I was captivated from the first page by this faith inspiring tale of love and loss set during England's lavish Edwardian era. With her well-researched history of the period, author Carrie Turansky brings to life a compelling cast who make up the aristocracy inhabiting the elegant country estate of Highland Hall, and the social mores and duty to faith that challenge lovely governess Julia Foster and her employer, Sir William Ramsey. With a colorful and inventive household staff below stairs, and a storyline filled with emotional twists and turns, The Governess of Highland Hall is a perfect launch for Turansky's Edwardian Brides series. With such endearing characters, I am most eager to move on to the sequel!
Lovely story! Fans of Downton Abbey are sure to enjoy it!
August 8, 2016
I have finally made some time to read a few books on my TBR list that have been taunting me with their sweet descriptions. And oh gosh, I can NOT believe that it has taken me so long to read this book! The Governess of Highland Hall was perfect for satisfying the Downton Abbey fan in me. And Carrie Turansky's descriptions and attention to detail drew me into Edwardian England and I got lost wandering down the road alongside Julia...my husband didn't see me for days. Because it is the same era as Downton Abbey I was tempted to think of the characters in relation to the show, but boy are they different! Let's just say the housekeeper, is no Mrs. Hughes. However, she definitely adds a very interesting twist on the story. Throughout this book you will see the storyline unfold through multiple perspectives. It was easy to follow along and added a lot of depth and insight to our supporting characters. I LOVE Sir William's sister Sarah! And I just giggled with delight to find out that Sir William's cousin (and dependent) Katherine Ramsey is our leading lady in the next book. SO excited to read her story. One of the things mentioned in this book are Christmas crackers...And let me tell you, if you have never had these at Christmas you are missing out! We started our own tradition last year with these, and they were a HUGE hit! No one else in the family knew what they were, but the immediately put on their paper crown, and we all wore them throughout dinner. You can order them on Amazon. This isn't the first book I have read about a governess. Not a servant, not a part of the family...But they pour so much into the children. Love them, raise them, and they are so easily cast aside. It can be a sad lot from what I have seen. However, we are reminded throughout the story, that we must walk on God's path for our lives. We may not understand His purpose or His ways, but we must trust that He loves us, His children, and wants the best for us. I encourage you, as this book encouraged me, to keep your heart tender toward the Lord's voice and follow where He leads. Now, bring me book two!
Bottom line, "You have bewitched me body and soul."
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.