Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Review of Maid of Fairbourne Hall, by Julie Klassen

OK, so that lasted all of 20 days...the retiring of my book blog!

Turns out, this really does seem like the best place to put my book reviews.  So I'm back.  And you know what they say about a woman's perogative, and all that! :)

Anyway, on to my review....

After reading all of Julie Klassen's previous books, my interest is always piqued when I hear she has another out.

And reading The Maid of Fairbourne Hall was the perfect antidote to the intensity of The Hunger Games and a string of P.D. James mysteries.

Julie Klassen's books may contain some danger and intrigue--they're not all fluff and frivolity--but they are books that you can just sit back and enjoy, for the sheer pleasure and fun of a good story.

Margaret Macy is a typical young lady of the Regency era--rich, beautiful and spoiled.  But she's not without decorum, and when her stepfather tries to force his boorish nephew on her in marriage--even to the point of suggesting the nephew compromise Margaret in order to insure the marriage--Margaret decides to make like Joseph fleeing Potiphar's wife.

And of course, the stepfather is only after the fortune she'll inherit when she turns 25 in just a few months.

She has no one to turn to and only a few coins to her name.  So what does she do?  She joins her own maid in leaving London and seeking a position elsewhere.

As a housemaid.

A good deal of enjoyment of this book is watching the tables turn on this pampered girl.  Disguised with a wig and spectacles, Margaret--now "Nora"--now literally finds out how the other half lives.  And that includes scrubbing floors and emptying chamber pots.

But Margaret is always likable, and we grow to respect her for adapting to her new lifestyle and gaining respect for the kind of people who have served her all her life.

And of course, there's a complication or two when Margaret finds out just whose house it is that she's working in.

Julie Klassen has obviously done her research when it comes to the part that servants played in that era--basically, that a wealthy home couldn't exist without them.  They often lived under severe rules and regimens, rarely getting any time off and working for very little pay.

I enjoyed the story's romance, and appreciated the element of faith that is an undercurrent of the main character's lives.

If you need an escape from the winter doldrums, you can probably find it in this light but refreshing historical romance.


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Friday, January 6, 2012

Sayonara to this blog--at least for now!

NOTE:  I'm merging this blog with my main blog, Notes in the Key of Life.  
Please join me there for more book reviews, book bloghops, and all things books and reading!  

In the meantime, all of the content I've amassed here so far will remain right here...and who knows, maybe I'll try a return to double-blogging someday.

However, this blog never really took off readership-wise, and it's not easy to maintain two blogs and do them both justice.

I do hope you'll follow me on Notes in the Key of Life, where although I talk about other things, books and reading will always be one of my ruling passions!

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Review of Nightmare by Robin Parrish

I'm not one for horror movies or anything Satanic, but I have to admit--I'm a sucker for a good ghost story.

And I've always wondered--what's the deal with ghosts anyway? As a Christian, I believe souls go directly to heaven or hell when they die. So what are these things that creditable people have obviously seen?

Robin Parrish's Nightmare takes a look at such questions, and from a Christian worldview--while delivering a suspenseful and often quite scary page-turner of a tale.

The story centers around Maia Peters, a young criminal justice major whose parents are renowned paranormal investigators--or "ghost hunters," a term she doesn't like.

Maia has decided to walk away from such investigating and plans to go into law enforcement.

Then a fellow college student, the very wealthy and beautiful Jordin Cole, makes Maia an offer she can't refuse--generous payment for taking Jordin to the most haunted spots in America in an attempt to touch the paranormal.

Jordin's reasons for this quest unfold as the two take trips to places like the Stanley Hotel (famous for Stephen King's The Shining). Gettysburg, Alcatraz, and other spooky sites. And they get more than their share of paranormal evidence...leading Maia to believe that Jordin is a magnet for such activity.

The story culminates in a fast-paced, thrilling showdown between good and evil that leaves no doubt as to Who will be the winner in any such face-off.

Like some reviewers, I would have like to have seen the characters developed a bit better. I had a bit of trouble connecting with and even liking Maia initially, although she does grow more sympathetic as the tale progresses. But ultimately, that didn't affect my enjoyment of the book at all.

I especially liked the chapters dealing with Maia and Jordin's visits to the haunted sites. They didn't just visit--they spent nights there. Alone. Very creepy, chilling, scary and well-written chapters.

If you like a good ghost story, this one is for you.


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