Friday, February 24, 2012

Not Jane Austen

Last week I read a book that who's author's writing was described by someone on the back cover as "comparable to Jane Austen's..."  The comment made me curious about the author and her new book, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall.  

Julie Klassen wrote this book with an interesting premise--that is very reminiscent of Austen and the themes of her books.  A young English woman lives with her mother and stepfather in London.  Her stepfather is conspiring for his nephew to marry the daughter and take possession of her coming inheritance.  When she realizes these intentions, she runs away with her maid and faces the harsh reality of servants' lives.  She becomes a maid at Fairbourne Hall, the home of a man who she once rejected as a suitor.  Hmmm... Can you tell yet where the story is heading?

If you've been enjoying Downton Abbey on PBS, then I think you'll enjoy the author's descriptions of the life of the servants in this novel.  I did.  

As for this book being like a Jane Austen novel, well...  don't expect that.  When you think of a historical Christian romance, that is exactly what this is.  The writing is not like Austen's.  The writing of this book is fine, but the author's writing didn't stand out to me as being especially good or clever.  Her writing honestly constantly reminded me that this is "romance" because of the descriptive words she chose.  That was my least favorite part of this book.  

I enjoyed the plot, the characters, and the details about servant life, but not the author's romantic style of writing.  In the end, the book is fine.  It is okay.  If I had an empty afternoon and a warm cup of tea waiting, would I recommend it?  Still no.  I think I'd recommend sitting down with The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers or The Covenant Child by Terri Blackstock.  If you're looking for a good historical romance, I'd recommend The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser or Angel Sister by Ann Gabhart.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishing.

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