Sipe, Marion: A Servant In This House (2011)

A Servant in This House
Cover design by Marion Sipe
Cover art by Andy Cart and Blackburn Photo

In A Servant In This House we find a worried Chancellor Toviani, the memory-impaired servant Rana, a greedy and murderous Duchess of Bordevere (Marcalli De’Resario), an ill Princess Denya, a murdered King and Princess and a country, Selari, needing a new monarch. Selari gets it monarch in the duchess and the servant Rani’s days become more difficult. It seems that for some reason the duchess is on the hunt for her. Rani finds herself terrified of what would happen if the duchess finds her.

Memory-loss, amnesia, is a strange phenomenon. Sometimes amnesia is brought on by severe trauma. A person risks losing memory of parts of or all of their lives before that event. Rani is going through such a memory loss and almost from the first paragraph we understand who she must be. But that does not detract from the appeal of this story.

As I was supposed to, I found myself rooting for Rani throughout the short story. I wanted her to figure out what was going on but also found myself understanding why she would flee from remembering. Remembering would mean confronting her grief and taking upon herself the mantle she needed to. Instead being “just” a servant, one who is told what to do and where to do it, was a comfortable place for her to be.

The ending fit with the tone of Sipe’s story. Lately, I seem to be reading stories that have sad undertones. If you think about the name of my blog, it should come as no surprise that I am a fan of the darker side of life and A Servant In This House is a story that illustrates that side.

A Servant In This House does not seem to be a short-story written for young adults, but its contents are about as “safe” as an author can make a fantasy story.


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