About the Book
Book: A Lady in Attendance
Author: Rachel Fordham
Genre: Christian Historical
Release date: June 1, 2021
Will the Past Destroy Her Future?
Ada, Mi.—Rachel Fordham’s historical novels have received high praise for their warm and engaging story lines filled with romance, adventure, and happy endings. In A Lady in Attendance, Fordham beautifully blends these same great features in a novel about overcoming obstacles in the past to make room for a better future.
After spending the last five years in a New York state reformatory, Hazel is desperate to begin life anew, but she knows that a tarnished name could ruin her chances. She accepts a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’ lady in attendance but does so under an alias so she can hide her shameful past.
Dr. Watts has come to enjoy the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, but he senses her sadness and wonders if there is more to her story than she’s shared with him. As their friendship deepens, Hazel must grapple with her desire to trust him.
Can Dr. Watts and Hazel’s friends help expunge her record? And can Hazel possibly find hope and love along the way?
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About the Author
Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs, Yours Truly, Thomas, and A Life Once Dreamed. Fans expect stories with heart, and she delivers, diving deep into the human experience and tugging at reader emotions. She loves connecting with people, traveling to new places, and daydreaming about future projects that will have sigh-worthy endings and memorable characters. She is a busy mom, raising both biological and foster children (a cause she feels passionate about). She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.
More from Rachel
Ten behind the scenes extras from A Lady in Attendance:
- This book takes place in Amherst and Buffalo New York, places I lived for four years. Buffalo has had some rough years but if you ever visit the area you will see gorgeous old buildings, beautiful parks and cemeteries and understand why it was once a booming and prosperous city (and why I love it still). Gilbert and Hazel both grew up in the area (though, they did not know each other until the story begins). Two of my children were born in Buffalo and though they aren’t being raised there, I tell them stories.
- Hazel spent five years in a New York State reformatory. Reformatories were basically the first juvenile delinquent facilities (the ages of who could be sentenced there was different from today). Reformatories were a new idea. There were still a lot of people who believed in “bad blood” and that a criminal could never be anything but a criminal. There were some heroes who fought hard to convince the public, that people could change. Because of this book’s storyline, I could not go too deeply into this subject, but it is fascinating!
- Gilbert Watts is this book’s leading man. I gave up on being able to use the name Gilbert on one of my own kids and instead gave it to a character. I adore the name Gilbert and everything about this character, hope you do too!
- There is a joke at the end of the book about a graveyard (don’t worry, it’s not scary) and it’s a nod to my mom who used to use this joke on us every time we passed a cemetery. I really love sneaking in things into my stories that will make my kids, family and friends smile when they read it. I often think of my books as love letters from me to others and the best kind of love letters are personal.
- My husband is a dentist and as a result, we tend to notice dentist in media. They are often portrayed as villains or comic relief. I decided it would be my goal to write a romantic dentist that would change the image in readers minds.
- Gilbert tells Hazel that being a dentist is really being an artist. When my husband was first trying to decide on a career path, he shadowed a dentist. He didn’t really think it would be for him, but he was open to exploring options. He came home and told me that the cool thing about dentistry was that you were essentially making art that was functional, every day. Little sculptures that helped people eat and smile better. Gilbert from the book is very different from my husband, but it was fun sneaking in little pieces of him in there.
- One of my favorite scenes from this book take place at a corn husking. There is a tradition that says, if a red ear of corn is found, the finder gets a kiss. Sigh, I love that scene!
- Without always meaning to, my books end up having messages woven into them. I believe one of the messages in A Lady in Attendance is forgiveness. In this case, it’s forgiving of one’s self. I believe this message is one that we all need at some point in our lives (or many points!).
- My books are coming out in a different order than they were written in. I actually wrote this book before Yours Truly, Thomas and after A Life Once Dreamed. This story has been waiting a long time to be in print! During that time, it has been reshaped in little ways. It gained a prologue and lost an epilogue, it was tamed down in places and intensified in others, but the heart of it has always been the same!
- One last piece of A Lady in Attendance trivia—several of my books have had their titles changed. It’s part of the writing process. The books get a working title and later a title that the rest of the world knows it by. The Hope of Azure Springs was originally just Azure Springs. Yours Truly, Thomas was originally Dear, Azure Springs. A Life Once Dreamed was originally The Belle of Penance. A Lady in Attendance began as A Lady in Attendance and stayed A Lady in Attendance. Not only is this title fitting because dental assistants were knowns by this or as an attending lady, but also because Hazel wrestles with her worth. In a society that believes a mistake made once can leave a mark forever, it takes the right eyes and open heart to realize that there truly is a lady in attendance.
A Lady in Attendance is a Christian Historical (with some mystery written in) story that is written by Rachel Fordham. I started this book poolside while my family was visiting and could not put it down. This book is set in New York in 1893. Hazel has gone to the reformatory for a crime of burglary. You do not find out the full story right away about her crime. Once she is released she is not welcome back at her home. She has to start fresh so she gives a false last name and lands a job as a lady in attendance for a dentist named Gilbert.
Gilbert makes it very clear to her that he wants their relationship to be a working one only. He is very clear that he has no interest in love or anything of that sorts. They settle into a working partnership. They work well together and Hazel brings a new ambiance to the office. Gilbert's patients seem to really like her. (With the exception of one - who loves to lecture them about the two of them working together).
Hazel performs well at her job. She makes friends easily at the boarding house. Her housemate, Ina is another good strong character. Hazel carries around her past. She knows she is innocent. She wants to clear her name. Once she begins to trust Ina and Gilbert she tells her story. They want to help her clear her name. This is where the mystery comes in. I had fun putting all the clues together and trying to figure out who would have accused Hazel of burglary.
The author has done a great job with her research. I had no idea what being a dentist was like back in the late 1800's. I love the town that she has created. The characters are well written and likeable. They are real feeling. I was sad when the book ended.
I received a copy of this book through the Celebrate Lit blogging program, all thoughts are my own.
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To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of A Lady in Attendance as well as A Life Once Dreamed by Rachel Fordham, a signed bookplate, book swag, and a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.