Maid to Match was the second Deeanne Gist novel I had read. As I had stated in my review for Gist’s novel, Bride in the Bargain, Gist’s books made a historical romance fan out of me. She is an excellent and engaging writer. Gist really does her research and it certainly shows in her books. I enjoy reading her Author’s note and Acknowledgements sections in her novels. They are engaging and enlightening. They give us insight on how much work and research goes into writing a historical novel. Maid to Match takes us to Biltmore Estate near Ashville, North Carolina. It’s the August of 1898. Tillie Reese is Head Pallor Maid at the Biltmore Castle and her chance to become Lady's Maid has just come in to view. Her mother trained her to be a Lady’s Maid, so she could travel the world and live a more exciting life. Tillie wasn’t going to let anything stop her from finally accomplishing her goal and her mother’s dream. Enter Mack Danvers, the handsome mountain man.
Mack Danvers is as handsome as he is big. He’s a strong mountain man who came out of the hills to work for the Vanderbilts. Mack loves living in the mountains and his space. He doesn’t like feeling closed in. The only reason Mack leaves his precious mountains to work at an estate is to earn enough money to bring his siblings back home and under one roof. Once he has earned enough, he has no intention of sticking around. That of course changes when Mack first sees Tillie. Mack falls for Tillie immediately! But it takes him a while to get Tillie to admit she has feelings for him. Tillie, not wanting to jeopardize her chances at winning the Lady’s Maid position, tries to keep her distance. Unfortunately those efforts are spoiled when Tillie is put in charge of training Mack. There’s no denying the chemistry and feelings between the two of them, but it does take some time for Tillie to come to terms with her feelings for Mack and what they mean…. giving up her goal of becoming a Lady’s Maid. There are a lot of twists and turns in this story (that I won’t give away), but the end result is wonderful!
I really loved Mack’s character straight off. He’s big, strong, and independent. But he also has a soft, loving side. He proves that he’s willing to make sacrifices for those he cares about. Tillie’s character was fiercely independent and a bit stubborn at times. But she was so driven and her heart was in the right place. I loved the chemistry between the two of them. There was definitely sexual tension and physical awareness, but it never crossed the line into obscene or dirty. It was written very innocently. This is a clean romance novel that is classified as Christian. There is definitely an overall Christian feel to the storyline, but not in an in-your-face kind of way (for those who aren’t Christian and are worried about it). I found it absolutely fascinating to learn about the workings of a mansion and the class struggles. This novel was like an extremely enjoyable history lesson. This was such a great love story! It’s one I’ll be reading over and over again.
***I’d like to note that Gist has a talent for writing really appealing male characters! ;) ***
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Liz Austin. Born and raised in Upstate NY. Bibliophile. Writer. I would rather be reading....