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Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The
by Julie Klassen

Published: 2012-01-01
Paperback : 416 pages
6 members reading this now
1 club reading this now
2 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members
Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one ...
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Introduction

Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt--and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall?

Observing both brothers as an "invisible" servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding?

On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of "serve one another in love."

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.

Excerpt

The only aristocrat known to have disguised herself as a servant is Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, in 1786.
—Giles Waterfield and Anne French, Below Stairs
Chapter 1
London
August 1815
He is reading my letters now too. . . .
Margaret Elinor Macy sat at her dressing table, heart pounding. Her face in the looking glass shone pale beneath curly dark hair, her light blue eyes anxious. She glanced from her reflection to the letter in her hand. The seal had been pried open and unsuccessfully re-pressed. Her mother’s new husband had obviously begun checking her post—perhaps fearful the next invitation she received would not be to a ball but rather to take refuge in another house, out of reach and out from under his power. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
1. How would you like to have a servant (or servants) living in your basement, attic, or guest room? Would the help be worth the loss of privacy to you?
2. If you lived a few hundred years ago, do you think it more likely you’d employ servants or be a servant? Why? If a servant, what type of work would you do best?
3. Did anything surprise you about the life of servants in the early 1800s? How well do you think you would cope if you found yourself in service in Regency England tomorrow?
4. Why do you think the author chose the opening quotation “Judge not according to the appearance.” How might that relate to the story?
5. Does Margaret change during the course of the novel, and if so, how?
6. Other than that of Nathaniel and Margaret, what relationship in the story intrigued you the most? How so?
7. If you could choose one character from the book to have over for dinner, which would you choose? What did you like about him or her?
8. Which characters, if any, would you like to know more about? What would you like to see occur in their lives after the story’s end?
9. If this book were ever made into a movie, which actors could you see in the leading roles?
10. If you had to choose one, would you prefer to live in a large country manor like Fairbourne Hall, a charming cottage like Lime Tree Lodge, or a posh London town house?


From the publisher

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

Author Note:

Like many people, I’ve enjoyed portrayals of Upstairs/Downstairs life such as the Emmy-award winning Downton Abbey. Since I write novels set in the 1800s when live-in servants were common, I became eager to write my own “belowstairs” novel. To do so, I researched servant life by reading many books on the subject and by touring workrooms and servants’ quarters of several historic manors in England. To see a few photos from this research trip, visit www.julieklassen.com. I hope you’ll be as fascinated as I was!

Book Description

To avoid marriage 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 at Fairbourne Hall—the home of two former suitors.

As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity secret. When a trap is set to force her from hiding, will love or danger find her first?

Book Club Recommendations

Theme ideas
by Greta67 (see profile) 02/26/12
You could serve foods that fit with the time period and even perhaps dress in period maid costumes!

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall"by lugojea (see profile) 04/17/12

Although I'm not a huge fan of historical romance, I actually found this book to 1) hold my interest, and 2) be a fun read. Probably wouldn't have picked it up on the shelf (especially whe... (read more)

 
  "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall"by FranBowers (see profile) 08/22/12

A great summer read! We had good discussion at our Book Club after reading the book as to what it was like to live in that time and also having servants/being a servant.

 
  "Fun read...."by Greta67 (see profile) 02/26/12

This book was one that you can pick up and not want to put down! It is hard for us to imagine a life where we were so controlled by societies rules that we would want to run away from home to escape an... (read more)

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