Book Review and Giveaway – Lady in Waiting

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It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Lady In Waiting

WaterBrook Press; Original edition (September 7, 2010)

***Special thanks to Cindy Brovsky of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc., for sending me a review copy.***


Susan Meissner has spent her lifetime as a writer, starting with her first poem at the age of four. She is the award-winning author of The Shape of Mercy, White Picket Fences, and many other novels. When she’s not writing, she directs the small groups and connection ministries at her San Diego church. She and her pastor husband are the parents of four young adults.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press; Original edition (September 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307458830
ISBN-13: 978-0307458834



Upper West Side, Manhattan


The mantle clock was exquisite even though its hands rested in silence at twenty minutes past two.

Carved—near as I could tell—from a single piece of mahogany, its glimmering patina looked warm to the touch. Rosebuds etched into the swirls of wood grain flanked the sides like two bronzed bridal bouquets. The clock’s top was rounded and smooth like the draped head of a Madonna. I ran my palm across the polished surface and it was like touching warm water.

Legend was this clock originally belonged to the young wife of a Southampton doctor and that it stopped keeping time in 1912, the very moment the Titanic sank and its owner became a widow. The grieving woman’s only consolation was the clock’s apparent prescience of her husband’s horrible fate and its kinship with the pain that left her inert in sorrow. She never remarried and she never had the clock fixed.

I bought it sight unseen for my great aunt’s antique store, like so many of the items I’d found for the display cases. In the year and half I’d been in charge of the inventory, the best pieces had come from the obscure estate sales that my British friend Emma Downing came upon while tooling around the southeast of England looking for oddities for her costume shop. She found the clock at an estate sale in Felixstowe and the auctioneer, so she told me, had been unimpressed with the clock’s sad history. Emma said he’d read the accompanying note about the clock as if reading the rules for rugby.

My mother watched now as I positioned the clock on the lacquered black mantle that rose above a marble fireplace. She held a lead crystal vase of silk daffodils in her hands.

“It should be ticking.” She frowned. “People will wonder why it’s not ticking.” She set the vase down on the hearth and stepped back. Her heels made a clicking sound on the parquet floor beneath our feet. “You know, you probably would’ve sold it by now if it was working. Did Wilson even look at it? You told me he could fix anything.”

I flicked a wisp of fuzz off the clock’s face. I hadn’t asked the shop’s resident and unofficial repairman to fix it. “It wouldn’t be the same clock if it was fixed.”

“It would be a clock that did what it was supposed to do.” My mother leaned in and straightened one of the daffodil blooms.

“This isn’t just any clock, Mom.” I took a step back too.

My mother folded her arms across the front of her Ann Taylor suit. Pale blue, the color of baby blankets and robins’ eggs. Her signature color. “Look, I get all that about the Titanic and the young widow, but you can’t prove any of it, Jane,” she said. “You could never sell it on that story.”

A flicker of sadness wobbled inside me at the thought of parting with the clock. This happens when you work in retail. Sometimes you have a hard time selling what you bought to sell.

“I’m thinking maybe I’ll keep it.”

“You don’t make a profit by hanging onto the inventory.” My mother whispered this, but I heard her. She intended for me to hear her. This was her way of saying what she wanted to about her aunt’s shop—which she’d inherit when Great Aunt Thea passed—without coming across as interfering.

My mother thinks she tries very hard not to interfere. But it is one of her talents. Interfering when she thinks she’s not. It drives my younger sister Leslie nuts.

“Do you want me to take it back to the store?” I asked.

“No! It’s perfect for this place. I just wish it were ticking.” She nearly pouted.

I reached for the box at my feet that I brought the clock in along with a set of Shakespeare’s works, a pair of pewter candlesticks, and a Wedgwood vase. “You could always get a CD of sound effects and run a loop of a ticking clock,” I joked.

She turned to me, childlike determination in her eyes. “I wonder how hard it would be to find a CD like that!”

“I was kidding, Mom! Look what you have to work with.” I pointed to the simulated stereo system she’d placed into a polished entertainment center behind us. My mother never used real electronics in the houses she staged, although with the clientele she usually worked with—affluent real estate brokers and equally well-off buyers and sellers—she certainly could.

“So I’ll bring in a portable player and hide it in the hearth pillows.” She shrugged and then turned to the adjoining dining room. A gleaming black dining table had been set with white bone china, pale yellow linen napkins, and mounds of fake chicken salad, mauvey rubber grapes, and plastic croissants and petit fours. An arrangement of pussy willows graced the center of the table. “Do you think the pussy willows are too rustic?” she asked.

She wanted me to say yes so I did.

“I think so, too,” she said. “I think we should swap these out for that vase of Gerbera daisies you have on that escritoire in the shop’s front window. I don’t know what I was thinking when I brought these.” She reached for the unlucky pussy willows. “We can put these on the entry table with our business cards.”

She turned to me. “You did bring yours this time, didn’t you? It’s silly for you to go to all this work and then not get any customers out of it.” My mother made her way to the entryway with the pussy willows in her hands and intention in her step. I followed her.

This was only the second house I’d helped her stage, and I didn’t bring business cards the first time because she hadn’t invited me to until we were about to leave. She’d promptly told me then to never go anywhere without business cards. Not even to the ladies room. She’d said it and then waited, like she expected me to take out my BlackBerry and make a note of it.

“I have them right here.” I reached into the front pocket of my capris and pulled out a handful of glossy business cards emblazoned with Amsterdam Avenue Antiques and its logo—three As entwined like a Celtic eternity knot. I handed them to her and she placed them in a silver dish next to her own. Sophia Keller Interior Design and Home Staging. The pussy willows actually looked wonderful against the tall jute-colored wall.

“There. That looks better!” she exclaimed as if reading my thoughts. She turned to survey the main floor of the townhouse. The owners had relocated to the Hamptons and were selling off their Manhattan properties to fund a cushy retirement. Half the décor—the books, the vases, the prints—were on loan from Aunt Thea’s shop. My mother, who’d been staging real estate for two years, brought me in a few months earlier when she discovered a stately home filled with charming and authentic antiques sold faster than the same home filled with reproductions.

“You and Brad should get out of that teensy apartment on the West Side and buy this place. The owners are practically giving it away.”

Her tone suggested she didn’t expect me to respond. I easily let the comment evaporate into the sunbeams caressing us. It was a comment for which I had had no response.

My mother’s gaze swept across the two large rooms she’d furnished and she frowned when her eyes reached the mantle and the silent clock.

“Well, I’ll just have to come back later today,” she spoke into the silence. “It’s being shown first thing in the morning.” She swung back around. “Come on. I’ll take you back.”

We stepped out into the April sunshine and to her Lexus parked across the street along a line of townhouses just like the one we’d left. As we began to drive away, the stillness in the car thickened, and I fished my cell phone out of my purse to see if I’d missed any calls while we were finishing the house. On the drive over I had a purposeful conversation with Emma about a box of old books she found at a jumble sale in Oxfordshire. That lengthy conversation filled the entire commute from the store on the seven-hundred block of Amsterdam to the townhouse on East Ninth, and I found myself wishing I could somehow repeat that providential circumstance. My mother would ask about Brad if the silence continued. There was no missed call, and I started to probe my brain for something to talk about. I suddenly remembered I hadn’t told my mother I’d found a new assistant. I opened my mouth to tell her about Stacy but I was too late.

“So what do you hear from Brad?” she asked cheerfully.

“He’s doing fine.” The answer flew out of my mouth as if I’d rehearsed it. She looked away from the traffic ahead, blinked at me, and then turned her attention back to the road. A taxi pulled in front of her, and she laid on the horn, pronouncing a curse on all taxi drivers.

“Idiot.” She turned to me. “How much longer do you think he will stay in New Hampshire?” Her brow was creased. “You aren’t going to try to keep two households going forever, are you?”

I exhaled heavily. “It’s a really good job, Mom. And he likes the change of pace and the new responsibilities. It’s only been two months.”

“Yes, but the inconvenience has to be wearing on you both. It must be quite a hassle maintaining two residences, not to mention the expense, and then all that time away from each other.” She paused but only for a moment. “I just don’t see why he couldn’t have found something similar right here in New York. I mean, don’t all big hospitals have the same jobs in radiology? That’s what your father told me. And he should know.”

“Just because there are similar jobs doesn’t mean there are similar vacancies, Mom.”

She tapped the steering wheel. “Yes, but your father said . . .”

“I know Dad thinks he might’ve been able to help Brad find something on Long Island but Brad wanted this job. And no offense, Mom, but the head of environmental services doesn’t hire radiologists.”

She bristled. I shouldn’t have said it. She would repeat that comment to my dad, not to hurt him but to vent her frustration at not having been able to convince me she was right and I was wrong. But it would hurt him anyway.

“I’m sorry, Mom,” I added. “Don’t tell him I said that, okay? I just really don’t want to rehash this again.”

But she wasn’t done. “Your father has been at that hospital for twenty-seven years. He knows a lot of people.” She emphasized the last four words with a pointed stare in my direction.

“I know he does. That’s really not what I meant. It’s just Brad has always wanted this kind of job. He’s working with cancer patients. This really matters to him.”

“But the job’s in New Hampshire!”

“Well, Connor is in New Hampshire!” It sounded irrelevant even to me to mention the current location of Brad’s and my college-age son. Connor had nothing to do with any of this. And he was an hour away from where Brad was anyway.

“And you are here,” my mother said evenly. “If Brad wanted out of the city, there are plenty of quieter hospitals right around here. And plenty of sick people for that matter.”

There was an undercurrent in her tone, subtle and yet obvious, that assured me we really weren’t talking about sick people and hospitals and the miles between Manhattan and Manchester. It was as if she’d guessed what I’d tried to keep from my parents the last eight weeks.

My husband didn’t want out of the city.

He just wanted out.


Decisions and choices.  Do you feel like you’ve made the major decisions of your life?  Have you made them alone?  With other’s advice and help?  Have you let other people (parents or spouses) make decisions for you?

I was one of those people who let others make decisions for me.  To some extent, I still am.  But almost ten years ago, I took a good hard look at my life and asked if that was what I wanted.  When there were things I knew I didn’t want to let slip away, like having children, I decided it was time to make a decision and act on it.  That’s when Sean and I started the journey to adopt.

What It’s About
In the book, Lady in Waiting, Jane Lindsay, suddenly finds herself alone – her husband deciding that he needs some space and moving out.  Through a series of different events, Jane starts examining whether she has had control of the decisions in her life, or if she has taken a backseat and allowed her parents and her husband to make her choices for her.

In a parallel story, the author, Susan Meissner, tells us about Lucy Day, a seamstress to nobility in sixteenth century England.  Lucy is a Lady in Waiting, but interestingly, so is the Lady that she creates gowns for, Jane.  Lady Jane finds herself waiting for her parents to chose a husband for her, which will change everything about her life.

My Take
I loved this book, couldn’t put it down!  Thoughts of the storyline, stayed with me for several days after I finished reading it.  The author presented many interesting dilemmas and questions, but she did it in a way that was never heavy-handed.  Moral questions were interwoven with the storyline, so adroitly that you almost didn’t realize they were there.  Both stories of Jane Lindsay and Lady Jane were written with suspense.   I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen to both of them.  Lady Jane, will appearing to have little choice in her own destiny, ended up making the most important decision of all.  I wondered what I would have done, if I had been in her positions.

In addition to the comparisons the reader makes between Jane Lindsay and Lady Jane, there are also interesting comparisons to be made between Lucy Day and Lady Jane.  Lucy is of the poor class in England, and has less luxury and privilege than Lady Jane but so much more freedom.

The Author’s Note at the end of the book (don’t read it ahead, though, it does contain a spoiler!) tells us that some of the book’s details of Lady Jane’s life are based on fact, but not all.  “Lady in Waiting, then, is a book that explores the question ‘What if?’…one of the lovelier aspects of fiction.”  I would add, and one of the fun aspects of historical fiction.

Grade:  A

Enter here to win my gently read copy of Lady in Waiting, by Susan Meissner.

Main entry

1. Have you made your own choices in your life or has someone else?

Additional entries

2. Subscribe to Kelly’s Lucky You by email or rss feed.

3. Follow Kelly’s Lucky You with Google Friend Connect.

4. Put the Kelly’s Lucky You button on your sidebar or blogroll page.

5. Blog about this giveaway and leave the link to your post in the comments.

6. Follow Kelly’s Lucky You on twitter.

7. Tweet this giveaway (RT 1x per day).

8. Become a Fan of Kelly’s Lucky You on Facebook.

9. Add this giveaway to any giveaway linky (unlimited entries). You can use this list!

Leave one comment for each entry. Contest ends October 30th at midnight CST. A winner will be chosen by and notified by email to the email address provided in the winning comment. The winner must respond within 48 hours of the notification email, or another winner will be chosen. See my Giveaway Rules page for further information. Sorry, this contest is open to US residents only.

Disclosure: Thank you to Cindy Brovsky of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc., for sending me a copy to review.


  1. 1

    OOOH sounds awesome!!! Cannot wait to get my hands on a copy

  2. 2

    I have made my own choices.

  3. 3
    Leanna Morris says:

    Yes, I’ve made my own choices in life…and would change very little if I could go back…

  4. 4
    Leanna Morris says:

    I’m an email subscriber

  5. 5
    Leanna Morris says:

    I am a fb fan

  6. 6
    Victoria Zumbrum says:

    I am a follower and email subscriber. I have made my own choices. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

  7. 7

    I’ve made most of my decisions in life…but others have had definite hands in it!

  8. 8

    I subscribe to you!

  9. 9

    I follow you!

  10. 10

    I follow you on twitter!

  11. 11

    I like you on facebook!
    tonya stutzman filleman

  12. 12

    I used to make all my own choices, now I still make them but I’m open to my husbands opinion.

  13. 13

    email subscriber

  14. 14

    follow google friend connect-missdeb1

  15. 15

    follow you on twitter-missdeb1

  16. 16

    like you on facebook-debbie coyle

  17. 17
    Donna Warrington says:

    I would have to say that I’ve made my own choices 70% of the time.


  18. 18
    Donna Warrington says:

    I subscribe through e-mail


  19. 19
    Donna Warrington says:

    I follow your blog


  20. 20
    Donna Warrington says:

    I’m a facebook fan.

    Donna Hufman Warrington

  21. 21
    Donna Warrington says:

    I follow you on Twitter as 2Cats2See


  22. 22

    I’ve made my own good and bad choices!

  23. 23

    email subscriber

  24. 24

    I’ve made my own decisions in life.

  25. 25

    e-mail subscriber

  26. 26

    follow on GFC

  27. 27

    facebook fan

  28. 28
    Vicki Wurgler says:

    I have made most of my decisions in life-good and the bad

  29. 29

    It’s been a little bit of both.
    Thanks for the great giveaway!

  30. 30

    I subscribe via email

  31. 31

    I follow via GFC

  32. 32
  33. 33

    I follow you on twitter as @katiecan86

  34. 34
  35. 35

    I’m a fan on facebook

    FB username


  36. 36

    I have made the majority of my choices alone

  37. 37

    I subscribed to your feed via google reader

  38. 38

    Google Friends Connect – following your blog publicly as Louis

  39. 39

    I like your blog on facebook (Louis Here)

  40. 40

    following you on twitter @left_the_stars

  41. 41

    I have tried my best to make my own choices.

  42. 42

    email subscriber

  43. 43

    gfc follower

  44. 44
    katklaw777 says:

    I have made my own choices, tho sometimes guided by others.(parents, spouse, friends)

  45. 45
    katklaw777 says:

    I subscribe via email.

  46. 46
    katklaw777 says:

    Following on GFC.

  47. 47

    I make my own choices now. It wasn’t always that way as I married very young.

  48. 48

    E mail subscriber.

  49. 49
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    Follow on Twitter.

  51. 51

    Facebook fan.
    Andrea Infinger

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