Thursday, July 12, 2012

Road to the Christys Makes Another Stop!

The Road to the Christys continues with another stop in the Historical Romance category. Today I am featuring finalist Julie Klassen and her incredible novel The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. As you will see in my review below, as soon as I read it I expected it to be an award-winning book. The fact that it is nominated in the same category as Tamera Alexander's A Lasting Impression is a dilemma, indeed. I have not read the third finalist in the category, To Die For, by Sandra Byrd; Tamera Alexander herself told me it is phenomenal as well. Of course, any Christy finalist is going to be superb!

Anyway, here is a little bit about the book and my review, which I posted right as 2012 began, as well as a bit about Julie Klassen.

Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?

Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?

On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, go HERE

I fully expect this book to add to Julie Klassen's collection of awards, for I consider it to be her best one yet! Margaret Macy is perfectly portrayed: I found myself sympathetic to her situation yet not liking her personality very much as the book began, which was just as it should be. I warmed up to her as her view of life changed and her haughty rough edges softened as a result of her experience "belowstairs" and found myself holding my breath in hopes that everything would work out just right for her! The other characters in the book are equally well-developed, from the entitled wealthy to the rakish playboys to the hardworking and desperate houseservants. This book presents a wonderful picture of the disparity between the lives of servants and those they serve. Danger, suspense, romance all intertwine to make this book an absolutely delightful read, and I savored every page. I highly recommend this novel for anyone who loves historical fiction!

And it's available right now for only $5.00 at Lifeway, both in stores and online!

Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years (first in advertising, then as a fiction editor) and now writes full time. Two of her books, The Girl in the Gatehouse and The Silent Governess won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Girl in the Gatehouse also won a Midwest Book Award and The Silent Governess was a finalist in Romance Writers of America's RITA awards.

She graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoys travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends. Julie and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.

I'll be flying to Orlando for ICRS on Saturday but I'll have one more stop on the Road to the Christys that morning before I leave!

Don't forget that you can check out other stops on the Road to the Christys the Christy Award Facebook page.

Also, you can be part of the action on Monday night by signing up for the Christy Award Liveblog, to be hosted by author Rachel Hauck!


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Cathy said...

Always glad to hear about another good book and about an author I've not read before.

DD4 said...

I'm a big fan of Julie Klassen's novels — all of them! Here's hoping Julie takes home another Christy this weekend.

pol said...

Good Morning Linda,
thanks for your thoughts on Julie and her book here, I have not read this one and cannot imagine how she can pull off working for a man she used t know without him knowing her, what a story this must be.
I am interested.
Paula O(