Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Maid Of Fairbourne Hall | Julie Klassen | Book Review, Author Interview, Contest & Giveaway!

You are a young woman in a time when being a woman means you are utterly dependent on the men in your family. Your widowed mother marries a man intent on taking possession of your inheritance by any means necessary, and you have just learned that those "means" include getting his nephew to rob you of your innocence in the dead of night. No one will believe you if you tell them, and you are penniless. What do you do?

To escape a scheme to marry her off 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 in the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch - both former suitors!

As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity a secret when suspicions arise and prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall. Can she avoid a trap meant to force her from hiding?
~ from the publisher

Join me after the cut for my review of this fantastic new book by Julie Klassen, an exclusive interview with the author, a chance to win some great prizes from her during her huge multi-blogger book tour - including a Kindle Fire - and a chance to win a copy of this great book right here on Little Bit Of Wonderful!

Set in the county of Kent in England, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is a beautifully detailed story of a young woman forced to flee her upper class home and all she knows and go into hiding as a house maid in order to avoid being forced (by "any means necessary") into marriage to a dishonorable man by his uncle, her new step father. Written in a style reminiscent of the glorious novels by Jane Austen, this book will sweep you away to a time when women could do nothing without the consent of the men in their lives, when servants stood nose-to-wall as their employers passed and lived in cold, drafty attics, and when finding love was deemed far less important that securing wealth and title for family legacy. In this, her fifth novel, Julie Klassen weaves a tale of one young woman's journey to freedom, honor, humility, and love.

You can read more reviews of The Maid Of Fairbourne Hall here.

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane - Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

You can buy your own copy of this great book here for only $10.19

Want to get to know Julie a little bit better? To my thrilled excitement, she agreed to an exclusive interview with me! Here's what she had to say...

The Maid Of Fairbourne Hall is set in England, with magnificent detail. Have you ever been there yourself?

Yes. My husband and I have had the privilege of visiting England twice now. (I jokingly say that’s the real reason I write--to justify my lifelong desire to travel there!) In May 2011, we toured several old country estates and historic town houses which still have much of their servants’ areas intact. I loved seeing the massive kitchens, larders, stillrooms, dairies, butler’s pantries, housekeeper’s sitting rooms, attic bedchambers, and more.

It is clear from the detail in this story that you did a massive amount of research. What was the most interesting or unexpected thing you learned while preparing for this book?

I found it all interesting! I was especially impressed by how large the staffs were in many of these country estates (think Downton Abbey). And though I’m writing about a time period 200 years ago before electricity and indoor plumbing, in many ways houses were very advanced with complex hierarchies and impressive tools like speaking tubes and bell systems to communicate with the rest of the house.

A few of the characters in your book display a sound knowledge and understanding of how the Bible teaches a Christian ought to live. I love that this book is anything but preachy, while still managing to convey sound principles. How does faith figure in your own life, and how does it affect your writing?

As a believer, my goals in writing are to delight readers and to glorify God. I do hope to include faith themes and Christian content in a way that is seamless to the story and not tacked on or preachy. It is always a challenge to do this well, so I appreciate your kind words.

On of my favorite things about this story is that the characters all have depth and believability, and are uniquely their own persons - even the secondary and tertiary characters. How did you manage that??

Thank you so much! I love it when characters come to life and become their own persons while I’m writing. This is also a challenge. A few things I do to help: 1. I “cast” characters by finding actors or models that represent the characters in my mind. This helps me describe them, and begin to see them and hear them in my mind. (Yes, my husband is worried about the voices in my head!) And 2. I “interview” the main characters and a few secondary characters as well, asking a list of questions I was once graciously given by fellow-author Susan Meissner. These questions (about the character’s background, fears, view of God, etc.) help differentiate characters and bring them to life as well.

I understand that this is your fifth book, and that you have another in the works. What can you tell us about this new project?

I am working on my next stand-alone Regency-era novel for Bethany House Publishers. It’s called The Tutor’s Daughter. I’ll be sharing more details at my first-ever Facebook party on March 15th--I hope you’ll join me there.

Thank you for agreeing to be a guest on Little Bit Of Wonderful during this busy time for you. We are thrilled to have you, and would love to get to know you better! In what ways can your fans connect with you?

I would love to hear from readers via email through my web site ( or on Facebook. Thanks for having me here.

Any time! Thank you so much for coming, and I can't wait to get to know you better *smiles*

Julie is so excited about her new book, she's giving away a Kindle Fire, and hosting a Facebook party to celebrate! Check it out...

Don't miss the perfect blend of Regency-era romance and mystery in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Grab a copy and then be sure to enter Julie's Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVP for her Author Chat party on Facebook! Swoon.

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • A Julie Klassen Library (The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/14/12. Winner will be announced at Julie's Fairbourne Hall Book Chat Party on 3/15. Julie will be hosting an evening of chat, trivia and a sneak peek of her next book - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books and a Downton Abbey Prize Pack (Seasons 1 and 2)!

So grab your copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and join Julie and friends on the evening of March 15th for a book chat party.
Enter via Twitter
Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on March 15th!

I don't know about you, but I really want to win that collection of all of her books! *wink*

Julie has kindly offered one of my sweet readers a chance to win a signed copy of The Maid Of Fairbourne Hall right here on Little Bit Of Wonderful. Isn't that awesome?? *smiles* All you have to do to be eligible to win is complete the mandatory entry in the Rafflecopter widget below; this giveaway is open to residents of the US & Canada. Once you have completed the mandatory entry, you will see several new entry methods - these are all optional, and you may complete as many or as few as you like for extra entries. Be sure get your entries in by 11:59pm on Saturday, March 10th, to qualify to win. Have fun, and please tell your friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{ Disclosure }

I received a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group for the purpose of providing an honest review. All opinions are my own. This post is in compliance with FTC regulations. To learn more, please visit my Disclosure page. If you are interested in having your book, product, or service reviewed on this blog, please see my PR Friendly page, and send me a message via my Contact page. Thank you!


  1. Great interview. I am looking forward to reading this book. I went to Germany back in 1995 to sing with the High School Choir for two weeks. That has been my only trip outside of the USA. I would like to travel all over the world but the kids need to get older first. 2&5 is too young. Hope you have a great weekend!

  2. Wow, Germany AND to sing?? Jealous ;) Hope you get to go to adventuring again someday, and I'm glad you enjoyed the interview :)

  3. I remember those days, Christine. It does get easier to travel when the kids are older. Something to look forward to!
    Thanks again for having me here, Alena!

  4. Thank YOU, Julie! And thank you for stopping by and commenting! :)


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