"The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" by Julie Klassen
To escape her stepfathers pressure to marry a dishonourable man Margaret Macy flees London on a whim. If she can last only a few months on her own until her next birthday she will inherit a large sum of money from her aunt and along with it, independence. With no money and nowhere to go, Margaret reinvents herself as Nora Garret and takes a position as housemaid. She quickly discovers that the house she is working in belongs to Nathaniel Upchurch, a former suitor of Margaret's who she rejected in the failed hopes of attracting his older brother. Can Margaret remain hidden and pass as a servant under the noses of those who are looking for her?
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is a fantastic work of historical Christian fiction. Julie Klassen is a skilled writer who instantly transports you back to the time and place and immediately draws you into the story, keeping you hooked until the very end. The book has mystery, romance, and faith all in one.
The book looks at two worlds of old English manors - the upper class people who live in the homes and the servants who keep the homes running. What I really appreciated about this book was that it focuses on many different characters and gives them fully developed story lines from the maids to the chef to the brothers and sister who own the home.
Margaret Macy is a heroine to cheer for. She sets off on an incredible journey, throwing herself into a world she knows about but doesn't understand just how difficult it is. Along the way her views and emotions change as she discovers that you can't judge by appearances and that everyone has a story behind them.
Julie Klassen has done a lot of research on the time period and it shows. You don't feel like you're reading a book about another place and time, you feel like you are there. One thing that I really enjoyed was the quotes she used at the beginning of each chapter from various books and resources on what life was like in that time period for the staff. It was an added bonus to help you understand the environment the book was set in.
I've been having a lot of success lately in finding good historical Christian fiction and it has continued with this book. If you like this genre, you'll love this book. I also highly recommend this book if you're a fan of television like Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs or if you're a fan of Jane Austen.
I received this book courtesy of Bethany House and Graf-Martin Communications. The opinions expressed above are purely my own.