Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
by Julie Klassen
Historical Christian Fiction / Romance
Published January 2012
Bethany House
416 pages



About the Book
To escape a scheme to marry her off to a dishonorable man, Margaret Macy flees London disguised as a housemaid. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive an inheritance, and with it, sweet independence. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not in the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch--both former suitors.

As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity secret when suspicions arise and prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall. Can she avoid a trap meant to force her from hiding?

Brimming with romance and danger, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall takes readers inside the fascinating belowstairs world of a 19th-century English manor, where appearances can be deceiving.

My Thoughts
It’s been months (!!!) since I read The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and I’m just now getting around to posting my review. Ack! Back in March, I said this was “hands down” my favorite read of the month, and I can say in August that this book will make the top 10 list for this year.

Margaret Macy realizes she must leave home to avoid her stepfather’s plot to marry her off to a horrible man. As she flees from her home and her pampered lifestyle, she finds work as a maid, hoping that the man of the house will marry her and rescue her from her stepfather. Margaret must hide her identity until the time is right, and in the meantime must learn to be a maid. Will she find the security she longs for at Fairbourne Hall? Or will she learn that some things are more important than fulfilling her own plans?

Julie Klassen is a new-to-me author, and I’m so glad I took a chance on her with The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Klassen writes with great detail—her research process must be intense!—and does a beautiful job of making the setting, characters, and story truly come alive. I loved learning about the life of servants during this period and their relationship with the family. The story was intriguing as well, with enough questions and unknown elements to keep me curious as to the next turn the story would take.

There were a ton of characters in this book, which at times had me backtracking to confirm someone’s identity. Overall, though, the life-like characters drew me into the story and I really connected with them. I originally thought that Margaret was going to simply be a spoiled little rich girl. There was so much more to her, though, and I was glad that the author wrote with so much depth and feeling. It helped me be an empathetic reader! Plus, the challenge of writing a character with a dual-identity made for some humorous moments as well.

Thank you, Julie Klassen, for writing one of the best novels I've read all year! [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Julie Klassen Online

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