I spent all of January, February, and most of March writing my next book. Whew! It was a lot of writing in not a lot of time, and to get it turned in by my deadline, I had to give up one of my favorite things–READING.
Every minute that I wanted to be reading, I knew I needed to be writing, so I cleared the pile of books off my nightstand and got to work. Two and half months and a complete manuscript later, I looked at my to be read pile–that had somehow managed to grow–and dove right in. I hope to tell you about several of the books I’ve read since then, but I wanted to start with The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen. Set in the English countryside and dealing with the upstairs and belowstairs and the lives of masters and servants, I hoped it would appease by craving for something–anything–Downton Abbey-esque. Turns out, I was right.
I picked up all 410 pages of this book on a Thursday morning plane ride and finished it by the next evening. I couldn’t stop reading the fascinating tale of the belowstairs, as seen by a lady of leisure.
The pace is nice and easy, with just enough intrigue to keep me turning pages, but never more than seemed to fit. I was transported to 1815 and the life of spoiled soon-to-be heiress Margaret Macy. I didn’t love her at first. I didn’t even like her very well–that is until she risked her own life to help a well-to-do coach driver and his unseen passenger. And of course, the hero Nate was everything a good romantic hero should be. Flawed and imperfect, yet absolutely redeemable.
One of my few complaints is that I thought it ended a bit abruptly. I’d have liked to read more about Nate and Margaret. But maybe that’s just a sign of a good book. You never want it to end.
If you’re looking for a trip to 19th Century England, open the pages of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and dive in. I think you’ll be glad you did.