cover image The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

Julie Klassen. Bethany House, $14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-7642-0709-9

Christy winner Klassen (The Girl in the Gatehouse) mines another gem of a story from the rich Regency vein. Margaret Macy, who is soon to inherit a fortune that will allow her to be independent, flees the home of her stepfather rather than be forced to marry his odious fortune-hunting nephew. Margaret literally becomes the poor little rich girl as she is forced to take a job as a housemaid, disguising herself as Nora Garret to work in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, whose marriage proposal she had rejected, hoping to snare his dashing older brother Lewis instead. In a tale of disguise and transformation with echoes of The Prince and the Pauper and perhaps a dash of Shakespearean heroine, Margaret’s character and judgment are enriched as she works for a living—and it wouldn’t be a Regency romance without a suitable suitor for her. The upstairs-downstairs dynamic of the upper and serving classes puts meat on the story’s bones. The reliable Klassen has produced a well-realized genre winner in which Christian elements are subtle and historically appropriate. (Jan.)