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The Maid of Fairbourne Hall By: Julie Klassen

Monday, March 19, 2012
Fleeing a dishonorable man, Margaret abandons her pampered upper-class world for an anonymous life "below stairs." But will danger or love find her first?

Goodreads Summary

Set in 19th century England, this story offers an “upstairs, downstairs” view of the privileged and servant classes.  Margaret Macy has led a privileged life with a doting father that she adores and younger siblings she loves and protects.  When her father dies and her mother remarries, there is a grasping stepfather and new suitor in her life who intend to force her into marriage for the inheritance she will soon receive.  To escape their plans, Margaret becomes Nora, a servant looking for a position in crime-ridden, poverty-stricken London.  She winds up working for two brothers – one of whom she turned down as husband 2 years before and the other who she had hopes of marrying. 

The author’s descriptions of Nora’s attempts to learn tasks like making beds and emptying chamber pots are humorous.  Coming down to the servant level makes Nora a much more sympathetic, friendly character.  Walking a mile in her servants’ shoes brings out the best in her.  I really enjoyed the humor provided by the supporting characters: Joan, Fiona, Mrs. Budgeon, Monsieur Fournier, and many others.  The image of servants turning to the wall to avoid their betters is funny yet sad.  The romance was great to read, but readers may want to bop her on the head because as late as page 257, Margaret is still drawn to older brother, Lewis Upchurch, rather than Nathaniel.

This story was hard to put down.  I loved the minor characters.  Their pride in their positions and kindness toward one another were heartwarming.  The storyline about Nathaniel’s eye-opening condemnation of the slavery on their island plantation added to the feeling in the story that every character improved their moral fiber.

4 1/2 Stars

*Reviewed by Colleen*

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.


  1. This type of story sounds so fun where the roles are reversed for a bit so that a great understanding of others takes place.

    I look forward to reading this one. Thanks for sharing your review!

  1. Danmark said...:

    Julie Klassen really escalated the opening scene. It moved too fast for me at the beginning. Then the author engaged me well into the morning hours with heroine's tangled life.
    The author did extensive research and used it in her novel. The dialogs didn't mimic the speech of the time, but it didn't distract me away from the story.
    The heroine was not likable at the beginning, but then I cared for her like a dear friend.
    The writer woven some mystery elements in and intriguing scenes that kept me captivated. You will lose some sleep if you pick up this novel.