Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
A Christmas Legacy by Anne Perry
Series: Christmas Stories #19
Published by Ballantine on November 9, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Amazon, Audible, Libro.fm, Barnes & Noble, Apple
After leaving her position with Charlotte and Thomas Pitt to get married, Gracie thought her days as a maid were behind her. But when her good friend’s daughter, Millie, turns up on her doorstep just before the holidays, frantic because things are going missing from the kitchen in the household she serves, Gracie knows she has to find out what is happening. Millie, whose mother died years before, can’t risk being accused of theft and getting thrown out on the street, with no character references for a new position.
So Gracie takes on Millie’s job herself, claiming Millie is sick and needs a few days to recuperate. At first, it seems that all is normal in the household, even if the couple’s elderly granny keeps entirely to her bedroom upstairs. But Gracie begins to realize that Granny is suffering from neglect—and rather than helping her, the husband and wife have decided she isn’t dying fast enough.
I’ve always enjoyed the books by this author and for the HoHoHo Read-athon, I have been devouring the Christmas series. I listened to first few through Audible plus, and found more at the library. I’m not quite finished but the books are unrelated to each other and mostly not connected to the various series. A Christmas Legacy is related to the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series, as the main character is Gracie who was a maid for their household for many years, but now has a husband and children. So I suppose there are some general spoilers for that series.
All of the Christmas stories are a bit shorter, about a half book size but longer than what I consider a novella (under 100 pages). Regardless, the development of the world and characters is exquisite. I felt the characters as real people and their emotions connected to me. I could smell and taste the food, feel the fabrics cottons, wools and silk fabrics of items, and the chill of the winter air.
Millie comes to Gracie because she fears being thrown out of the home where she is in service because things aren’t right. Gracie, having been with the Pitts, knows how to research a mystery. So she goes to Millie’s place while Millie stays with her family. Really I wish Millie could have been clearer about what was happening. But a servant can be dismissed easily for a wide variety of things, whether true or not, so she needed to be discreet.
Gracie, on the other hand, is not really a servant, can’t be dismissed, and even if she were, she can just go home to her husband and family. So with great difficulty, she finds out what is wrong and tries to improve things. It’s an ugly situation but Gracie is able to provide some comfort all around.
A Christmas Legacy was a fast, easy read because it was so well written and interesting. I recommend it and all the Christmas stories I have read.
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