Sunday, December 1, 2013

Review of "The Governess of Highland Hall"

Rating: 4 Stars
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Review: In a story reminiscent of "Upstairs, Downstairs," "Downton Abbey," and even "Jane Eyre," Carrie Turansky introduces readers to Highland Hall and its residents.  "The Governess of Highland Hall" has an appealing British air with plenty of drama on the vast and beautiful estate.  Julia Foster arrives from serving as a missionary in India to work as a governess on William Ramsey's newly inherited estate.  A world away from India, Julia confronts new challenges from her pupils, the household staff, and the stirrings of her heart. Despite finding herself in a brand new environment, Julia seems overly confident of her opinions. Sir William even consults with Julia over estate problems and they work together to find a solution for economizing the estate's expenditures.  Although their partnership is good for developing their relationship, it seems a bit unrealistic that Julia would be so knowledgeable and self-assured.  I could relate to the head housekeeper's annoyance with Julia at times, but not her vindictiveness.  

There are two romances that cross societal boundaries in "The Governess of Highland Hall."  The main focus is the relationship between Julia and Sir William.  Sir William transitions from a distant father and broken-hearted man to a more open and accessible family and estate leader.  Much of the change is driven by Julia's presence, but both characters keep their feelings suppressed, constrained by their class differences.  There is a touch of "Jane Eyre" in the situation, without the heaviness and mystery.  Casting convention aside in favor of true love is an appealing recipe for romance, and adds romantic drama.  Sir William's sister, Sarah, also embarks on an upstairs, downstairs relationship with the estate's gardener.  I most enjoyed Sarah's story, and her gentle demeanor and quiet strength pulled on my heartstrings.  I would have loved to read more about her background and disability, especially since I found myself anticipating her scenes.    

Carrie Turansky delivers drama and romance in "The Governess of Highland Hall."  Highland Hall is a grand estate with intriguing residents that will take readers on a trip to the English countryside.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Summary from WaterBrook Multnomah: Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a magnificent country estate like Highland Hall. Will Julia be able to find her place when a governess is neither upstairs family nor downstairs help? 
Missionary Julia Foster loves working alongside her parents, ministering and caring for young girls in India. But when the family must return to England due to illness, she readily accepts the burden for her parents’ financial support. Taking on a job at Highland Hall as governess, she quickly finds that teaching her four privileged, ill-mannered charges at a grand estate is more challenging than expected, and she isn’t sure what to make of the estate’s preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.

Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin Randolph’s two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from the financial ruin. The last thing he needs is any distraction coming from the kindhearted-yet-determined governess who seems to be quietly transforming his household with her persuasive personality, vibrant prayer life, and strong faith.

While both are tending past wounds and guarding fragile secrets, Julia and William are determined to do what it takes to save their families—common ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julia’s steadfast heart and faith over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall’s future?

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