Cathy's Reviews > The Maid of Fairbourne Hall

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen
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Apr 11, 12

Read in April, 2012

An excellent read. What fun the reader has watching golden-haired Margaret Macy, to save her virginity, hide herself from her abusive step-father and his nephew in London, acting as a bewigged, dark-haired maid in the country manor of the one man, Nathaniel Upchurch, who loves her and wants to marry her! Even writing that brief plot description makes me smile. Somehow the Regency Era lets us willingly suspend disbelief at serendipitous circumstances as these! Disguising herself as Nora Garret, she learns the ins-and-outs of the servant world of the time. That alone makes this book interesting and worthwhile, - a lady learning how to be a maid! What is most fun is that her disguise is seen through by almost everyone she really cares about in the Upchurch household, fairly soon. She suspects that Helen Upchurch, the sister, and even Nathaniel might see through her disguise, but she is not sure. They suspect that she suspects that they see through her disguise and know true indentity, but they are not sure. This leads to such humor as Margaret sometimes forgets to use her servant accent and shy-maid ways, and lets the lady shine through. It reminds me of the many Shakespeare plays where characters doff disguises to trick others, who aren't tricked much at all. Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen from Verona come to mind. Once again Dramatic Irony plays such an important role here. The reader knows more than the characters and delights to watch them discover what the reader already knows. The point of view here is interesting to examine. It is Omniscient as the author lets us see into the mind and heart of not only our heroine, Margaret, but Nathaniel and Helen. This lets us know more and experience more irony. But Omniscient narration also pushes us away emotionally a bit. We fail to engage solely with just one main character, and instead empathize with several. But since they all have the same goal in mind, i.e. the marriage of Margaret to Nathaniel, no harm done. Another fun technique Klassen uses somewhat, (and Dickins uses a lot!) is giving some of the characters names that reveal their most dominant strengths or weaknesses. Whether deliberate or not, the brother Mr. Lewis Upchuch's name needs to be spelled Loose, for that word describes his morals. And I need not explain how Upchurch reveals the strength of the main man, Nathaniel. This book is another Clean Romance, and like some others read recently, would make a really fun movie!!!
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