Dunne, May 2003, 23.95, 320 pp.
Twenty-six years old Maeve Delaney needs a job fast as she is running out of money and does not want to ask her wealthy dad for cash. She reads a newspaper ad looking for a caretaker companion to a disabled elderly woman and decides the job is perfect for her. She makes up a phony résumé and obtains the position though she seems too young to do the job. The employer Henry Benham wants to simply placate his bossy wife by hiring someone to care for his octogenarian mother.
Maeve and Lady Pamela get on quite well together as the youngster ignores the older woman's rants and provides a breath of freshness to the geriatric invalid. Soon she encourages Pamela's lover Sam Elwes to spend more time with his beloved and persuades her charge to begin racing her horse Irish Dancer. As the two generations get acquainted a loving bond similar to a grandmother and granddaughter form that gives Pamela a reason to live, but what will happen once Maeve moves on?
This is an interesting relationship drama that serves as a comparison between the “old” and the “new”. Maeve is an intriguing protagonist who combines the impishness of Holly Golightly with the right degree of responsibility for the safety of her companion. She gives Pamela a reason to live unlike the elderly woman's wimpy son or her authoritative daughter-in-law, who have done everything in public tastefully just short of announcing the wake. Fans who relish a modern day tale of manners will want to read this English character study.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner