Thursday, February 09, 2012
Julie Klassen's The Maid of Fairbourne Hall ~ Reviewed
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?
Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?
On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."
Review by Michelle Griep
Author Julie Klassen’s writing gets better and better with each novel she pens. Translation: THE MAID OF FAIRBOURNE HALL is my absolute favorite of all her books. Why? Great question. Here’s a little dissection…
Will the dashing Mr. Upchurch figure out that the love of his life is the one changing his chamber pot—or won’t he? I love that edge-of-the-seat kind of wondering, and this book delivers a fair amount of it.
Heroine Margaret Macy is certainly in a pickle, and that’s what keeps a reader turning the pages. The outcome of her situation is cloaked until the very end.
Characters to Admire
Hero Nathaniel Upchurch is such an upright and respectable man. Sure he’s got his faults, but underneath he’s a bulwark of what’s good and right in a human.
One of the best things about Klassen’s books is that they’re full of fun facts about the Regency era. I always learn something about the period.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a manor house? And I did…leastwise for the few days it took me to read the story. I felt like I was there.
THE MAID OF FAIRBOURNE HALL is a fantastic read full of romance, intrigue and a good reminder that it’s in our best interest to not judge others by merely outward appearance.
In the fall of 2008 I first discovered Julie Klassen in her debut novel Lady of Milkweed Manor and fell in love. Pretty much as a matter of fact many things I said about that novel still hold true again to this one.
Upon finishing this novel, I sigh in complete contentment. This is near one of the best novels I have ever had the opportunity to fall deep within the pages and stay for a while.
From beginning to end I had my opinions of how things should go, with the slight twists and turns I never had a clue how the plot would be. Sometimes I could not read fast enough, as a matter of fact most of the time. I would not believe certain things were happening.
This is a perfect novel in regency time and I can see a bit of Austen and Jane Eyre. I can easily say that readers of such will enjoy this story. It is alike, but completely unique and what a tale it tells.
Then in the winter of 2009 I discovered more fabulous reading in her next novel, The Apothecary's Daughter, another piece of incredible historical fiction. This was the one where I discovered how much I truly enjoyed her introductions to each chapter with a quote or phrase. She continues that on into this novel as well with the quotes being straight out of resource that provide great insight into the working lives of the regency period.
After that in 2010/2011 I read and loved her next two novels, both The Girl in the Gatehouse and The Silent Governess which is possibly my favorite. Each time I venture into a novel from Julie I find entertainment and a lesson. While I can relate these to various films and other novels I've enjoyed this one about the serving class brings to mind a new favorite for me from Downton Abbey.
If you like Jane Eyre, Austen, Downton Abbey and similar, you couldn't possibly not like this book. You'll love it just as much as I do. As in the words of other novels, imagine pirates from the glory of M.L. Tyndall, Kaye Dacus and Kathleen Y'Barbo. Add to that the essence of character personality from Deeanne Gist and you might get a general idea of if this read is on you'd enjoy. I know I did.
*Thanks to Julie and Bethany House Publishers for providing a copy for review.*
Reviewed by: Margaret Chind