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May 27, 2024

Serabelle: Where the Wealthy Come to Play by Tavi Taylor Black ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

An island sheltered from modern progress. Strict lines between servants and masters. Will crossing them leave her fatally exposed?

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of historical fiction novel Serabelle by Tavi Taylor Black
April 2024; Black Rose Writing; 978-1685134068
audio, ebook, print (281 pages); historical fiction

This well written novel set in Bar Harbor in 1913 clearly shows the difference between the lives of the rich and the servants who take care of them.  But in many ways, the two classes are the same - there is still drama and friendship no matter what the class of the people.

Mabel Rae joins the household staff at Serabelle in 1913 when she is 17 years old.  She had grown up as a servant with her mother and this is the first time she's been on her own.  The mansion is owned by the very rich Ainsworth-Hunt family.  Mabel is just learning her job when she catches the eye of Alistair Hunt, the rich owner of the estate, and falls for his improper advances.  She truly believes that he will leave his wife and she (Mabel) will become the mistress of the estate.  Reality hits her hard when she finds out that she's pregnant and Mr. Hunt wants nothing to do with her.  Luckily, one of the other servants helps her and arranges a marriage between Mabel and the unlikable gardener on the estate.  She realizes that there is no other choice for her -- she has no money to leave and nowhere to go.  Will she be able to find happiness in her life?

The book makes the reader realize the difference between the upper and lower classes and the way they live their lives.  Mr. Hunt is a collector of gems - many very expensive - and while he is admiring his collection, he has people with no money taking care of his every need.  He and his wife are unhappy together, their daughter never visits and their son doesn't live an honest life.  So even though there are great differences in the lives of the family and their servants, it is very apparent that money doesn't buy happiness.  The novel touches on suffrage, the temperance movement, and the looming war in Europe and shines a light on inequities we still face today.

Buy Serabelle at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.

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