The Governess of Highland Hall, while about the elite and those who serve them, was probably the most relatable book I've read in quite a while. It wasn't full of twist and turns and spine-tingling, back-stabbing drama. But that's fine by me. This book wasn't a formula romance. It didn't fit into a nice little package wrapped up with a perfect little bow. And I'm glad! It was a story that I lingered over, like a hot slice of flaky, bubbly peach pie.
The heroine is a former missionary turned governess. Julia's faith and her character stood out most to me in this story. She responded to situations in a Godly manner and gave others grace when they didn't behave that way. She saw the difference between having head knowledge about God and having a heart relationship with him. She guided those around her in a "Titus 2" kind of way and helped them see for themselves the goodness of God. I think this is much the way the author, Carrie Turansky, lives her life as a pastor's wife.
The hero in this story, William, who is a wealthy young widower who inherited a struggling estate, believes in God. He's been lied to and cheated on in the past though and that keeps him bitter and prevents him from opening his heart to his children, his wards, his employees, and to Julia. While this book had romance in it, it didn't solely focus on the romance. It proved that there is more to life and to people than who they might be attracted to. Julia was not a selfish woman. Her desire was to help her parents financially while on break from their missionary work in India. Through that desire, she continued to do missionary work as a governess and to cause life change in those around her. Turansky has a unique way of weaving character's lives together. She took Julia and sprinkled a little of her into each and every one of the characters in this book. By the end, it was clear that Julia had influenced them all. It's a lesson in how we should live our lives. With intention. With purpose. Always looking for ways to help and to bless others. A great lesson for us all!
I received this book from BloggingForBooks and the publisher. All thoughts expressed in my review are my own, honest and unbiased. I was not paid to write this 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.
I really enjoyed this book. Yes, the plot was predictable in that you knew somehow Julia and William were going to fall in love, but it was really well-written, not cheesy (one of my pet peeves is cheesy romance) and it was written in a realistic way. It was believable, unlike some books where the author's attempts at a romance ruin the book. The characters in this book were really well-done too and were really enjoyable to read about. I loved them. Julia was my favorite, of course, and I really liked reading about the growing friendship between her and Sarah. Julia is such a sweet, kind character. The plot of this book kind of reminded me of The Sound of Music but a little bit different- and if you loved that movie, you will love this book. I liked this book a lot and I recommend it. I think that anyone who likes historical fiction, especially from this particular era, would enjoy reading The Governess of Highland Hall.
Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah for sending me a free copy of The Governess of Highland Hall in exchange for my honest review.
The Governess of Highland Hall, by Carrie Turansky, is a charming novel. It is the first book in the Edwardian Brides series. Set in Berkshire, England, in 1911, this novel addresses the issues revolving around crossing the class system in place at the time. It also causes one to pause and think about whether or not he is pursuing God's will or his own.
Julia Foster has returned to England after several years of missionary work in India with her parents. In order to help support her parents due to her father's illness, she accepts a position as a governess at Highland Hall. Her presence there soon turns the entire household upside down. She encourages true love. She shares her faith and her prayers. She is kindhearted toward everyone. But her dream of returning to India may not be God's will for her life as she had planned. He may have other plans for her.
I enjoyed this book. I thought the characters were very personable and could relate to many of them. I especially liked the fact that all of the characters showed some very human flaws and vulnerabilities. This is truly a wonderful tale of choosing God's will over our own, whatever our social standing. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.