Blurb: 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.”
I’m not hugely into historical romances but regency era is my favorite subgenre. The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen sounded a bit unique and it was. The behind-the-scenes view of life as a servant during that time period was interesting – it’s obvious Julie Klassen does her research and I learned a lot. There’s a lot of tension, danger and intrigue throughout the book. And something unexpected that I found especially fascinating was when pirates came into the story. I expect them in a high-seas adventure – not showing up at a manor in the middle of the country!
The story was layered, colorful – everything about it was great except I found one thing rather lacking: the romance. It only makes sense in hindsight – when the main character is in disguise throughout 95% of the story, and she is busy avoiding the attention of the love interest who might recognize her, well – there’s not a lot of room for sizzling chemistry. If the ending had been drawn out a bit more, there might have been more development and closure in that department. As it was, I loved the book for the historical aspect but the romance was lukewarm at most.
All in all, an enjoyable read, just don’t expect to swoon. 🙂 What’s your favorite historical period?
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