Serabelle: Where the Wealthy Come to Play de Tavi Taylor Black

de Tavi Taylor Black - Género: English
libro gratis Serabelle: Where the Wealthy Come to Play


An island sheltered from modern progress. Strict lines between servants and masters. Will crossing them leave her fatally exposed?
Bar Harbor, Maine. 1913. Mabel Rae is smart, reckless, and naïve. So when the ambitious seventeen-year-old joins the staff at a rocky cliffside cottage, she willingly lets the boisterous estate owner's improper advances sweep her off her feet. And the slender young woman dismisses the vulnerability of her position when she discovers she's pregnant with his unacknowledged child.
Brought harshly down to earth after she's caught up in the machinations of a family feud, Mabel decides it's time to take matters into her own hands. But with no money and few rights, she fears a forced marriage to the brutish gardener is her only socially acceptable option.
Is her future forever stunted, or can she become a beacon of change?
In a classic upstairs-downstairs tale, award-winning author Tavi Taylor Black spins an intricate web of idealism's battle against harsh reality. Set at a time when suffrage was at its height, temperance was gaining momentum, and war loomed in Europe, this spellbinding novel shines a light on inequities we still face today.
Serabelle is a darkly humorous work of historical fiction. If you like intricate relationships, lyrical prose, and stories that tackle serious issues, then you'll love Tavi Taylor Black's vivid portrait of the Gilded Age.
Buy Serabelle to test the limits of freedom today!..M.F

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This book was a little slow at the start, but I ended up enjoying it. I absolutely loved the setting, and that really drew me in.

In 1913, 17 year old Mabel Rae has taken a maid position at the Ainsworth-Hunt coastal cottage in Bar Harbor, ME. Unfortunately, this is the life she was born into. But when Mr. Hunt, the owner of the estate, makes advances she is easily persuaded and starts to dream that she could become lady of the house. When she becomes pregnant, she quickly learns that that was never an option. She's now caught up in the family drama and wishes she could escape. But she has no money and very little rights, so what can she do? It seems her only way out is to marry the brutish gardener. That would be the socially acceptable thing to do. Is there no other way for her?

This was a well written, multilayered story. There was a lot of family drama, drama among the servants, and drama between the family and the servants. The socioeconomic divide is considerable, and the author shows us how much. The setting of Bar Harbor, ME before Acadia National Park, was established really made the book. The author did a great job of transporting me there. The way Serabelle was described, I could picture it all in my head. Serabelle in itself was a character. If you enjoy books with drama and vivid imagery, I would definitely recommend this one.4 s Diane NagatomoAuthor 9 books61

“Serabelle” by Tavi Taylor Black is a historical fiction set in the early 1900s. Mabel, a young girl, takes up a position as a housemaid in a luxurious summer house in Bar Harbour, Main. Fresh and naive, she draws the attention of Alastair, the master of the house. Of course, she is flattered, and he takes advantage of her in every way possible that men of that position and in that era could. Alastair is not the only person in the house who is untrustworthy—his own son doesn’t hesitate to betray his father. And of course, Alastair’s wife is more than willing to extract revenge on her husband for his betrayals. Mabel ending up pregnant and abandoned by the father is not unexpected. She is the one who is seen as the harlot while the man can do what he s. Luckily Mabel has some friends in the house who help her find some alternatives to ending up being cast out on the streets.

I enjoyed this book a lot, but it made me angry to think of how many poor young women suffered in that era from the hands of men, especially men of power. And it also made me angry to think that such things still happen today in many instances, but at the same time, appreciate the “me too” movement bringing accountability for such actions.

This was a well-written book and I highly recommend it! Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC. My opinion is my own.
2 s Kathy Beckmann35

Serabelle is historical fiction set in 1913. Mabel, a 17 year old girl, takes a position as a housemaid at the Ainsworth-Hunt coastal cottage in Bar Harbor, ME.

Throughout the story there was family drama, drama among the servants, family betrayal, revenge, and differences between upper and lower classes. There were a few storylines and they all came together. Overall I enjoyed this story and was interested to see what drama came next.

Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced reader copy.2 s Suzanne Groves3

Tavi Taylor Black’s beautifully written second novel, “Serabelle,” is simultaneously a treat for the senses and a tutorial for the psyche as she explores the depths to which humans will sink in the name of “self”. Set in a cottage estate near Bar Harbor in 1913, Black paints a luxuriously vivid picture of gilded lives – the Ainsworth-Hunt family – and the caged servants who tend to them while trying to eek out their own happiness and personal identities as after thoughts.

That is, except for Mabel – the protagonist – who refused to accept the station of service into which she had been born, and Willie – her unly friend whose ardent loyalty and love proved his fatal flaws. As each tilted against social constructs they had neither chosen nor could change, we see the familiar human longing for the freedom to love, to be loved, and to be free.

However, the socioeconomic divide between the servants and the cottage owners did not only tether those in service. The Ainsworth-Hunt family, wealthy beyond measure, also were confined by social mores, to the detriment of all except Alistair Hunt, who regularly sought opportunities to place others in improbable situations for the pleasure of their “surprising” him. To Alistair, people were sport and in “Serabelle,” we see just how devastating such entitled gamesmanship can be to those being treated as toys.

For those who loved “Upstairs, Downstairs,” “Downton Abbey,” “The Gilded Age” and other stories about early 20th century socioeconomic stratification and the human imperative to adapt to (or rebel against) the station into which people were born, “Serabelle” should be next on your reading list.
2 s Jessica Higgins1,400 12

Good premise, but felt disjointed throughout the story.

Mabel Rae was born into servanthood, but always felt greater aspirations. Not an easy thing to accomplish in the early 1900s between class and gender. When she becomes of age, she takes on a position as a maid in an upscale estate in Bar Harbor, Maine. She begins her career in defiance by going up to the main house, where the butler quickly sends her to the servants quarters. When he receives attention from the master of the house, she gives in quickly and dreams of becoming the lady of the manor. But when she discovers she is pregnant, she learns the hard truth of her life and her social class.

I really felt that this book had a great premise and was excited to read something different. However, the story took several different pathways throughout and sometimes felt disjointed when reading between the different characters. It did make me do some fact checking and seemed to be pretty accurate overall for the time period. The setting was the best part of the whole book and carried most of the story for me.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.
historical suspense1 Laura1,624 17

What trees are flowering near you? We have beautiful flowering pink trees in Northeast Wisconsin right now, but I am not sure what they are. My lilacs are now in bloom.

In Maine, rich people have built mansions that they visit during the summer to get away from the City in the early twentieth century. Serabelle is a beautiful cliffside “cottage.” The Hunt family spends their summers at the estate. Mr. Hunt and Mrs. Ainsworth-Hunt both came from wealthy families and married to combine their fortunes. Now in their middle age, they find they have nothing in common, but can mostly keep apart in their large home. Mabel is a young teenage maid starting her job at Serabelle, and she has quickly caught the eye of Mr. Hunt. As their affair heats up, and family squabbles come to head, will Mabel be able to get the life that she deserves?

My thoughts on this book:
• I loved the Downton Abbey in America feel to this book. I always love it when we get an intertwined story of the rich family as well as the servants who live on the estate.

• I felt bad for poor naïve Mabel and the choices she must make after she discovers she is pregnant with Mr. Hunt’s child. It made me wonder how many “arranged marriages” there were back in the day to cover up pregnancies by a married man.

• There was also an interesting subplot involving Mr. Hunt’s jewels that shines a light on the families disfunction.

• There were many storylines between the family members, the servants, and the interactions between the family members and servants. They all came together to a stunning conclusion.

• I really loved one character and I was shattered by their death at the end of the novel.

• The descriptions of Serabelle and Maine were beautiful. It made me want to visit.

• I enjoyed the themes of inequality, suffrage, and socioeconomic class divide that were throughout the novel.

• The author’s grandmother worked as a cook for an estate in Maine. I thought that was very interesting in the acknowledgements at the end of the novel.

Overall, Serabelle was an atmospheric story with great characters and setting. I enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it for those that me enjoyed Downtown Abbey, The Gilded Age, or the novels of Edith Wharton.

Book Source: Review copy from author Tavi Taylor Black as part of the TLC Book Tour. Thank-you! Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

This review was first posted on my blog at: https://lauragerold.blogspot.com/2024...book-tour historical-fiction Linda1,423 1,519

"Life doesn't keep any promises. Everyone's on their own in the end."

Seventeen year old Mabel Rae had no way of knowing how the chips would fall as she set out for a job as a domestic in Bar Harbor, Maine. In 1913 there weren't many options for a young woman and it all depended upon your station in life as well. But what would be an equalizing factor is that no matter who you thought you were as a woman, you still didn't have the right to vote. A male dominated world at every corner.

As Mabel settles in, she's caught the wandering eye of Alistair Ainsworth-Hunt. He and his railroad heiress wife, Julia, have sailed their ships in different directions. The estate in Bar Harbor is a summer escape from the heat of Boston. They throw lavish parties and constantly keep up their demands of the staff who reside in a yellow brick building across the way. We'll soon meet each and every one of them.

Mabel's naivete will come at a great price. She left her mother in New Jersey with but a wave and a nod. She never prepared Mabel for the wiles of sweet-talking men who leaned in with soft whispers and gentle nudges in order to get their way. It's the aftermath that falls to Mabel.

Tavi Taylor Black writes in surround sound. We, as readers, get a genuine panoramic view of the rocky terrain and the weight of the salty air leaving its imprint on the grounds and the clapboard siding. Serabelle has the feel of the turn of the last century as individuals feel destined to hard work and non-stop sacrifices. You had a station in life and it must never cross into another.

Black's characters are so well-developed and add such depth to this storyline. She takes on societal issues of male/female, the haves and the have nots, racial status, and the limiting expectations put upon those deemed "less". My favorite character was Willie, a sixteen year old Black youth working in the family horse stable. He is the essence of goodness. You'll be drawn into his story.

Serabelle has just published in late April. I was fortunate to receive a copy through Goodreads Giveaways. It is my hope that Tavi Taylor Black may return to this time period once again. She has a remarkable gift for it.first-reads giveaways historical-fiction ...more21 s14 comments Sue 1,798 112

This well written novel set in Bar Harbor in 1913 clearly shows the difference between the lives of the rich and the servants who take care of them. But in many ways, the two classes are the same - there is still drama and friendship no matter what the class of the people.

Mabel Rae joins the household staff at Serabelle in 1913 when she is 17 years old. She had grown up as a servant with her mother and this is the first time she's been on her own. The mansion is owned by the very rich Ainsworth-Hunt family. Mabel is just learning her job when she catches the eye of Alistair Hunt, the rich owner of the estate and falls for his improper advances. She truly believes that he will leave his wife and she (Mabel) will become the mistress of the estate. Reality hits her hard when she finds out that she's pregnant and Mr. Hunt wants nothing to do with her. Luckily, one of the other servants helps her and arranges a marriage between Mabel and the unlikable gardener on the estate. She realizes that there is no other choice for her -- she has no money to leave and nowhere to go. Will she be able to find happiness in her life?

The book makes the reader realize the difference between upper and lower class and the way they live their lives. Mr. Hunt is a collector of gems - many very expensive - and while he is admiring his collection, he has people with no money taking care of his every need. He and his wife are unhappy together, their daughter never visits and their son doesn't live an honest life. So even though there are great differences in the lives of the family and their servants, it is very apparent that money doesn't buy happiness. The novel touches on suffrage, the temperance movement and the looming war in Europe and shines a light on inequities we still face today.

historical-fiction4 s Sublime Book Review185 13

Overall Rating = 4.96

Storyline & Concept = 5
Writing & Delivery = 5
Editorial = 4.9

Born into her profession, the young and naive Mabel arrived at the Serabelle coastal cottage to serve as a chambermaid for the wealthy Ainsworth-Hunt family. As she navigates her new role, boundaries between her and her superior are blurred, leading her down an unexpected path where her only apparent choice is to wed a gruff gardener. Despite her fragile circumstances, Mabel dreams of a life filled with purpose and meaning, seeking avenues beyond loveless obligation and poverty as a maid. However, times get more challenging at the Ainsworth-Hunt cottage as the flawed dynamics of the wealthy family are revealed and the meticulous order of the cottage is threatened.

Rich in descriptive imagery, Serabelle pulls you into the backdrop of 1913 Mt. Desert Isle, Maine, where social class and status are evident under the roof of the magnificent cottage. Tavi Taylor Black writes a colorful story written with many layers, introducing new characters and their perspectives with impeccable timing. The author skillfully illustrates everyone who serves the Hunt family with depth and curiosity. However, it is challenging for the readers to sympathize with the affluent family. The novel tells a captivating story true to the historical backdrop where the political and social influences dominate, and reality is not sugar-coated. A compelling read for historical fiction fans with an interest in social justice issues still prevalent today.

Sublime Line: “Rich in imagery, this intricate, multi-layered historical novel captivates the reader while delivering a timeless message of resilience and social equity.”
1 Debbie943 12

The writing style and characters in
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