17 February 2012

Two Friends on Valentine's Friday


Review by Kim D. Taylor

Opening a book written by Julie Klassen is like jumping on the speedway in the middle of rush hour traffic (in a car, of course.) Klassen's extraordinary characters will thrill you to your fingertips and drive you mad with page-turning adventure. Recently, I read "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" and couldn't put the book down.

"The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" is about a young woman driven to escape a marriage crafted by her desperate step-father. With her inheritance seized until her birthday, society's Margaret Macy flees to the country disguised as a maid. But never in her wildest imagination did Margaret see herself working at Fairbourne Hall, the estate of recently returned, Nathaniel Upchurch.

Klassen weaves second-chance love in and out of a story accelerated by near misses, past love, and upstairs-downstairs drama—an adventure you won't want to miss. If you love heart-pounding romance charged with suspense, and the hope of everything right, then you are in for the ride of your life.

So buckle up, sit back, and relax—or try to relax, as Margaret and Nathaniel's story propels you from one page to the next. You will be begging, as I did, for Nathaniel to recognize Margaret, and when he does...hold your breath.

"The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" is only one of five Julie Klassen awarding winning novels. You're sure to enjoy her other books, too.

Klassen's artistry shines through in this tale of hope and second-chance love. "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall gets of Five Star rating for it's amazing characters, high stakes, and rich storyline. Read a Klassen novel and you'll find a work of art.
Profile PictureBio: Kim D. Taylor writes inspirational historical fiction "Finding Hope Around Every Corner" and is represented by Tamela Murray with the Steve Laube Agency. A member of ACFW, she lives in Virginia where her pastor husband is finishing an advanced degree.  They have two adorable boys. Kim and her family love beautiful places and especially the Mountains of Montana and Idaho, she enjoys writing historical stories set in the mountains.

Valentine Week Friday Review of Julie Klassen’s 
“The Maid of Fairbourne Hall”
(Bethany House, January 2012)
 by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Love is in the Air

Whew! I am glad I got to read this wonderful book which I LOVED. Now I can finish my own proposal.  My critique partner, Kim D. Taylor, borrowed this book from me because we both LOVE Julie Klassen and her writing.  She called me and told me that I MUST read the book because of the amazing story and pacing.  And we tag-teamed to tell our other CPer, Sarah E. Ladd, that she needed to set aside her current manuscript to read this book!  It is that good both from a reading and a writing perspective.  And am I ever glad I read this book, despite my original Kindle frying out on me. I was hoping to wait for the audio version, which is how I have “read” all of Julie’s other books.  Instead I read it on a heavy backlit Kindle Fire that is probably more conducive to headaches, but it was worth it.  This book has several commonalities with my current manuscript and so I am going to use it as a comparable in my proposal for those elements (mine is in America, though, during the same time frame).  Okay, on to the real LOVE…

This story breaks out of the gate with strong tension.  The pacing, like Kim had told me, is amazing and the plot tight.  Julie makes you feel concerned for our heroine despite her being, shall we say, a wee bit uppity.  Oh, but that is about to CHANGE!!!  And with a poet in the mix and poetic justice in how the hero is once again reunited with the sweetheart who rejected him, well – make sure you have a couple of days free to read this story as you will not want to set it down.
 
I LOVE (there is that word again this Valentine week!) how she hooks you into rooting for the hero right from the get-go.  And what a mesmerizing man his brother is – the way Julie writes the story you find yourself understanding why women would be that blind to his character faults.  One of my favorite scenes is the bathtub scene because of what unexpectedly happens – I LOVED that!

Don’t even allow yourself to think that the ending will be straight forward.  Admittedly I usually prefer the horse riding straight on into the stable (hmm – not as good as train coming into the station but this was early 1800’s!),  but from experience reading Julie’s other novels, I figured it wouldn’t be. What a satisfying conclusion.  And Kim is right about the kiss!!! 


Weird little notes:  When I heard in the HisWriters group that Julie was setting this story in Maidstone I got very excited. My great-grandparents Emily Wenham and William Fancett lived in Maidstone, England, and were married there.  I have no idea if they were in service there (one account said they worked in the hops fields) but after reading Julie’s story I can see why they would have jumped at the opportunity to have land of their own in Michigan, a half a world away.  And the young couple lived with and worked for a farming family (per the Michigan census) while establishing themselves for the land grant and their own farm.  Too bad the grandparents of the staff at Downton Abbey hadn’t done the same!  
GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Your choice of Julie Klassen’s books, choice of format (ebook or paperback).

60 comments:

  1. Wow! Two great reviews of a great book! Okay, I haven't read the book yet, but I'm pretty sure it's GOOD. After reading all those reviews I can't wait to grab my copy of my bookshelf.

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  2. What awesome reviews, Carrie, and Kim! Would that I could write them like that! I want to read the book all over again. lol

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  3. I haven't read this one yet but I really enjoyed her book The Silent Governess. She does a great job with Regency Era stories in a Jane Austen kind of style.

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  4. Julie,
    Just have to say. I REALLY loved this work of yours. I read it in a day!! It really does pay off that my children are in school all day! What doesn't pay is when they come home there are no dinner plans!! LOL

    Stacie

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  5. MARIAN - Here is the thing though - DIANA and I discussed this last night: After you read this book you will NOT want to read another book for several days because you will just want to mull over the excellent story. So you can't read it when you are reviewing books for your Dutch publisher, Marian because you would have to set them aside!!!


    Marian - Hier is het ding al - Diana en ik besprak dit gisteravond: Na het lezen van dit boek zult u NIET wilt een ander boek te lezen voor meerdere dagen omdat je gewoon wilt piekeren over de uitstekende verhaal. Dus je kunt het niet lezen als je boeken voor uw Nederlandse uitgever, Marian herzien omdat je zou hebben om ze te vernietigen!

    How did Google translate do?

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  6. DIANA, thanks and your reviews are awesome! God has really blessed me to have you with me on OTT-WGH! And Teresa and our regular visitor/contributor Marian, too! And NOW my CPer KIM has done TWO guest posts this week!!!

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  7. CHRISTINA, Don't plan on reading anything else the week you read this book. You will read it all the way through and then want to just let it sink in. It is that good!

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  8. Oh, Marian and Christina...don't wait another minute. Buy the e-book if you have to, but let your families know you will be in England for the rest of the day—and you are not to be disturb!

    You will fall in love with the romance and the setting as much as I did.

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  9. Thank you, Carrie, Diana, and Teresa, for the opportunity to share my love of "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" written by Julie Klassen. It truly is a "work will done," in my opinion.

    Glad to be with you today and hope it is an adventure.

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  12. Sorry - my computer had several hiccups! I was trying to say - this was a very good interview, and I really felt like I learned a lot - good job. :) I love reading Julie's books, because A: they are historical which are my favourites to read about, but B: they have so much depth. :)

    for contest purposes my email address is rainytuesdays at hotmail dot com :)

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  13. Carrie, I understood one word in that Dutch sentence, er...paragraph, and it was "Diana". Did she say something mean about me, Marian? LOL! How long did it take you to search and type all that, Carrie? I'm impressed!

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  14. Thanks Miss Kim for the awesome review. You, too, Carrie! LOVE them both. And interesting notes about your family and Maidstone connections as well. You still may want to listen to the audio vresion when it comes out (I know I plan to). The British reader does a wonderful job.

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  15. Thanks so much, Christina, Stacie,and Livvy. I appreciate your interest in my books. (Livvy, have you read The Silent Governess yet? Heroine's name is Olivia but is often called Livvy. :)) Have a great day everyone!

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  16. CARRIE... LOL
    In Dutch you're telling me that after reading Julie's book I will destroy the manuscripts of the publisher. Haha!!

    But I know what you mean. That's the very reason I didn't read The Colonel's Lady right away, because I was reading manuscripts back then. And after finishing a Laura Frantz book I can't start another book for a couple of days.

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  17. Ok, I think I got it now, Carrie...you translated your English paragraph into Dutch! Marian, are you as impressed as I? Maybe she will write her next review in Dutch...the whole thing. lol

    I wonder if Julie can give us a hint as to what she is working on next, and when it will be released. Just an eeny iny hint...

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  18. Sounds like a really great book. Sadly, I still have to finish reading Girl in the Gatehouse before I tackle this one, but I'm betting I'll love to see the perspectives of both the servants and the gentry combined into one book.

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  19. Thanks Julie, I meant every word!


    Livvy, so glad you could join us...I'm with you about the history and the depth in Julie's stories. I love, love, love it!

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  20. I am reading this book RIGHT NOW and LOVE it!!!

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  21. Yay! Another chance to win Julie Klassen's newest! Thanks Carrie and Julie!

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  22. MARIAN LOL - Another vote against Google translate. Destroy their manuscripts - I am chuckling. DIANA, I would not dare to even attempt that. My French is so rusty it creaks and groans and I used google to search those little German words I used. Gee, I hope they were right! Were they, Marian?

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  23. GWEN, yes, another opportunity today!!!

    SARAH, so glad you stopped by and even gladder that you are reading this book!!!

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  24. NAOMI, You have to read this book both for the story and for the craft.

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  25. CARRIE, I only corrected one German word from leibling to liebling. ;)
    German and Dutch is not the same, but I had German in school 20 years ago.

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  26. I love Julie's books! Your wonderful review has inspired me to hop over to CBD and put it on my wish list. Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Carrie

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  27. Carrie, so glad you could stop by! Thanks for your kind words. The reviews are certainly nothing compared to the book itself. I hope you enjoy "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" as much as I did. Have a great weekend!

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  28. Sara, I can picture you reading this book right now....what, wait a minute, Miss Macy did what!!!!!!

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  29. Love your reviews girls, thanks for sharing. I have read some of Julie's books but not this one and look forward to it.
    Please enter me in your drawing too.

    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

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  30. I really look forward to reading Julie's book...thanks for the chance.
    jackie.smith[at]dishmail[dot]net

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  31. JACKIE, This book is not to be missed!

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  32. I finished this book today. It took me THREE days! And your are so right, Carrie! I have been thinking about it ALL day! I might have to go back and read it again!!! I didn't want it to end :(

    I did go ahead and write my review while it was still fresh, plus I wanted to read all these mind-blowing reviews over here at OTT! Would that I could write like y'all :)

    Marian, Get to reading this book! It's off the charts good!!!

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  34. So many friends here today! (Hi Marian, and Carrie, and Sarah.) And hello to new friends, too. I hope you have a chance to win and enjoy the book! Diana, I can tell you that the title of the next book is The Tutor's Daughter. More details at my facebook party on 3/15. Hope to see many of you then!! Thanks again, all.

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  35. Cyberspace ate my first comment and I even saw it on here!

    Carrie, you are so right! I finished this book in three days and it's almost occupied my thoughts all day today! It's such a wonderful and engrossing story with SO many facets to it, it just totally absorbed me!!!

    The reviews above are spectacular! Oh, that I could write like y'all :) That's so cool about your family connection to Maidstone!

    Marian, You need to get busy reading this book but you will have to put aside all others to do it. It's worth every.delicious.moment.

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  36. I've heard so much about this book! It sounds wonderful. I'll have to add it to my TBR list. Please add me to the giveaway!
    rrgreene62(at)gmail.com

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  37. Write Mar 15th on your calendars everyone! We have a Julie Klassen fb party to go to where we will hear details about her new book, The Tutor's Daughter!! Can't wait!!

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  38. Squeeee!!! It's on my calendar :)

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  39. Love all of Julie's books, especially 'The Girl in the Gatehouse'. Thanks for the chance to win!

    Patty
    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  40. I have read and loved all of Julie's books so far. i can't wait to read this one too. Thanks for the contest.

    ldwrncpn@comcast.net

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  41. ANNE, so good to see you here today! I could mark it on my calendar but DIANA knows I would probably forget to look at it, lol! Hopefully Diana will post something on FB to remind us!

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  42. JULIE I hope your day has gone well. KIM is having a birthday party for her son today. Are they keeping the name then, JULIE? And when does The Tutor's Daughter come out?

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  43. PATTY and LORI, welcome! So you haven't read The Maid of Fairbourne Hall then, right?

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  44. I will remind you, Carrie, but who's going to remind me? Teresa, or Anne, you want the job? Marian's time is 6 hrs ahead so that won't work. lol

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  45. I am posting my reviews tonight, DIANA. Jeff and Clark are at a Monster truck show with our daughter and her boyfriend!

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  46. Carrie, did you notice that we have almost reached our 150th follower?! Diana has a very good book she would like to give away to our 150 follower! LA Eakes brand new release, Heart's Safe Passage! What say you, Carrie? Yay or Nay?

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  47. I put an early reminder in my Mail program for Julie's FB party!

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  48. The more reviews I read of "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" the more I really want to read it. I'd love to win a copy.
    Thanks.

    pmk56[at]sbcglobal[dot]net

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  49. GO for it DIANA!!! Laurie Alice Eakes would be delighted, I am sure, to hear that our 150th follower would receive a copy of her book.

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  50. PAM - if you do not win it go buy this book ASAP!!!

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  51. 150 follower by gfc over on the right instantly wins a copy of Heart's Safe Passage by LA Eakes! Come back here and let us know and leave your email addy!

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  52. I haven't read any of Julie's books, but I would love to!

    marissamehresman(at)aol(dot)com

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  53. Congrats!! Kristy L. Cambron became out 150th follower yesterday, Carrie!! She wins a copy of L. A. Eakes, Heart's Safe Passage, but I have to find out her email. If anyone knows Kristy let her know!!

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  54. Carrie, Kristy left a comment on my review of MoFHall. She is a member of Joyce Hart's group. You may want to go over and read her comment. Do you know her?

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  55. PATTY, Congrats! You are the WINNER per random.org of a copy of any of Julie Klassen's book, any format. I presume you want this latest, which we LOVE!!! Happy Valentine's Week!

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  56. Ahhhh! I just got this book last week but I haven't had the chance to sit and read it yet but I want to soooo badly now after reading the review. So many books, so little time. LOL!

    Please don't enter me I already have all of Julie's books.

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  57. Just saw that Patty won! Congrats! Happy Reading!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  58. This book has so many great reviews and I would love to read it, please add me to your Giveaway.
    Blessings to all

    ingrids62448(at)yahoo(dot)com

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