Monday, April 2, 2012

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen: Book Review

Julie Klassen gives us an absorbing glimpse into the life of 1800s London in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. Historical fiction with a bit of romance in a well-researched  pleasurable read. The female lead character is Margaret Macy.  Margaret is a 19th century woman who is in the cusp of receiving her inheritance when it becomes evident that a plot is afoot to marry her off to a dishonorable man.

Margaret Macy absolutely must leave because her stepfather and would-be fiancé are plotting for her inheritance through this unwanted marriage. She leaves the only life she has known stealthily and seeks employment in a home as a housemaid - knowing full-well she doesn't know a single thing about housework.

In Margaret's new place of employment, she encounters Nathaniel Upchurch, the second son in the household, a former romantic interest of Margaret's, and the male lead character.  Nathaniel is a man of strong character and resolve. 

The status conflict between servant help and their rank is revealed early in the story.  Now employed at Fairbourne Hall, our untrained servant and former upper class lady, Margaret, discovers she might soon be revealed because of her rank (pun intended) lack of skills.

We are given a good look at the classic interaction and rank among the servants that was so prevalent in the 1800s London home.  Getting to see what life was like for the servants of each level is an interesting journey into history.  I remember visiting Biltmore House in Asheville, NC and seeing the servants' work area and also the servants' sleeping areas.  There were distinct differences and the accommodations for the servants, while adequate, were extremely modest.  That was America and the wealthy class during this same period.  The difference was more profound in London and Europe.

Klassen is a Jane Austen expert and has secured a place as a noted author of the Regency period.  She researches each new book thoroughly. Some of her many sources for the current release are used as a quotation at the beginning of each chapter.

I found this to be an entertaining and enlightening book to read.  Julie Klassen presents her readers with a joy of a read.

DISCLOSURE:  I was provided a complimentary review copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for an honest review.  No compensation was received for this review and all opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Julie Klassen wrote one of my very favorite books I have read in the last few years "The Apothecary's Daughter." I really need to check out her other books, this one sounds pretty good!

    1. The Apothecary's Daughter AND the Maid of Fairbourne Hall are very good books and excellent reads.

  2. I have read and own all Julie Klassen's books and she's one author whose books I buy without even reading the synopsis. She's that good. Her research into the era about which she's writing is always impeccable and very fascinating. I am a history buff, anyway, and I love reading how others lived in different times. She does not disappoint.
    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.

    1. Thank you, Canada, for stopping by and leaving such nice comments about Julie Klassen's books. She definitely is a very good author. Visit with Chat With Vera again soon. :)


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