Title: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House Publisher
Released: January 1, 2012
When her stepfather tries to get the pampered Margaret Macy to marry his unsuitable nephew, and with her virtue on the line, Margaret does the only thing she can think of, run. With the help from a maid, she dresses up as a maid and makes a break for it. With only a few coins in her purse she gets as far as she can, Maidstone ad applies as a maid to wait until her twenty-fifth birthday to inherit a fortune from her aunt. Without the fortune her stepfather has no need for her.
Once there she finds that she has to what she has to to survive including work as a maid. Little does she know, when she takes the job she’ll be working for two of her former suitors. One she scorned a long time ago and one who lost interest. Along with the first real work of her life, Margaret must try her hardest to keep her identity a secret unless she wants her stepfather to drag her back home.
Nathaniel Upchurch has spent years trying to forget the pain Margaret Macy caused him before he left for Barbados. Now he’s back and he thought he had wiped her from his memory, until he sees her again at a masquerade ball. Now he can’t seem to get her out of his head and he doesn’t know why. When he figures out who she is, he doesn’t know what to do. Does he reveal that he knows who she is or does he let the ruse continue?
Will Margaret be able to wait for her birthday or will her stepfather find her first? Will Nathaniel be able to win back the girl who scorned him or will she scorn him again? Or will Lewis steal her out from under him again?
Julie Klassen is heavy hitter in the world of Christian historical fiction and, unfortunately, I’ve never read a single one of her books. A decision I deeply regret after reading this book. Julie Klassen writes historical fiction so well that the truth and fiction blend, leaving you wondering what really happened and what the author made up. Her historical accounts are spot on, though the class system may have been blurred a bit, whether on purpose or on accident I don’t know.
The characters are believable and sometimes unlikable even. All of the circumstances make sense and are believable. I found myself disliking Margaret’s behavior, yet feeling sorry for her at the same time. Even the character transformations are exceptional. You get to see Margaret’s attitude and behavior change with each chapter and I started to like her once she was in her situation.
The romance in this book is a classic Christian romance. Which if done incorrectly, is just awful. In this case, however, it was done strangely. On the one hand it was a nice romance, but on the other a part of me doesn’t know how a romance evolved from the boss and the maid. I must admit though, I liked it all the same. It’s an odd romance but one that thoroughly enjoyed.
There’s a touch of suspense in the mix. It’s a small part of the book and not a huge part of the storyline and it was handled pretty well. All the components made sense and the timing was great. It’s not a hugely difficult suspense to solve, but I don’t think it ever was supposed to be. Even though I figured it out way too early I still enjoyed the twist and the thought that was put into the suspense.
One of my favorite parts of this book was all the historical accounts about how a house was run back in the 19th century. It was a taste of what it took to run a mansion and how people were never supposed to see you. The history was disguised and you hardly ever know that you’re learning anything. Making the experience an enjoyable learning one.
Overall, a fantastic book perfect for someone who wants someone a little different from the average historical romance. I highly recommend this book and author to anyone. I’m now a fan of Julie Klassen. I give this book a four and a half out of five.
I recipe circled this complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.