The Downstairs Maid

  • by Rosie Clarke
  • Narrated by Penelope Freeman
  • 15 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

She is a servant girl... When her father becomes ill, Emily Carter finds herself sent into service at Priorsfield Manor in order to provide the family with an income. He will be the Lord of the Manor...
Emily strikes up an unlikely friendship with the daughters of the house, as well as Nicolas, son of the Earl. But as the threat of war comes ever closer, she becomes even more aware of the vast differences between upstairs and downstairs, servant and master...
If you like Downton Abbey you’ll love this!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Some Good, Lots of Bad- Details too 'adult' for me

Would you try another book from Rosie Clarke and/or Penelope Freeman?

From the narrator, certainly. From the author...probably not, which is such a shame because I love the general idea of the book and am always searching for books of this type. The author is clearly talented, but I can't get past the ick factor of parts of the story, and the way the book seemed to meander at midpoint. I absolutely hated all of the parts of the book that contained one particular, loathsome character. Writing villains and danger is one thing, writing long passages where the reader/listener is placed in the point of view or the villain is AWFUL in my opinion. I felt my skin crawl, as if I, myself was guilty of lusting after this innocent girl, and fooling around with another. Frankly, there was SO MUCH sexual undertone in the story that I ended up feel dirty by it, and rolling my eyes at the way the story started to dissolve and become one of endless desires with impossible obstacles.

Possibly the story redeemed itself by the end, but after listening to 2/3 of it I decided that it was not worth the icky, disturbing parts to see it through. I am about to return it. I hope this helps any of you who like a good romance but don't like things that are so explicit. Seriously, I still feel haunted and tainted by some of the villain's stream of consciousness. It was just awful. Indulgent on the part of the author to put us through it.


Has The Downstairs Maid turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, not at all. This is probably my favorite genre.


If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Downstairs Maid?

All but a cursory bit of the main villain's first person point of view. And most containing him, for that matter. Too explicit, too long, to uncomfortable to listen to. The ugliness stays with you days after listening. Maybe months.


Any additional comments?

It would be wonderful if Audible gave some sense of what the listener can expect from a book in terms of explicitness, like they do for movies. That would be helpful, and it would have made me not look twice at this one.

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- Susan

lovely little book

Would you listen to The Downstairs Maid again? Why?

Yes. It is long enough and narrated well enough I could listen again and pick up more of the story-I listen while driving and working around the house so I don't always pay attention 100% of the time.


What did you like best about this story?

The narration is wonderful and I like that it isn't a happily ever after for all the characters and there are a few who are just awful-for instance, her mother never reforms and becomes this wonderful person-she is what she is. Some characters die and others leave. I like not knowing if a main character is going to make it or not and I can't assume everyone will be okay.


What does Penelope Freeman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She has a lower voice for a woman and can do male characters as well as female. She is a very talented narrator and I will look for more of her books. I love her accents-Emily's mother is annoying and Freeman's interpretation of her is annoying as well.


Any additional comments?

I'm surprised by all the negative comments. This couldn't be classified as great literature but I thought it was a nice story. I don't believe the summary is accurate-Emily doesn't become a maid until a third of the way into the book and isn't a maid for the last third. It is the story of a farm girl named Emily. She is poor, has some education and has a goal of bettering herself. She is a hard worker and always tries to do the right thing. She is beautiful but that isn't what attracts people. What people love about her is her self depreciating attitude, her wit and her resourcefulness. It isn't a tragedy or a bodice ripper; its IS a nice read for the beach or if you just want an easy escape for a few hours.

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- susan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-29-2015
  • Publisher: Random House Audiobooks