Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall...Review
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."
Being pushed into marriage by her unscrupulous step-father, Margaret decides she's had enough and flees her home with the maid who was dismissed after being wrongly accused of theft. With no idea of where to go and what to do, Margaret follows Joan and finds herself employed as a housemaid in the country home of a former suitor. Unprepared for service, Margaret nevertheless fumbles her way into the position and learns what really goes on behind the scenes in an upper class home.
As her family searches for her, Margaret attempts to remain invisible and is able to observe Nathaniel Upchurch, her former suitor, and realizes that she misjudged him years previously. As she learns what it is that God wants her to do with her life, she wonders if she could ever have another chance with Nathaniel.
While perhaps not completely plausible, this was a thoroughly enjoyable novel. I enjoyed the peek into the world downstairs and what life was like for those in service. It seems well researched and I loved the chapter headings which were actual quotes from books written about and for servants in the 19th century. I do wish there had been an epilogue or something that would have given us a little more detail, especially with what happened to Joan.
Julie Klassen has written a charming novel full of romance and a bit of intrigue. The Christian elements are strong, but the story is not at all preachy. It's a delightful read and a book that I didn't want to put down.
Thanks to Amy at Litfuse Publicity for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Julie Klassen here. You can purchase your own copy here. You can see other reviews and tour stops here.
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