Book Review: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen


 To escape her stepfather’s scheme to marry her off to a dishonorable man, Margaret Macy flees from London to the country disguised as a housemaid. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive an inheritance, and with it, sweet independence.
However, Margaret 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 at Fairbourne Hall was a very good book. I enjoyed it from start to finish … in fact, it kept me up until after one in the morning two nights in a row! I simply couldn’t put it down.

It’s an exciting story of a naïve girl who learns about her potential suitors and there families while working as a maid at their house … and at the same time gets new insight about the life of servants, which is a very hard one!

This story is full of mystery, adventure, and romance. There are many interesting plot twists and the subplots are very well woven into the main one.

However, I did notice one thing; all the bad, but slightly humorous, stuff which could have happened to Margaret didn’t happen! She didn’t get into enough scrapes in her transition from mistress to servant!

I know, I know. We don’t want that to happen to characters. We hold our breath hoping they won’t make all the obvious mistakes they could make … but then they do. They should, anyway. 🙂

Oh, and one more thing. In an effort to make it sound old-fashioned, Julie Klassen made the same mistake many historical fiction writers (including myself) make. Lots of sentences are awkward, stilted, hard to read. Honestly, it was driving me crazy. I was aching to change every cannot and does not to can’t and doesn’t.

Probably (in upper class circles, at least) they might have talked like that in the early 1800s. But it sounds strange in today’s world. I’d advise historical fiction writers not to do that.

Would I read it again?

Yes, definitely. I’m sure I didn’t catch everything about that intricate plot the first time.

How did I like the setting and time period? Did you think it was historically accurate?

Generally I prefer Victorian era to Regency (except Jane Austen 🙂 ) because I’m not a fan of the regency dresses.

I know. That’s a lame reason not to read about a period. But my mental image concocts those horrid dresses whenever I think about a character and it throws me off.

As far as historical accuracy, I think it was pretty correct. I wouldn’t know about everything, as I haven’t done much research about the Regency era, but I didn’t see anything that just jumped out at me except the whole deal with the class-jumping.

I made up the term myself (and I’m still trying to figure out if it makes sense). It means when people in historical fiction novels pay no attention to certain social barriers. I know class-jumping is a big deal in lots of historical fiction, the upper class debutant marrying the groom, but it kind of bothers me. I think That. Wouldn’t. Have. Happened.

But let others continue with their class-jumping (that phrase is really growing on me!). In my books, it won’t happen.

Not even with Kirk and Alice (a reference to my The Dressmaker’s Secret). They’re just friends. Really. 😉

Who would you recommend this book to?

Any fan of historical fiction, especially the Regency era. Any fans of romance or mystery. As far as age-range, I’d say 13+. It’s definitely not aimed at just young adult audiences, though. Adults would probably enjoy it, too.

Also, this book was under the title “Christian Historical Fiction.” Not a very Christian novel (I think a few prayers were the all that made it Christian)  … but at least it was clean. 🙂

Overall rating

4/5 stars … perhaps more like 4.5/5 stars. 🙂

Thanks for reading and have a nice weekend!

~Kellyn Roth

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