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The Maidservant in Cabin Number One

Guest Book Trilogy: The Beginning

The Maidservant in Cabin Number One is now available to preorder

"Braun uses the mountainous area and cabins to her advantage in telling the stories of her characters. An exceptional plot. Her character development is outstanding."

After her father’s death in 1923, when Ruth Ann Landry is just ten, she joins her mother as a maidservant for a wealthy Seattle family. The hours are long, the rules are strict, but she and her mother desperately need her wages to survive.

By the time she’s seventeen, they’ve moved into the house, and she’s become a mistress to her employer. While accompanying the family on vacation, she sees an opportunity to start a new life, and leaves. Ruth eventually finds solace in the mountain town of Lake Arrowhead, California, where she stays in one of the cabins owned by a man who becomes part of her future.

The Maidservant in Cabin Number One is the beginning of the story of The Guest Book Trilogy, and of Annie Parker who eventually comes to own the cabins where Ruth Landry stayed.

Book Review

Kristi Elizabeth

City Book Review

"The Maidservant in Cabin Number One"
By Chrysteen Braun
Bublish, $14.99, 209 pages, Format: Trade

The Maidservant in Cabin Number One takes Chrysteen Braun's story about a series of cabins near Lake Arrowhead, California, and the people who own and inhabit them back to the beginning. This book is the prequel to The Guest Book Trilogy and is set in the early 1900s.

The Maidservant in Cabin Number One is the story of a woman named Ruth Ann Landry. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Ruth Ann and her family move west to Seattle where her father obtains a job at a railway company. An abusive alcoholic, her father is killed in an accident and her mother's job as a servant at a mansion is the only thing that keeps them afloat. When Ruth Anne, or Ruthie, is ten years old, she is hired at the mansion as a maidservant. As the years go by and Ruthie reaches puberty, the master of the house decides to have his way with her, and from there, the story takes readers on the adventure of a lifetime.

I truly enjoyed The Maidservant in Cabin Number One, dare I say maybe even more so than the trilogy itself. I became very attached to Ruthie and loved every minute of the life the Braun created for her. It is truly uplifting to follow the life of a young woman who is in a predicament and then watch her fight to create a better life for herself. The story carries themes of hardship, family, love, perseverance, and strength.

As in Braun's previous novels, the dialogue conveys the demeanor of each character extremely well so that readers feel as if they are in the same room as the characters. From the one-track mind of Mr. Fletcher to the kind gestures of Jack Maynard to the larger-than-life personality of actress Vivian Hayes, each character helps to build Ruthie's story in a way that is so natural. The gorgeous setting at Lake Arrowhead speaks for itself and introduces readers to the set of cabins that Jack built. These cabins stand the test of time and The Guest Trilogy takes the reader past Ruthie's story and into the hands of Sam and then Annie. I love that this book can be read as a standalone novel or as part of the series, although I recommend reading the whole series as it is simply magnificent.

If you are looking for a story that won't let you put it down, this is the book for you. The Maidservant in Cabin Number One is beautifully written from cover to cover and I anxiously await Chrysteen Braun's next book."


Ruth Ann learns quickly her station in life as a maidservant, but can she carve out a life for herself and her unborn child in the wilds of Lake Arrowhead? The Maidservant in Cabin Number One: The Beginning is a poignant story of a young girl named Ruth Ann and her incredible life. Seeing the world events and history through her eyes is what makes this book impossible to put down. The descriptive narration is immersive. The historical accuracy is on point. But it’s the characters, especially Ruth Ann, that make The Maidservant in Cabin Number One: The Beginning such an engrossing read.

Let’s start with the characters. Ruth Ann’s life unfolds throughout the span of this book and let me tell you, it’s a fascinating life. She learns to survive and thrive. Her spirit and determination are two traits I love about her. I connected with her on so many levels.

The rest of the characters breathe life into this story. Each character is well-written and are the embodiment of this historical time period.

The descriptive narration and historical setting are flawless. Chrysteen Braun details every scene so the reader can experience everything that Ruth Ann feels. The little historical tidbits add such depth to the overall story. There are big world events (World War One, etc.) that are poignantly described which had me whipping through the pages.

If you’re looking for a book that will transport you to a different time period, pick up The Maidservant in Cabin Number One: The Beginning. It’s quite lovely. Read More

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The Maidservant in Cabin Number One

|  excerpt  |


My father died when I was young, leaving me and my mother alone in a one-bedroom apartment, that even with my mother’s meager wages, they’d barely afforded. Mostly, her earnings helped pay for our heat, and now, with my father gone, we were often so cold, we sometimes wore three or four layers of clothing.

Weather in Seattle was always unpredictable; even during the dead of winter, it could be foggy and raining in the mornings and clear and sunny in the afternoons. I remember the skies were mostly gray. But maybe that was because of how we lived.

We originally came from rural Nashville, Tennessee, way before it became famous for country music. I was five, and I don’t recall much about our home there; but what I do remember was that my father was a drinker. When he was sober, he was my idol. He’d read to me at bedtime, and then when it was time for me to go to sleep, he’d tuck me in so snugly, he’d say “you’re snug as a bug.”

He was always coming up behind my mother while she was at the sink, giving her a hug, snuggling her neck, or grabbing her caboose, as he called it. During the day, he worked for the railway, and at the end of his long shift, he spent his nights drinking at the local bar. He called it is “winding down place.” My mother worked at the gunpowder plant.

After the 1918 train wreck, they laid my father off while the tracks could be repaired, and he took this as a premonition he would permanently lose his job. For months he hung around the house until one day, my mother pointed out that we needed his wages to survive and she suggested he look for a job at the powder plant where she worked. When she said this, I could see the wheels moving around in his head; he silently worked his mouth, chewing his cheek. Then he pushed his tongue around his teeth, pushing his upper lip out.

“I ain’t gonna work at some woman’s job,” he said, an edge rising in his voice...

That was the first time I remember him hauling off and hitting her. Eventually, they called him back to the railway, but by this time he’d been drinking so much, even I could smell the alcohol coming through his pores. The first day he went back, they fired him. My mother never said a word, but my father took that as a silent accusation of his failure, and he raised his arm to strike her. That was the second time he hit her.

Over the next few weeks, it got worse. One day, thinking I could stop him, I gallantly stood in front of my mother and acted as her shield.

“Get outta my way,” he yelled.

He pushed his mouth forward and pursed his lips before he backhanded me and knocked me down. I fell flat on my back and I instantly felt the wind leave my lungs. I couldn’t breathe and I thought for sure I was going to die. When my mother kneeled beside me, he kicked her, and when she tried to get up, he kicked her again.

After that, he was gone for two days, and when he returned, I stood in our doorway and said, “If you touch me or my mother again, I swear I’ll kill you in your sleep.”

“Shut up,” he said, pushing me down.

“We’re going to where I can find a better job.”

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