For those of you who like seeing the downstairs as well as the upstairs, check out Tracy Grant’s interesting post on servant/master relationships in historical fiction.
For me, the first to come to mind are Jeeves and Wooster and Bunter and Lord Peter Wimsey. It struck me that both are (a) 1920s and 30s, and (b) valet/gentleman. I had to actively work to think of non-1920s examples (Tracy has a few in her post) and lady’s maid equivalents to the valet relationship, like Sophia and her saucy maid in Fielding’s Tom Jones. I wonder why that is?
Slightly off-topic, I’ve heard a happy rumor that there’ll be at least two more of Tracy’s Charles & Melanie/Malcolm & Suzanne books! For those who haven’t read them, they’re about a husband and wife team embroiled in espionage in the immediate aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. The earliest chronologically is Vienna Waltz, set at the Congress of Vienna, but her world is so perfectly integrated that you can read them in pretty much any order without losing anything. I started with Beneath a Silent Moon, which is technically #3, timeline-wise.
AMENDED TO ADD: For those who wanted to know the reading order of Tracy’s books, it’s:
— Vienna Waltz (1814)
— Beneath a Silent Moon (1817)
— Secrets of a Lady (formerly Daughter of the Game) (1819)
— Mask of Night (1820) (Kindle and Nook only)