A Stitch in Time
by Laurie Campbell
Trafford Publish

"Instead of dashing off down the servant's stairwell and flinging herself headlong into the breakfast room with its cheerful yellow and white furnishings and draperies, Luise had to balance herself with her good arm against the wall of the narrow, twisting, servant’s staircase."

The precocious young heiress, Luise von Goff, is growing up in this second installment of Campbell's Prussian Yarns trilogy, set in the 1860s. Luise knows, and dreads, what is coming her way: frilly white dresses and ladies' garden parties. She would rather feed her falcon or ride her pony, which she does in spite of the efforts of the maids, cooks, governesses, and valets who try their level best to keep their Fräulein safe.

Luise's father, Otto von Goff, has a juggling act on his hands as well. He's doing double duty as lord and lady of the manor, since his mercurial wife Hildegard has taken to her bed with a mysterious affliction that leaves her unable to stir from her darkened rooms.

Campbell paints a detailed picture of life inside a wealthy manor house, including a peek into the politics of the household staff, and many rituals of daily life. Her ease with dialogue allows her to capture both comfortable father-daughter teasing and scripted servant-master negotiations. She invites the reader into the world of the manor’s children as well, as they ride ponies and raid bat caves, far from prying adult eyes.

A lengthy book, A Stitch in Time could become tedious, with the recounting of meals served and social events planned. Instead, Campbell uses gentle humor and genuine affection for her characters to make her readers feel as if they, too, are part of the grand plans at Shönwald.

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