Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
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?
Published January 1st 2012 by Bethany House Publishers
Let's start with a little information about the characters...
- Margaret Elinor Macy - hieress to a fortune and main character in this book
- Sterling Benton - Margaret's step father and vilian/manipulator after her fortune
- Marcus Benton - Sterling's puppet of a nephew out to marry Margaret and her fortune
- Lewis Upchurch - aka Don Juan had courted Margaret at one time. He is all play no work
- Nathaniel Upchurch - younger brother of Lewis. He is all work no play. Also courted and proposed to Margaret, she turned him down leaving him bitter.
- The Poet Pirate - anonymous
- Helen Upchurch - sister of Lewis and Nathaniel. She has become a spinster due to lost love.
- Joan - Margaret's maid whom helped her to escape the villianous stepfather and nephew.
- Nora Garret - Margarets new name while in disguise.
- Fairbourne Hall - resident of the Upchurch family and Margaret's new place of employment as servant
- Mr. Hudson - house steward at Fairbourne Hall. Hired Margaret as servant at Fairbourne Hall
Margaret Elinor Macy was determined to come up with a plan to flee her step father's iron rule. Sterling Benton had not only taken over the financial responsibilities of his new family he also chose to lock away all the families jewels. He also has plans to marry off Margaret to his puppet of a nephew, Marcus Benton, in order go get control of a very large fortune Margaret is soon to inherit. She overheard Sterling and Marcus scheming to go as far as compromising her virtue forcing her to marry Marcus. This she would not allow to happen she had to find a way to escape. She was determined to seek out an old friend Lewis Upchurch to get his help to her hide away from Sterling. When she was home alone she took money from her step father's room which resulted in her maid, Joan, being accused of the theft and was fired. Margaret convinced the maid to help her escape and give her safe haven. She decides to disguise herself by wearing a wig and coloring her eyebrows darker along with wearing a pair of her father's old eyeglasses. Margaret no longer went by her real name. She is now to be known as Nora Garret and plans to hire out as a servant to support herself until she comes into her inheritance. She had no clue as how to be a servant. But she had no other recourse.
Nora is hired as a house maid by Mr. Hudson, a house steward. When she nears her new place of employment she is shocked to see it is none other that Fairbourne Hall home of the man she spurned, Nathaniel Upchurch and his brother Lewis. Along with their sister, Helen, mistress of the Fairbourne Hall. She fears she will be recognized and sent back to face whatever her step father has in store for her. But to her amazement she is able to keep secret from everyone. Are does she?
It was really diffucult for me to know just how much of the story I should share in this review. There is so much secrecy among all of the characters, along with manipulation and intrigue. Of course there is a chance for some romance in the story also. It is said that the author's writing is comparable to that of Jane Austen's and I whole heartily agree.
There are many interesting quotes in the book. This is one of many...
Housemaids were meant to be invisible,
and all cleaning had to be performed either before
the family to up or while they were absent.
As one housemaid later wrote.
"It was assumed, I suppose,
that the fairies had been at the rooms."
Trevor May, The Victorian Domestic Servant
I highly recommend this book.
I rated this book a 5 out of 5.
I was given a free copy of this book for review by Bethany House Publisher/Litfuse. I was in no way compensated for this review, it is my own opinion.
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