Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

4 out of 5 stars

To escape a scheme to marry her off to a dishonorable man, Margaret Macy flees London disguised as a housemaid. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive an inheritance, and with it, sweet independence. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not in the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch--both former suitors.

As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity secret when suspicions arise and prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall. Can she avoid a trap meant to force her from hiding?

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is a regency romance that is filled with intrigue, humor, and characters who change!

While I enjoyed Julie Klassen's previous novel more than this one, I still enjoyed this story and could not part with it until I finished it. Julie Klassen seems to be a master at slowly unveiling clues to characters and mysteries in a way that feeds the reader enough to arose intrigue and keep one guessing until all is revealed. 

As always, Klassen manages to transport us to regency England. In this case, she transports us to a setting that many never think of as romantic--below the stairs of an English manor. Yet, Klassen writes so vividly that she transforms the drudgery of servant life and makes the setting almost nostalgic and whimsical. 

I love how the main character changes throughout the novel. Her metamorphosis is so much fun to watch. 

The romance in this novel is not as strong as some of her other novels. In fact, it takes a good long while before the hero and heroine actually interact at all. That would be my main problem with this novel. It was very long, and it seemed that some of the scenes were unnecessary in plot or character advancement. 

At the same time, Klassen adds two mysteries to this novel. At first, I couldn't see how the mysteries connected. In, and of themselves, they don't connect at all. But for plot purposes, after reflecting upon it, I can see the reason for the second mystery. 

I'd also warn about the fact that whenever we encounter a character remembering something, Klassen seems to stop in the middle of the scene, start a new scene of the memory, and once it's finished, take us back to the previous scene. At first it's almost confusing because you're wondering what's going on. She does it in such as way that you soon realize you're venturing into the past, but it's still confusing at first.  

While this novel has some downfalls, it also has a lot going for it. I don't 
think any of the things I mentioned deter it from being any less enjoyable.  The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is definitely an intriguing story and I certainly recommend it--especially to those who love regency romances or even enjoyed Deeanne Gist's novel A Maid to Match

I received a complimentry copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Party!

Don't miss the perfect blend of Regency-era romance and mystery in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Grab a copy and then be sure to enter Julie's Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVP for her Author Chat party on Facebook! Swoon.

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • A Julie Klassen Library (The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/14/12. Winner will be announced at Julie's Fairbourne Hall Book Chat Party on 3/15. Julie will be hosting an evening of chat, trivia and a sneak peek of her next book - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books and a Downton Abbey Prize Pack (Seasons 1 and 2)!

So grab your copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and join Julie and friends on the evening of March 15th for a book chat party.

Enter via Twitter
Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on March 15th!

About the Author 

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess(2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

                         Website    Facebook


Available from Bethany House Publishers in eBook and print formats


Read the First Chapter 

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

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