Sep. 1st, 2015

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Miss Million's Maid, by Bertha Ruck (AKA Ms. Oliver Onions) (1915)
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SUMMARY: Beatrice is one of what she calls the nouveau-pauvre class. Descended from an old, titled English family: her great-grandmother was Lady Lovelace, whose Wateau portrait adorns in the shabby flat that Beatrice lives in with her class conscious Aunt Anastasia, who will not let Beatrice associate with any of the neighbors because they are 'better' than their circumstance. Beatrice's only friend to speak of is their maid-of-all-work, Nellie Million. When Nellie inherits a fortune from an Uncle in America, becoming a millionairess overnight, Beatrice installs herself as Nellie's maid to help her befuddled, Cockney-accented former maid navigate the unfamiliar waters of the moneyed classes. It's a fish out of water story on both sides: With her accent, her red, chapped hands and the garish dresses (like a certain 'cerise one') Nellie chooses when Beatrice can't prevent her, Nellie doesn't seem like anyone's idea of an Heiress. And despite the neat and trim black and white maid's uniform she enthusiastically done,Beatrice is no one's idea of a maid with her cultured accent and poise. No sooner have the girls installed themselves with several expensive (and empty) suitcases into a suite at a fancy hotel, than Beatrice has her work cut out for her trying keep Nellie from falling for the Honorable James Burke,a dashing fortune hunter with a penniless castle in Ireland and a devastatingly charming smile. Add to that the mild-mannered bank manager who asks Beatrice to marry her, and Nellie's American cousin Hiram P. Jessup who's come to contest Nellie's claim to the money (or possibly share it through marriage), a lost Diamond and a whole house full of thespians and comedienne's including the flamboyant Vi Vassity, and things are bound to get interesting!

I really, really enjoyed this. I loved the chatty first person narrative, the tongue in cheek humor, the relationship between Nellie and Beatrice, and all the love interests. The end took a serious turn a bit quickly, but it also resolved it just as quickly, so I didn't mind very much.


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