||In Jane Harris's skillful and intricately realized debut, Bessy Buckley, a teenage maid at Castle Haivers, comes under the tutelage and command of the lady of the estate, one Arabella Reid. Soon Bessy discovers that she is serving as the subject for an unflattering treatise called "Habits and Nature of the Domestic Class." In retaliation, Bessy fabricates a ghost of a previous maid, and Arabella's mental stability begins to unravel. Neither sensationalistic nor sentimental, this novel reveals two women striving to find a place for themselves within the social confines of the 19th century.
||Keeping a journal to record the increasingly unusual duties requested of her by her beautiful mistress, nineteenth-century Edinburgh scullery maid Bessy wonders about her mistress's secret relationship with a dead former maid and is tempted to risk everything she cares about. Reprint.
|Editors Note 2
||The Observations is a hugely assured and darkly funny debut set in nineteenth-century Scotland. Bessy Buckley, the novelÂ's heroine, is a cynical, wide-eyed, and tender fifteen-year-old Irish girl who takes a job as a maid in a once-grand country house outside Edinburgh, where all is not as it seems. Asked by her employer, the beautiful Arabella, to keep a journal of her most intimate thoughts, Bessy soon makes a troubling discovery and realizes that she has fled her difficult past only to arrive in an even more disturbing present.