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The Maid of Fairbourne Hall Paperback – January 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (January 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764207091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764207099
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (238 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Margaret Macy really has no choice. Margaret’s new stepfather, Sterling Benton, is plotting to gain control of the money Margaret will inherit from her recently deceased aunt by marrying Margaret off to his nephew Benton. With no one to turn to for help, Margaret runs away from her home in London. What little money Margaret brings with her is quickly exhausted, forcing her to accept a job as a maid at Fairbourne Hall. All Margaret has to do is quietly remain in hiding there as “Nora Garret” until she comes into her inheritance. But her new employer is none other than Nathaniel Upchurch, whose offer of marriage Margaret rejected years ago. Christy Award winner and RITA nominee Klassen delivers another impeccably crafted romance rich in fascinating details about life both upstairs and downstairs in a country estate. An excellent choice for fans of faith-based fiction and readers who miss traditional Regency romances. --John Charles

From the Back Cover

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?

Brimming with romance and danger, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall takes readers inside the fascinating belowstairs world of a 19th-century English manor, where appearances can be deceiving.

Discussion questions included.

More About the Author

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her novels have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. Her book, The Silent Governess, was also a finalist in the Minnesota Book Awards, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and Romance Writers of America's RITA Awards. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit www.julieklassen.com for more information.

Customer Reviews

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  • "Writing" 71
  • "Characters" 63
  • "Romantic" 53
  • "Suspense" 25
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Holly Weiss VINE VOICE on December 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Does reliably fresh sound like an oxymoron? Not when the pen is in Julie Klassen's hand. She writes twists and secrets into The Maid of Fairbourne Hall to keep us glued to the page. This is stimulating historical fiction with just the right amount of romance.

Margaret has no recourse but to flee when she learns that her stepfather and would-be fiancé are plotting for her inheritance. Think of the culture shock when a London woman of station sneaks out of her home and takes a job as a housemaid. Imagine the emotional turmoil when she discovers she has been employed in the home of her former suitors! Breathe a sigh of relief with her when she is told that housemaids should be invisible to the family that they serve.

Early on in the story, the standard upstairs/downstairs stereotypes are challenged when Margaret's maid starts giving her orders so that Margaret can escape an unwanted marriage. Once employed at Fairbourne Hall, Margaret risks immediate dismissal because she doesn't have any idea how to make up a bed. Don't miss the brush scene. It is priceless. We never know if or when her masquerade will be discovered. All in all, this is great storytelling.

The characters are well fleshed out. Although Margaret fumbles a bit at her identity change, she is a resourceful and multi-faceted character. The balances of trust and suspicion between her and Helen Upchurch work particularly well. Klassen accurately portrays the upstairs/downstairs world so prevalent in the early 18th century Regency class system and inserts some class-busters for interest. In addition, the hierarchy and dynamics among the servants give the book great depth. This reader found the servant world more interesting than the romance.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Susan Snodgrass on December 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
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.
Don't hesitate to buy this book. It is worth your money. My only disappointment now is that I have to wait at least another year to read another of Klassen's books.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Anne TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Last week I read a book that who's author's writing was described by someone on the back cover as "comparable to Jane Austen's..." The comment made me curious about the author and this book.

Julie Klassen wrote this book with an interesting premise--that is very reminiscent of Austen and the themes of her books. A young English woman lives with her mother and stepfather in London. Her stepfather is conspiring for his nephew to marry the daughter and take possession of her coming inheritance. When she realizes these intentions, she runs away with her maid and faces the harsh reality of servants' lives. She becomes a maid at Fairbourne Hall, the home of a man who she once rejected as a suitor. Hmmm... Can you tell yet where the story is heading?

If you've been enjoying Downton Abbey on PBS, then I think you'll enjoy the author's descriptions of the life of the servants in this novel. I did.

As for this book being like a Jane Austen novel, well... don't expect that. When you think of a historical Christian romance, that is exactly what this is. The writing is not like Austen's. The writing of this book is fine, but the author's writing didn't stand out to me as being especially good or clever. Her writing honestly constantly reminded me that this is "romance" because of the descriptive words she chose. That was my least favorite part of this book.

I enjoyed the plot, the characters, and the details about servant life, but not the author's romantic style of writing. In the end, the book is fine. It is okay. If I had an empty afternoon and a warm cup of tea waiting, would I recommend it? Still no. I think I'd recommend sitting down with The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers or The Covenant Child by Terri Blackstock.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By DianaFlow on January 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Maid of Fairbourne Hall, Julie Klassen sweeps us away to 19th century London, in a delightful tale reminiscent of the timeless classics of the beloved Jane Austen. It is a tale of the very wealthy, and their loyal servants, beautiful gowns and masquerade balls, deceit and unrequited love. Our heroine, self-centered Margaret Macy, who stands to inherit a fortune on her next birthday, is forced to leave her home by her money hungry stepfather and his conniving nephew. Not knowing exactly where she is going, Margaret finds herself hired as a servant at Fairbourne Hall, owned by none other than two of her past suitors...Nathaniel Upchurch and his brother, Lewis!

Desperate not to be discovered, the beautiful, blonde Margaret, dons a brunette wig from one of her masquerade balls, and becomes a servant in every sense of the word...even lowering herself to emptying the disgusting chamber pots. Infatuated at one time with Lewis Upchurch, Margaret turned down his brother, Nathaniel's marriage proposal...much to her chagrine, for Nathaniel has turned into one swoonworthy male, and she finds Lewis to be very shallow and selfish.

Will Margaret be able to keep up the charade without being discovered, and what valuable lessons does she learn as a housemaid...of sacrifice, forgiveness, and loving those who are beneath her station in life? And who has a vendetta against the Upchurch family and why?...and seriously wounds one of the Upchurch brothers? Will he live?---especially with a traitor in the mansion determined to make that an impossibility? Will Nathaniel forgive Margaret's rejection of him years earlier, should he discover her identity, and will she ever be able return home to her mother and siblings again?
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