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Book Review: "The Governess of Highland Hall" by Carrie Turansky

"The Governess of Highland Hall" by Carrie Turansky

Becoming a governess to two young children and two girls on the cusp of womanhood, dealing with the many servants of a grand estate, and working for the brooding master of the house takes a certain amount of faith. Luckily Julia Foster had that. The missionary turned governess came to Highland Hall with her faith and compassion and changed the house forever. In "The Governess of Highland Hall" by Carrie Turansky, a young woman's life changes when she comes to work as a governess at a large country estate, but what always remains constant is her devotion to God.

"The Governess of Highland Hall" is the story of Julia Foster, a young woman working as a missionary in India, but had to return home because of her father's illness. Julia finds a job as a governess at Highland Hall, a country estate that has recently come into the hands of Sir William Ramsey. She becomes governess to William's two neglected children, helps prepare his two older cousins for the season, and even befriends William's kind sister Sarah. It is Julia's relationship with William that is the most powerful though. William is haunted by his deceased wife's lies and infidelity and the burden of taking on Highland Hall with its financial difficulties. Julia's faith in God, common sense, and compassion changes William forever and the two begin to encounter unexpected and complicated feelings for one another. This novel blends faith, religion, upstairs/downstairs drama, and romance to create a captivating story of a young woman's personal journey and how she impacts those around her.

"The Governess of Highland Hall" is an interesting and easy read. The novel may remind you in some ways of Charlotte Bronte's beautiful "Jane Eyre" and readers will instantly be drawn into Julia's relationship with William, but also her relationship with the children, Sarah, and the servants of Highland Hall. The best part of the novel are the relationships between the characters. Turansky successfully portrays all sorts of different relationships throughout the novel.

The novel is in the Christian historical fiction genre so there are many references to faith, God, and there are plenty of scripture verses throughout the novel. This will move and captivate those with strong faith, but may become tedious to those who are more interested in a governess falling in love with her employer in Edwardian England.

Another issue with the novel is how pious and holier-than-thou Julia can come off. Julia can be very preachy with her ideas on God, faith, and life. She often lectures other characters and can be almost a drag. Julia needed a more complex portrayal where she is portrayed as a woman of faith, but one who is not perfect or preachy.

"The Governess of Highland Hall" is a good read for any fans of Christian historical fiction or those interested in reading a sweet and fast-moving story about a young woman's life changing forever when she becomes a governess. This novel is the very definition of sweet and charming.

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