie believing herself about to be "reprimanded" refuses to talk to him.  He goes so far as to follow her to London in an attempt to speak with her there about hiring her services, but not only does she force him to wait all day, but she then only agrees to meet with him in a crowded public room (and even there instead of allowing him to speak with her she does everything but as she assumes she is so important that he traveled all the way to London and sought her out just to dun dun dun .... reprimand her). Seriously. Her puffed-up sense of self-importance is astonishing. 

Because of her ill manners in not just speaking with him earlier in the day, he ends up coming to her rescue when a drunken patron accosts her. Only to then be beaten for his troubles. Left with no other choice, she takes him to her home to recuperate. Where that night she steals a kiss from him while he sleeps and sleeps next to him in her bed after he falls asleep. I guess she doesn't hate him as much as she thinks she does? Then the next morning she catches him looking "lustfully" at her while she stands there in nothing but her shift. Normally, such things would be mentioned and forgotten, but oh no. Throughout the novel, we are reminded over and over about how she stole a kiss and she caught him watching her wash the next morning. *yawn*

While we do occasionally get glimpses of some fun between the pair, and a flash here and there of chemistry lurking underneath everything else, these two people are both so snobbish that I don't ever believe in that romantic attraction. Then, of course, there is the tiny little matter of Dominic already being engaged to someone else. Anyway, feeling guilty for being the reason for his pain and suffering Nellie agrees to travel to his country estate and do his sister's hair for his upcoming ball. And everything goes more or less according to plan. 

Until that is, Dominic goes off in search of his wayward fiancé (and seriously how he did not think anything was amiss with her constantly disappearing is beyond me) and finds Nellie instead. A few passionate kisses later, and his hand is up her skirt. They very nearly have sex right there on his desk his fiancé be damned - that is until Nellie opens her eyes and realizes they have just been caught by said fiancé. 

The usual amount of angst and drama ensues that I will spare you from as it contains some pretty interesting spoilers. Needless to say, Dominic finds himself suddenly single and comes to the realization that he loves Nellie. So off he goes to London to propose to her. Well, actually he goes to tell her like the pompous ass he is that he has decided he will throw away any chance of advancing himself and his family in society in order to marry her. Oh, and he'll take her away from her job that she loves and she can sit in his house and never work again. And, as this author seems to like to do, he repeats over and over again how he's the one making all the sacrifices by giving up the chance for advancement (and here I thought that was typically the females doing). 

More drama and angst ensues until these two realize that that are both acting like pompous, snobbish jerks (and are in that aspect at least perfectly matched for one another). From there we are shown just how different their love is (and when they fell in love I just don't know even though they try to explain it) when we are shown how remarkably different their engagement ball is from the one between Dominic and his former betrothed. 

As you can see, there were many reasons why this story just didn't gel for me, but I'm sure there will be others who enjoy it immensely. I would give this author and this series another shot as I did get glimpses of a stronger story that unfortunately got buried.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                       Aspirations of a Lady's Maid is available from

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