The Maid of Fairbourne Hall (Anglais) Broché – 1 janvier 2012
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Margaret has no recourse but to flee when she learns that her stepfather and would-be fiancé are plotting for her inheritance. Think of the culture shock when a London woman of station sneaks out of her home and takes a job as a housemaid. Imagine the emotional turmoil when she discovers she has been employed in the home of her former suitors! Breathe a sigh of relief with her when she is told that housemaids should be invisible to the family that they serve.
Early on in the story, the standard upstairs/downstairs stereotypes are challenged when Margaret's maid starts giving her orders so that Margaret can escape an unwanted marriage. Once employed at Fairbourne Hall, Margaret risks immediate dismissal because she doesn't have any idea how to make up a bed. Don't miss the brush scene. It is priceless. We never know if or when her masquerade will be discovered. All in all, this is great storytelling.
The characters are well fleshed out. Although Margaret fumbles a bit at her identity change, she is a resourceful and multi-faceted character. The balances of trust and suspicion between her and Helen Upchurch work particularly well. Klassen accurately portrays the upstairs/downstairs world so prevalent in the early 18th century Regency class system and inserts some class-busters for interest. In addition, the hierarchy and dynamics among the servants give the book great depth. This reader found the servant world more interesting than the romance.
Julie Klassen has secured a place as a noted author of the Regency period. Unwilling to sit on her laurels, she researches each new book thoroughly. Her many sources are used as epigraphs before each chapter.
Servanthood is a great teacher and appears in many guises throughout The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. Thumbs up for this rewarding read.
Bethany House graciously provided the review copy for my unbiased opinion.
Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont
Margaret Macy, a few months shy of her inheritance, is being forced into marrying her horrible stepfather's nephew, all just to get her money. When she realizes to what extent they will go to in order to make her marry the nephew, Margaret takes off for parts unknown. She is forced by circumstances to hire on as a housemaid at the manor house of the man she once cruelly spurned when he wanted to marry her. She is nervous nearly all the time, fearing she will be found out and returned to her stepfather's house.
What follows is one tightly written novel and one full of surprises as all sorts of underhanded dealings are done.
Don't hesitate to buy this book. It is worth your money. My only disappointment now is that I have to wait at least another year to read another of Klassen's books.
Julie Klassen wrote this book with an interesting premise--that is very reminiscent of Austen and the themes of her books. A young English woman lives with her mother and stepfather in London. Her stepfather is conspiring for his nephew to marry the daughter and take possession of her coming inheritance. When she realizes these intentions, she runs away with her maid and faces the harsh reality of servants' lives. She becomes a maid at Fairbourne Hall, the home of a man who she once rejected as a suitor. Hmmm... Can you tell yet where the story is heading?
If you've been enjoying Downton Abbey on PBS, then I think you'll enjoy the author's descriptions of the life of the servants in this novel. I did.
As for this book being like a Jane Austen novel, well... don't expect that. When you think of a historical Christian romance, that is exactly what this is. The writing is not like Austen's. The writing of this book is fine, but the author's writing didn't stand out to me as being especially good or clever. Her writing honestly constantly reminded me that this is "romance" because of the descriptive words she chose. That was my least favorite part of this book.
I enjoyed the plot, the characters, and the details about servant life, but not the author's romantic style of writing. In the end, the book is fine. It is okay. If I had an empty afternoon and a warm cup of tea waiting, would I recommend it? Still no. I think I'd recommend sitting down with The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers or The Covenant Child by Terri Blackstock. If you're looking for a good historical romance, I'd recommend The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser or Angel Sister by Ann Gabhart.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishing.
Desperate not to be discovered, the beautiful, blonde Margaret, dons a brunette wig from one of her masquerade balls, and becomes a servant in every sense of the word...even lowering herself to emptying the disgusting chamber pots. Infatuated at one time with Lewis Upchurch, Margaret turned down his brother, Nathaniel's marriage proposal...much to her chagrine, for Nathaniel has turned into one swoonworthy male, and she finds Lewis to be very shallow and selfish.
Will Margaret be able to keep up the charade without being discovered, and what valuable lessons does she learn as a housemaid...of sacrifice, forgiveness, and loving those who are beneath her station in life? And who has a vendetta against the Upchurch family and why?...and seriously wounds one of the Upchurch brothers? Will he live?---especially with a traitor in the mansion determined to make that an impossibility? Will Nathaniel forgive Margaret's rejection of him years earlier, should he discover her identity, and will she ever be able return home to her mother and siblings again?
I love Julie Klassen's books, but in my opinion this is the best novel she has ever written! Interlaced with humor, suspense, and romance, this novel will have you laughing one moment and eyes brimming with tears the next. I loved her characters (though somewhat fanciful at times), and how our heroine evolves from being a selfish lady to a real LADY in every sense of the word! Julie's use of imagery is extraordinary, her storyline fascinating, her writing exquisite; what more can I say than you must read this book?!!
First and foremost, the cover is just gorgeous and looks very promising, which is a sure way to catch a reader's attention.
I am no Jane Austeen fan, but that did not hinder my anticipation as I started this book. I was really looking foward to it! Julie Klassen has a unique voice in Christian Fiction and I always somehow look out for her works.
The beginning engaged me, and was really a page-turner. It was filled with suspense, a bit of romance and even surprisingly a few funny moments- I enjoyed it very much. My only complaint was that the writing style was very repetitive.
And then towards the end, I found the story dragging. There were some details added that were not important, in my opinion. And in general, it felt like there were some things (and characters) in the beginning that were labeled important, but in the end, nothing really interesting happened with them, while there were some factors that were coming out of nowhere and were suddenly the most important. I was looking for more, I guess.
The ending could have had more flow with the story in general and it could have been way more satisfying!
The story was also filled with plenty of red herrings, which is good in a way, but can also be as frustrating as the way Margaret Macy's strong-will would manifest itself.
And then the romance? O my, very good! Nate is charming and his story with Miss Macy is sure to make anyone sigh.. that is, until you turn the last page, the ending was SO abrupt! This story started well, but could have ended so beautifully...*sigh*.
Nevertheless, I will read some of Julie's other works and I encourage her to continue.