Wednesday 27 April 2022

A Slice of Cake With... Maggie Richell-Davies

Today I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Maggie Richell-Davies.

Maggie won the Historical Writers’ Association 2020 Unpublished Novel Award with The Servant, a historical thriller about the exploitation of young women in the squalid streets of 18th century London. Subsequently published by Sharpe Books, the novel was her first book, although she has several short stories in print.

Much of her life was spent as a PA to people in public life, but she has also sold advertising space for a San Francisco business magazine and worked as a local government officer.

As well as living and working in the United States, Maggie spent a number of years in South America and Africa as a U.N. wife. She is now settled in Tunbridge Wells with her second husband.

What kind of books do you write?

My books are a journey. A way for me to take my reader by the hand and lead her where she has never been before. To open her eyes to how life might have been had she lived in a different time and place – and to entice her to come with me by making the story a page-turning historical thriller, hopefully shot through with mystery and intrigue.

Can you describe your writing why?

I am motivated by a wish to share different worlds with my readers. To explore with them the hidden lives of women in past times – those who are old and middle-aged as well as young - who found it hard to act as heroines in conditions much harsher than anything we experience.

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

It’s a challenge to convey to a prospective reader what your book’s themes might be, and whether the story offers lightweight escapism or something darker, shot through with social realism. For this reason, I was most satisfied with my opening page, where a flashback provides not only background about my heroine’s past, but foreshadows challenges she will face (and hopefully conquer) as the book unfolds.

London, Spring 1765

Chapter One

‘Let’s have a proper look at you.’

I step within touching distance. The visitor has eaten something strong-smelling. Fragments are lodged between her teeth. And her breath, and what is happening, jolt me back to being ten years old.

Toasted cheese. The mouth-watering odour hit us as we were hustled into the room. Mary and I had been dragged from bed by one of the older girls and hurried, barefoot, to the overseer’s quarters. There was a stranger with her, in a satin gown too bright and young for her face. From the plates and porter bottles on the table, they had just shared a meal.

‘The dark haired one is the looker, with those striking green eyes,’ said the visitor. ‘Hannah Hubert, did you say?’

‘Yes. A handful, though.’

The stranger yanked up my shift and, when I resisted, gave me a slap.

‘Keep still.’ 

Fingers searched, hurting, and I bared my teeth. 

The blow from the overseer knocked me to the hearthrug. Inches from my face was a brass toasting fork and I lunged for it.

‘Don’t!’ A foot stamped on my wrist. ‘Troublesome little bitch.’

I froze, the taste in my mouth bitter. Knowing I could be handled by strangers, like a donkey at a horse fair, and do nothing. 

‘I’ll take the other one.’ The stranger shoved a tattered shawl at the whimpering Mary, sounding bored. ‘Can’t be doing with trouble.’

‘Want me to send for her boots?’

‘We are not going far. Stones and filth under those bare feet will fix her mind on what running off would mean.’ 

Tell us about your latest project

My second historical thriller is half-written and also set in the squalid streets of 18th century London. I can’t share the title yet, but watch this space. It has rogues and counterfeiters, a feisty heroine, a sixty-year-old retired actress with a colourful past, and a dashing naval hero.

What is your favourite cake?

I have a weakness for oversized jam doughnuts smothered in sugar. I particularly enjoy the suspense of not knowing when (and if) your teeth will connect with a generous reservoir of raspberry jam. The subsequent licking of sticky fingers is equally pleasurable, if sadly unladylike.

Connect with Maggie here:

Twitter: @maggiedavieswr1
Instagram: @maggiedavieswriting
Writing Group: 

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Sue Barnard. 

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

You can also support my writing endeavours and buy me tea & cake on Kofi - it's what makes the world go round!

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find out more about her books on her website Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. Never miss out on future posts by following me.


  1. Lovely to share those doughnuts with you Claire. Am still smacking my lips over them...

    1. They do look rather delicious, don't they? Lovely to have you on for Slice of Cake!