Upstairs, Downstairs

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)

You can find more about the books, including the upcoming Imperial Scandal, on Tracy’s website.


  1. Susan on November 30, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I’ve been following her posts. That is a great series. I also started with Beneath a Silent Moon. I prefer to read things in order. Of course, that series hasn’t exactly been written in order, but it works. After the next 2, I think I may have to read the entire series in order again. I just have to keep track of the name changes!

  2. HJ on December 1, 2011 at 6:22 am

    I love Tracy’s Charles & Melanie/Malcolm & Suzanne books. (I wish I could do a global name change on the new books to get back to their proper names – publishers are crazy!) I re-read all of the books the last tie a ne one came out, and I suspect I may do that again…

    A nice twist on the gentleman & valet relationship is in a debut book I read recently and liked: Joanna Chambers The Lady’s Secret. I won’t spoil the plot by revealing the twist…

  3. Amanda A. on December 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I wish her publisher hadn’t made Tracy change her character’s names — and her own — but that’s another story…

    There’s already an Amazon listing for her next book, “Imperial Scandal,” which comes out in March.

  4. Farin on December 1, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I’m also a fan of Tracy’s. I still hold out hope that they’ll publish Mask of Night in a paper book.

  5. Laura on December 2, 2011 at 4:15 am

    I’ve just bought Vienna Waltz on the strength of the comments here. Tracy is a new author for me – Can someone let know the reading order? Thanks!

  6. Lauren on December 2, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Hi, Laura! I’ve just added the reading order and a link to Tracy’s website to the post, above.

    I hope you enjoy “Vienna Waltz”!

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