My time for reading is somewhat limited nowadays, so I opt for Audiobooks as much as I can, to read alongside a physical or eBook.
Since I have a review copy of the third book, I thought it was the best idea to start from the beginning.
I'm sort of new to Georgian Fiction, and since I don't know the period very well, I would not really spot any errors easily. A reviewer friend remarked that this was remarkably free of errors and Americanisms that tend to mark out a lot of 'British Fiction' written by Americans, and I generally agree. I did notice one or two ('closet' instead of cupboard or wardrobe), but most were in the narration instead of the speech of the characters.
Since I have not consistently followed Downton Abbey, I cannot make any real comparison, except on a superficial level (the great house, the struggling aristocratic family etc). I felt that the setting was generally pulled off well, as well as the intention of weaving religious elements into the story, which tend to be left out of popular TV series.
That said, I did find Julia to be a little sanctimonious and overbearing at first with her attitudes, and her views of what people should and should not do. Like 'How dare he not let his sister marry a commoner if he's a good Christian- How dare he care about what society will think'?
I guess I don't appreciate stories in which those who care about their families' honour and position in society are regarded as evil enemies of God's will.
That said, there was some resolution in the end, with her realizing it was not such a great idea to impose her opinions on everyone else. Overall, she was a likeable person and a good example, and a lot of the other characters were good too.
I did like that the story was focused on family drama and relationships, instead of some implausible plotline about espionage, murder or political intrigue that are added to some stories to crank up the drama.
I was not too keen on the narrator of the audiobooks though. I think they would have been better with a British person doing them, as she did not always represent the different characters well, and struggled with different regional accents
I've now started on the second book, and I'm glad I started this series. Worth a read, but dont expect another Downton Abbey. The period and setting are the same, but this trilogy should stand out on its own, without having to ape other stories.
Julia Foster and her parents are forced to return to England because of her fathers illness. Need to provide for her family, Julia take a position as a governess at Highland Hall. While her lifes training has been as a missionary teacher to orphans in India, Julie finds her current charges a bit of a challenge. But it is their father that presents Julias biggest challenge. As she tries hard to find a balance between professional and her personal feelings for Sir William Ramsey.
William Ramsey is a man that has vowed never to let another woman into his heart again. After his wifes betrayal and ultimate death, William has thrown himself into running Highland Hall and has found the perfect person to govern his children. Unfortunately his heart doesnt want to follow his head.
I really enjoyed watching William grow. When we first meet him, he is hard and stands on formality, but as the story progresses we see a loving compassionate William emerge.
This was a brand new author for me and I discovered that I really enjoyed her writing. The storyline, although a bit predictable, was clear, fun and easy. She didnt introduce to many characters so the reader doesnt get lost.
There was lots and lots of prayer and trusting in God by the characters. This was a very refreshing thing.
Overall it was a wonderfully spiritually uplifting book and I cant wait to read the next one in the series.
The Governess of Highland Hall***** by Carrie Turansky
Missionary Julia Foster and her missionary parents return from India due to her father's illness. Not sure when or if they will be returning to the mission field in India, Julia applies for a position at Highland Hall as a nanny. She soon learns that the children in her charge are ill-mannered and a challenge. With her love for children coupled with prayer Julia soon has the two youngest children becoming well-mannered children. However, the two teenage girls are a much tougher challenge.
Widower Sir William Ramsey must find a new nanny for his two young children, Millie and Andrew, and the two teenage girls, Katherine and Penelope, of his deceased cousin, whom he is now the guardian of. He hires Julia on a trial bases to see if she and the children will be a good fit. Having a nanny helps as he is preoccupied with the financial situation of Highland Hall and saving it.
The Governess of Highland Hall is a historical romance set in England between 1911-1912. It reminds me of Downton Abby with the up-stairs staff, down-stairs staff and how the wealthy lived. We see that even though they are wealthy, they experience the same challenges as anyone else. One of these challenges comes in the form of Lady Louisa Gatewood, aunt of Katherine and Penny. She was not one of my favorite characters but added a lot of drama to the story, you never knew what she would do nexta very unhappy woman. I loved Julia, William, his sister Sarah, Millie and Andrew. Katherine is kinda bratty and her sister Penny follows along with whatever Katherine says. There are family conflicts and estrangements, lying, betrayal, forgiveness, strong faith, love and unexpected danger and events that keep you turning page after page. I enjoyed this story so much and look forward to reading the second book, The Daughter of Highland Hall.
I REALLY enjoyed this story about missionary Julia Foster and recent estate baronet of Highland Hall, Sir William and read it in two days, not wishing to put it down. The quote on the cover from another excellent author, Julie Klassen, really captures my feelings: There is much to like about The Governesss of Highland Hall: A sweet, noble heroine, a proud, yet vulnerable hero, and a Downton Abbey inspired setting. Interestingly, I had not read that quote until after finishing the book, yet I found myself envisioning a Downton Abbey setting along with similar characters Mr. Lawrence as Mr. Carson, a cranky version of Mrs. Patmore who is I pictured for Mrs. Emmitt based on description, rather than Mrs. Hughes.
Opening in 1911, Berkshire England, Julia is on her way to interview for a governess job so she will have money to take care of her parents. She and her family have just returned to England due to her fathers poor health after serving 12 years in India. Sir William has very recently inherited a country estate, which comes with two belligerent teenage nieces. He and his young children, Andrew and Millie along with a handicapped sister, Sarah, have left London for a fresh start, since he has been widowed and rocked by scandal. Those experiences have swayed his faith to the point he is no longer truly growing in Christ. Julias arrival seems a divine appointment for what the family needs.
This book is filled with faith and scripture; a TRUE Christian novel (not an imposter) -hands clapping.
It reaches across the barriers of social classes and has characters interacting in more human ways which was both interesting and real in a way I enjoyed. Plus the setting is lovely. I personally felt the book was very approachable without shoving to many period facts or fancy words down my throat. There are some period books I keep my phone handy for just to look up the many period references and historical words throughout. But, with this book I could truly just enjoy the story.
5 out of 5 teacups toasting!
Things that are included: Readers Guide (which I never use)
Carrie is very sweet and approachable online.
I received a copy as a birthday gift and opinions are my own.
Carrie Turansky in her new book The Governess of Highland Hall Book One in the Edwardian Brides series published by Multnomah Books takes us into the life of Julia Foster.
From the back cover: 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 isnt sure what to make of the estates preoccupied master, Sir William Ramsey.
Widowed and left to care for his two young children and his deceased cousin Randolphs 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 familiescommon ground that proves fertile for unexpected feelings. But will William choose Julias steadfast heart and faith over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Halls future?
There is something about England and its estates that lend themselves to stories that capture the imagination and 1911 Highland Hall lends itself the best. Here we have this marvelous estate that is in serious financial trouble. William has not only inherited the estate and its troubles but his deceased cousins daughters as well. Add governess Julia to the mix and we have a recipe for adventure and excitement. Then there are the class distinctions, William and his family are the Upper Class while all the servants are the Lower Class and, somehow, Julia, as the governess doesnt fit into either world which, of course, lends itself to further friction. Ms. Turansky has given us history and social issues all wrapped up in a exciting adventure. Well done! This is also a great romance. William and Julia are just perfect for one another and it is great fun to go through their relationship with them. Get ready for a very interesting read that will keep you flipping pages.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Multnomah Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.