The Governess of Highland Hall: A Novel

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Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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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  • Governess of Highland Hall
    Governess of Highland Hall  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/07/2013
Downton Abbey collides with The Sound of Music in Turansky's romance set against life in the early 20th century British countryside. Julia Foster is the daughter of missionaries, and a missionary herself, recently returned from twelve years in India due to her father's ill health. To support her family, she takes a position as governess at Highland Hall, home of widowed Sir William Ramsey; his disabled sister, Sarah; his two young children; and two female cousins. Julia must balance connecting with her four charges, combating resentment from all fronts, and living a godly life guided by prayer and faith, all while struggling with her growing affections for the master of the house. At times heavy-handed with Scripture and religious reference, this charming plot has elements of intrigue and passion blended with the allure of post-Victorian era sensibilities. Beautifully developed secondary characters add light and joy to the well-written narrative tapestry woven of struggle, challenge, heartache and triumph. Agent: Steve Laube, The Steve Laube Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Praise for The Governess of Highland Hall

“There is much to like about Carrie Turansky’s The Governess of Highland Hall: a sweet noble heroine, a proud yet vulnerable hero, and a Downton Abbey–inspired setting. Endearing supporting characters and two romances add to the pleasure. Fans of Christian fiction and Downton Abbey will enjoy this story!”
—Julie Klassen, best-selling author of The Tutor’s Daughter

“I admit I’m a Downton Abbey junkie. Thankfully, I got my fix with Carrie Turansky’s delightful new novel. Everything about this book breathes upstairs-downstairs, and I was swept away into the world of Highland Hall—the language, the customs, the clothes, the drama, the romance, oh, the romance! Absolutely charming, if I do say so myself!”
—Susan May Warren, RITA and Christy Award winner and best-selling novelist of Duchess

“Prim and wonderful, The Governess of Highland Hall is an exquisitely woven Downton Abbey tapestry, proper and perfectly of English nobility and their servants. With the utmost sensitivity and skill, Carrie Turansky has penned a breathless Edwardian love story not to be missed!”
—Julie Lessman, award-winning author of the Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series

“In The Governess of Highland Hall, Carrie Turansky blends a compelling heroine standing on the precipice of class divide with a magnificent Edwardian country estate in danger of ruin. She mixes well with an unforgettable cast of characters. The result is a beautifully written, faith-filled romance—the first in a series not to be missed.”
—Cathy Gohlke, Christy Award–winning author of Promise Me This and Band of Sisters

“Fans of sweet romance will delight in The Governess of Highland Hall, set on a majestic estate of old, where love blossoms both upstairs and down in Edwardian England. Author Carrie Turansky has woven a tender and uplifting tale with a heartwarming message.”
—Joanne Bischof, award-winning author of the Cadence of Grace series

“With its engaging cast of characters, a setting reminiscent of Downton Abbey, and a storyline that celebrates faith, family, and friendship, The Governess of Highland Hall is more than a historical romance. It’s a book that’s sure to delight Carrie Turansky’s current fans and bring her many more.”
—Amanda Cabot, best-selling author of Christmas Roses

The Governess of Highland Hall is a deeply emotional story of learning to submit to God’s will. Fans of Downton Abbey will enjoy the Edwardian time period, the English traditions, and the upstairs-below-stairs intrigue. The characters are richly developed, Turansky’s prose lyrical. I enjoyed my stay at Highland Hall!”
—Beth White, Carol Award–winning author of Controlling Interest and The Pelican Bride (coming in April 2014)

The Governess of Highland Hall is a delightful journey to Edwardian England with a cast of colorful characters and plot twists at every turn. With a nice mix of upstairs-downstairs drama and a spunky heroine, Carrie Turansky weaves a tale that will enchant Downton Abbey aficionados. Lovely and heartfelt.”
—Carla Stewart, award-winning author of Chasing Lilacs and Sweet Dreams

The Governess of Highland Hall
 is as delightful as an English high tea, replete with an endearing cast of characters living on a grand English estate and flavored with memories of India. Carrie Turansky lends a lovely, fresh voice to a fascinating era! 
Laura Frantz, Author of Love’s Reckoning

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781601424969
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Series: Edwardian Brides Series
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 208,806
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Carrie Turansky is the award-winning author of nearly a dozen novels and novellas, including Snowflake Sweethearts and Along Came Love. She has won the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award and the International Digital Award. She lives in central New Jersey with her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, counselor and the author of several parenting books.

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Read an Excerpt

One

October 1911, England

Julia Foster lifted her gaze to the clear October sky as a lark swooped past. Her steps slowed and her thoughts took flight, following the bird as it dipped into the golden trees beyond the meadow. If only she could fly away, back to the familiar life and cherished friends she had left behind in India. But that dream would have to wait.

She shifted her gaze to the country lane rising before her. Around the next bend she would see Highland Hall. At least that was what she remembered, but twelve years had passed since she had attended a charity bazaar at the large estate before her family left for India. What if she had misjudged the distance or the time it took to walk from the village of Fulton to Highland Hall? She quickened her pace. It wouldn’t do to be late for her ten o’clock appointment with Mrs. Emmitt, the housekeeper.

When she reached the top of the rise, she spotted an expensive-looking navy-blue motorcar with a black roof pulled to the side of the lane. A tall man, who had discarded his jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt, stood over the open hood. He reached in and pulled on something, then bent lower and scowled.

She considered walking past since they had not been introduced, but her conscience would not allow it. Stopping a few feet away, she cleared her throat. “Excuse me, sir. Do you need some assistance?”

He turned and glared at her. “Assistance?” His dark eyebrows rose to a haughty slant. “I suppose you know something about car engines?” 

Julia lifted her chin, suppressing the urge to match his mocking tone. “No sir. But I’m on my way to Highland Hall, and I could ask someone there to come and help you if you like.”

He huffed, grabbed the rag lying on the car’s running board, and wiped his hands. “It won’t do any good. No one there knows a blasted thing about cars.” He tapped the gold Highland insignia on the door.

Julia stepped away, more than happy to leave the brooding chauffeur behind.

“Wait, you say you’re headed to Highland Hall?”

She turned and faced him again. “Yes, I have an interview with Mrs. Emmitt.” Perhaps if he knew she might soon be working for Sir William Ramsey, the new master of Highland Hall, he would treat her with a little more respect.

He narrowed his deep blue eyes and assessed her. “An interview? For what position?”

She looked away, debating the wisdom of continuing the conversation with a man who wasn’t civil enough to introduce himself.

“It’s all right. You can tell me.” He nodded to her, obviously expecting a reply.

“If you must know, I’m applying for the position of governess.”

A look of disbelief flashed across his face and the scowl returned. “You look too young. Do you have any experience?”

She straightened, trying to add another inch to her petite stature, but she was still at least a foot shorter than he. “I’ve been teaching children for nine years.”

“Really? Did you begin teaching when you were ten?”

She clenched her jaw. Was there no end to the man’s rudeness? “No sir. I was eighteen. And if you’ll excuse me, I must go, or I’ll be late for my appointment.” She turned and strode away.

“There’s no need to rush off in a huff.” He caught up with her. “I didn’t mean to insult you.”

“I’m not insulted, just intent on being punctual.” She cast him a quick side glance. “I don’t have the time or luxury to stand by the roadside and fiddle with car engines.”

He grinned and then chuckled.

Heat flashed into her face. Infuriating man! How dare he laugh at her. She hurried on, not giving him the satisfaction of a reply.

“Well, pardon me.”

She sent him a withering look and walked on so quickly she got a stitch in her side.

With his long legs, he had no trouble keeping pace. “You certainly have spirit. I like that.”

She gulped in a big breath and spun toward him. “You, sir, are entirely too familiar and too rude for words!”

His jaw dropped, and he stared at her, wide-eyed.

With her face burning, she marched away. She’d only gone a few steps before regret overtook her. Forgive me, Lord. I should not have spoken to him like that. But he was so ill mannered I couldn’t help myself. She sighed and lifted her eyes to heaven. I’m sorry. I know that’s not true. You’re faithful to give me the strength to control my tongue if I will only ask. But please, Lord, could You make him forget what I said? Or at least let me have little contact with him at Highland?

She doubted that last part of her prayer would be answered. While Highland Hall was a large house, the staff probably saw each other throughout the day.

What a terrible way to start off. No doubt he’d tell everyone she was hot-tempered and not worthy of the position of governess. And that was assuming she got the job. And she must. Her father’s illness had stretched on for months, forcing them to leave India and return to England. Now that he was unable to practice medicine, her parents depended on her for support. She must not let them down, no matter how humbling or difficult the job might be.

The lane curved to the right, and Highland Hall came into view. Julia’s steps slowed as she took in the lovely grounds and large house. It looked more like a castle, standing four stories high at its tallest point, with a wide lawn and curved, gravel drive leading to the front door. It was built of sandcolored stone, and though some sections had turned yellow and gray with age, it still looked sturdy and imposing. A tall, round turret stood at the right corner, and an arched portico stretched halfway across the front of the house.

Oh Lord, that house is worth a fortune, and the people who live there are definitely used to a different life than I’ve lived. How will I ever fit in?

She shook her head, then straightened her shoulders. There was no time to fret, not if she wanted to make a good impression and arrive at the appointed hour. She made her way around the side of the house, following the directions Reverend Langford had given her.

A broad-shouldered man wearing a brown cap and tweed coat pushed a wheelbarrow toward the greenhouse. He stopped and nodded to her. “Can I help you, miss?” He looked about thirty-five and had a kind, honest face.

She returned his nod with a slight smile. “I have an appointment with Mrs. Emmitt.”

He pointed to a door tucked in a corner at the back of the house. “Just ring the bell there, miss, and someone will be along to help you.”

She thanked him and crossed the rear courtyard. Pulling in a deep breath, she smoothed her hand down her cloak and skirt and checked her hat. Everything seemed to be in place. Lifting her hand, she pressed the bell while her stomach fluttered like a nervous bird.

Only a few seconds passed before the door opened and a plump young woman with rosy cheeks and bright blue eyes greeted her. She wore a white apron over her dark green servant’s uniform and a white cap. “How can I help you, miss?”

“I’m Julia Foster. I’m here to see Mrs. Emmitt.”

“Very good. Come this way.” She started down the steps and smiled over her shoulder. “I’m Lydia, one of the housemaids. Are you here about a position?”

“Yes.” Remembering her encounter with the brooding chauffeur, she decided not to add any more details. As they reached the bottom step, the heavenly scent of baking bread and roasting meat floated toward her. She breathed deeply, savoring the smell. Her empty stomach contracted, reminding her that she had walked off the simple breakfast of porridge she’d eaten at seven.

Lydia led the way past the kitchen. Julia glanced through the doorway and saw two young women and a man in a white chef’s jacket chopping vegetables at the table in the center of the room. He said something to one of the women, but his French accent was so strong Julia couldn’t understand him.

“You’ll want to mind your p’s and q’s with Mrs. Emmitt,” Lydia said, continuing down the hallway. “She’s a stickler for proper manners and such. But you’re smart-looking. That should help it go well for you.”

“Thank you,” Julia murmured, though she wasn’t sure that was the right response.

“This is it.” Lydia stopped in front of a closed door. “Mug’s parlor, at least that’s what we call it.” She grinned and nodded. “Go on, then. Give it a knock, and good luck to you.”

“Thank you.” Julia sent off one more silent prayer, then rapped on the door while the maid disappeared into another room.

The door swung open, and a stern-faced woman who appeared to be about sixty looked out at her. She wore a plain navy-blue dress with a cameo pinned at the high neck and a set of keys clipped to her waistband. Small, wire-rimmed glasses perched on the bridge of her nose.

“Good day, ma’am. I’m Julia Foster.”

“Come in. I’ve been expecting you.” She motioned toward the straightbacked chair by the fireplace while she lowered herself onto the settee. “Do you have your letters of reference?”

“Yes ma’am.” Julia took the letters from Reverend Langford and Lady Farnsworth from her handbag and gave them to Mrs. Emmitt.

The housekeeper pursed her lips and read Lady Farnsworth’s letter first. “She says your family has been acquainted with hers for many years.”

“Yes, my father served as her family physician since the time of her marriage to Lord Farnsworth.”

“I’m not sure what that has to do with you.” Mrs. Emmitt opened and read Reverend Langford’s letter next, her stern expression never softening. “It says you’ve been out of the country for twelve years. Is that correct?”

Julia nodded. “Our family has been serving in India since 1899 with the London Missionary Society.”

Mrs. Emmitt’s nose wrinkled slightly as her gaze dipped back to the letter. “You were a teacher there?”

“Yes, we opened a home for girls and ran a medical clinic for the village.”

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Interviews & Essays

1. Welcome Carrie Turansky, author of The Governess of Highland Hall. What inspired you to set your story in Edwardian England (1911)?

When I watched the British TV series “Downton Abbey,” I became interested in life in England during the Edwardian Era, especially life on a country estate where there were not only aristocratic family members, but also many loyal and hardworking servants. A good friend and fellow author, Cathy Gohlke, wrote a beautiful book set in England during this same time period, Promise Me This, and that also piqued my interest in the period.

When I attended the American Library Association Convention in Philadelphia in 2012, I had a discussion with an editor about the success of “Downton Abbey,” and she encouraged me to create a story with a heroine who was a governess and set it in England on an estate like Downton. That got my mental wheels turning, but I was hesitant to follow up on the idea at first because I knew it would take a lot of research to create a story that rang true for that period. But Cathy encouraged me and loaded me up with research books. I am so glad she did, because I loved writing a novel set in England during that time period.

2. Your book features the fictional Highland Hall. Was this grand estate influenced by any real life British estates?

As I was writing about Highland Hall I was picturing two famous British estates, Highclere Castle where “Downton Abbey” is filmed and Tyntesfield, another beautiful estate, which is in Somerset, England. I found Tyntesfield through my online research for the series, and I fell in love with it after I watched a documentary about its history. There are many photos of Tyntesfield online, and that is the manor house pictured on the cover of The Governess of Highland Hall. It's now owned by the British National Trust and is open to visitors. I hope to visit there next spring.

3. You recently traveled to Britain and visited several places that inspired “The Edwardian Brides Series.” Can you share a few highlights from your trip?

Yes, last summer my husband and I took a wonderful trip to England. We rented a car and he drove over 400 miles on the wrong side of the road, seated in the wrong side of the car. He is an amazing man! We landed in London, then toured the Oxford area and visited Highclere Castle and gardens where “Downton Abbey” is filmed. That was one of the highlights of the trip for me. We also toured the Cotswolds that has several farms and lovely little villages that look very much like they did 100 years ago. We ended our time in England up in the Peak District where we visited Chatsworth, which is an amazing estate with a very large and elaborate house and gardens. It was used as Mr. Darcy's home in the latest version of “Pride and Prejudice.” We also attended a country fair on the ground of Chatsworth. We learned that an English country fair is very different than our American version. A English country fair is focused on country life: hunting, horses, fishing, dogs, and more dogs! It was a lot of fun and we really felt like we had a true taste of England that day. All of these travels gave us some wonderful memories, and they were a great inspiration for my books.

4. As fans of the popular BBC show “Downton Abbey” know, there is a prominent divide between the upstairs family and the downstairs help. Where does the main character, Julia Foster, fit in to this hierarchy as a governess?

A governess had a unique position. She was usually an educated, respected woman from a middle-class or upper class family, but she was still a paid member of the staff and considered below the family. She reported to the housekeeper, but she was above the other female staff. She usually ate her meals with the children in the nursery, so she didn't spend very much time with the rest of the staff. In The Governess of Highland Hall, Julia Foster became close friends with Sarah Ramsey, the sister of William Ramsey, who is the master of Highland and hero in the story. But she is also close friends with Ann the nursery maid, so we see her connected to those upstairs and those below stairs.

5. Julia Foster was a missionary in India before her family returns to England because of illness. Was her character inspired by a real life missionary?

The character Julia was inspired by Amy Carmichael, who was a missionary to India in the early 1900s. I'd read Amy's biography, A Chance to Die, a few years ago, and when I wanted to write a book set in England in the early 1900s, I remembered Amy's story and took it down from my bookshelf to read again. I wanted to understand the mindset of Christians at that time and learn what prompted her to go to India and spend her life there. Amy's true life experiences provided a rich background for my heroine, and I enjoyed bringing some of the elements of Amy's faith and character into my story.

6. Sir William Ramsey, the widowed master of Highland Hall, is consumed with saving the estate from financial ruin. Was this a common problem during this time period? What did the English see as the solution to the problem?

There were many changes taking place in England in the late 1800s and early 1900s. An agricultural depression placed a financial strain on many large estates. Wages for servants were increasing. When death duties were introduced and then expanded, the financial pressure on aristocratic families increased. Death duties were a type of inheritance tax, and when the master of an estate died and passed it on to the next generation, the new owner was sometimes unable to pay the duties. Some aristocrats sold their paintings, antiques, and valuables to raise the funds. Some married into wealth to save their estates. But for some there was no solution, and their estate had to be sold. In some cases the houses were knocked down, and Britain lost some of its most impressive historic homes.

7. Julia and William are both guarding secrets, which creates a bond between them that is hard to ignore. How do these two navigate the divide between the aristocracy and the servants?

The divide between William and Julia is very evident at the beginning of the story, and William resents Julia questioning him about his lack of time with and affection for his children. But as he gets to know her and comes to admire her faith, character and pure heart, the walls between them begin to come down. She becomes his friend and confidant, helping him navigate the struggles he faces in his family and in running the estate.

8. What can readers expect from the next book in the series?

Book 2 is tentatively titled The Daughter of Highland Hall, and it continues the story of the Ramsey family. The young cousin, Katherine, from book one, becomes the heroine in book two. The year is 1912, and eighteen-year-old Katherine goes to London for her debut in society. She hopes to meet and marry the “right” young man, but her goals and dreams change as she gets to know a handsome and dedicated medical student who is intent on caring for the poor in London's East End. That book comes out in the Fall 2014.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 15, 2013

    Sweet romance that's not overdone. Julia Foster returned from t

    Sweet romance that's not overdone. Julia Foster returned from the missionary field in India with her parents after being there twelve years. The Fosters returned to England due to her father’s declining health. Julia sets out to find work to help support her family while Mr. Foster recovers. She applies for the governess position and is accepted.

    As governess, Miss Foster is responsible for Sir William Ramsey’s two small children and his two teenage nieces. Julia exudes style and grace but is not afraid to speak her mind, which gets her into some heated discussions with Mr. Ramsey more than once.

    Can Miss Foster and Mr. Ramsey get along or will they continually be at odds? Will this relationship work out for the children?

    The author does a great job of transporting its reader to another place and time. Each character is well developed and believable. At times you can almost feel their emotions. The story flows smoothly and has a meaningful Christian message without being preachy.

    One cannot help but feel a connection with Julia Foster, the Governess. The strength she receives from the Lord, through her faith, is so inspiring.

    I didn’t have a single favorite character. Besides Julia, I loved Sarah with her sweet and caring disposition. I even came to care for Mrs. Emmitt and her stiff, rigid, personality.

    Overall, I truly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes historical romance that is not overdone.

    I received an advanced reading copy of this book, directly from the author, in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 15, 2013

    The Governess of Highland Hall By: Carrie Turansky Forced to le

    The Governess of Highland Hall
    By: Carrie Turansky

    Forced to leave the only home she’s ever known Julia Foster makes the best of her situation. She applies for the position of governess at the large estate of Highland Hall. Sir William Ramsey seems to be a brooding and self centered man whose gruff action towards those in his care does not endear him to the household.
    As she becomes accustomed to the responsibilities of governess Julia thrives in the beautiful home. She becomes friends with servant and family alike, her many lovely character traits endearing her to them. She fights an attraction to Sir William, feeling it would only lead to heartache. After all, she is only a servant in his home.
    Sir William is learning much from the young woman who seems to have a depth of wisdom unusual in one so young. His admiration could grow into something more if allowed free reign but he must not. He holds himself back, though when other’s exhibit their attraction for the young lady he feels angry at their forward behavior.
    Much like Downton Abby this story gives us a glimpse into the lives of the family as well as those who serve them. A story crafted beautifully by Ms. Turansky


    The Governess of Highland Hall
    By: Carrie Turansky
    ISBN # 978-1-60142-496-9
    $14.99
    Reviewed by: Mary Bell-Foster

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2013

    The Governess of Highland Hall is a beautiful romance set in Eng

    The Governess of Highland Hall is a beautiful romance set in England in the early 1900's. Fans of Downton Abbey will appreciate the wonderful descriptions of the estate, as well as the many people who live and work there. I truly enjoyed the descriptions of both the wealthy family members living in Highland Hall and the servants working there.

    The story begins as Julia Foster, who has returned to England after serving as a missionary in India, is hired to be the governess of Sir William Ramsey's two young children. William has a lot on his plate after inheriting this large estate and all of the debts and taxes due on it. He is highly concerned with trying to raise the money needed to pay the "death duties" and keep Highland in the family.

    Julia is governess not only to William's two young children, but also must help guide his two teenage nieces. Katherine is the older niece and will be going to London soon for her season. She is quite a handful and very resentful that William is in charge of Highland and her life. Penelope is the younger niece and is not as resentful, but does follow the lead of her older sister.

    Fans of Christian romance will enjoy discovering if a governess and the master of a large estate could ever bridge the societal gap that lies between them and find true love. This is just an all around good read. The characters are interesting, with a sweet side story about William's sister, Sarah. Some good old-fashioned scheming by some of the servants add some tense moments to the story, as well.

    I received an Advance Reading Copy of this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review, which I have written. All opinions expressed are my own.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky Edwardian Brid

    The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky
    Edwardian Brides Series Book 1
    Julia Foster has just returned from twelve years as a missionary in India. She worked alongside her parents and they have just returned to England because of her father’s health. They hoped to return to their mission duties once he is well. Until that time she needed to work to help support her parents. She was thankful to get the governess job at Highland Hall, as it is walking distance to her parents. 




    Sir William Ramsey has found himself with a title and lands. What he didn’t expect was the financial state his late cousin had left behind. He needed to find a way to save Highland Hall as people depended on him. His sister, two children and the two daughters of his late cousin. His late wife had left him embarrassed and untrusting so the idea of marrying for money was the last thing he wanted, but would it be his only choice?




    Julia is somewhat like a Christian Mary Poppins. She brings joy to the people she’s around and looks at everything in a positive light. Such as, where people see young Andrew as wild, she sees a nine year old boy. The author has brought the characters to life in such a way that this reader shed more than one tear during this story and also found it hard to set the book down. The story pulled me in and held me all the way to the end. I’m looking forward to the next two books in this series.
    **Received through Blogging For Books for review

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2013

    "The Governess Of Highland Hall" by Carrie Turansky is

    "The Governess Of Highland Hall" by Carrie Turansky is definitely a 5 star book, but I wish I could give it many more.  This is book 1 of the Edwardian Brides series. If you're a fan of DownAbbey,then this is a book for you.  I am now a fan of Carrie Turansky. And if I wasn't already a fan of Downton Abbey this book would make me want to watch it and become a fan.




    I could see the scene in my mind as I read this book. The descriptions were very well detailed without being overstated.




    This is a story about faith, love and a story about the rich and the not so rich. 




    The story begins as Julia interviews for the job as the governess for two children and two young ladies, who are all motherless.  I was hooked from the first paragraph, when Julia met the man standing at the car, I knew who I wanted that man to be and I was glad to find out he was the person I wanted him to be.




    Julia and William both have secrets from the past and are afraid to love again.  But attraction is there almost from the beginning of their meeting. Julia has been a missionary in India helping her parents. But her father becomes ill so they have to return to England and she has to take a job to help support her family.William has inherited Highland Hall and also his two nieces.Along with Highland Hall, William has inherited debts and repairs and the death tax (inheritance tax) and is consumed with paying it all. Along with all this he has to pay for a season of London for his niece.




    William is bitter and allows no relationships between the servants and the members of his family but there is a  secrets that he will find out about and I am glad it came out and am happy at the way the secret ended up as I believe most readers of Christian romances will be. He doesn't like relationships between staff members either but again there is another secret. How will it all end?




    Julia is a faithful Christian and daughter to her parents, but she is honest and not afraid to speak her mind. Her truthful words have caused trouble for her with William and the other staff members.




    This is also a story about friendships and family relationships. It is also about how people (in this case, the staff) uses tricks and lies to get what they want.




    I knew how I wanted this book to end but I wasn't sure it was gonna end that way till the end. I certainly was surprised at some of the twists in this book took.




    Does love end up winning in this book? What happens to Highland Hall ? Does Julia stay governess till the children are grown?  I know the answers and the answers to more  questions and if you read the book you will to!




    I was given ARC copy by the author for my honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    Enjoyable read!

    The plot was predictable but the overall reading experience was enjoyable. I would try another book by this author.

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  • Posted March 22, 2014

    A good read. It really did remind me of Downton Abbey, as it foc

    A good read. It really did remind me of Downton Abbey, as it focuses (obviously) on a governess. Some of the scenes with the maids and other servants were very much like in Downton Abbey. The governess side of things had some definite similarities to Jane Eyre as well. All in all, good for a one time read, but not a book I’d buy.

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Widower Sir William needs someone to care for his out of control

    Widower Sir William needs someone to care for his out of control children and two teenage cousins who inhabit Highland Hall.  And it takes someone truly desperate, Julia, to agree to this job as governess. Daughter of missionaries, they've returned from India because of her father's poor health. This is not your typical Christian historical romance. Point of view is told from multiple characters. I didn't find it difficult to follow them and I figured Carrie must be setting up the characters for their own books. Also, there are other typical craft rules broken in this novel, but they didn't bother me because the storyline was engaging and the characters well-developed. Lots of twists and turns and a sigh-worthy HEA ending. Highly recommend!

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  • Posted February 16, 2014

    This is a wonderful Edwardian love story. This story is not to b

    This is a wonderful Edwardian love story. This story is not to be missed!.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Carrie Turansky penned a beautiful love story when she wrote the

    Carrie Turansky penned a beautiful love story when she wrote the first novel in the Edwardian Bride series. In this novel, Julia Foster is looking for a supplemental income to help her family make ends meet while her father is ill. Her parents and her were missionaries in India, and due to her father’s health, they had to return to England. As he struggles to become more healthy, Julia’s heart is still in India. However, she is willing to take on a governess position while she waits to return to the missionary field. As she works her way into the hearts of the children at Highland Hall – Andrew and Millie, as well as their older cousins Kathrine and  Penelope – Julia finds that her heart is always being filled with love for Andrew and Millie’s widowed father.




    William lost his wife a few years ago, and has slowly withdrawn himself from his children. He has left their care to the house manager and the nursery maid. He is unable to keep a governess employed for more than a fleeting moment. When Julia applies for the position of governess, he sees the potential she might bring and offers her a 1 month trial. However, there are many people who are unhappy with her upbeat spirit and independent thinking. As the financial state of Highland Hall teeters on the brink of bankruptcy, as the staff employed at the Hall engage in secret romances -including William’s own sister, Sarah – and as Julia’s father’s health fails, a second chance at love and remarriage remains a dream away for William.




    This is a great read for anyone interested in turn of the century British romance. The reader will fall in love with Julia and her patient ways, as well as be silently cheering for William to just open his up and see what a precious gift he has in front of him in his children and their governess. As the story weaves in and through the characters, Turansky’s love story catches the heart of the reader, and they are unable to put the book down.




     




    I received this book from Water Brook Multnomah and am not being compensated for my review. 

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  • Posted January 14, 2014

    Julia Forster is hired as a governess for William Ramsey's 2 chi

    Julia Forster is hired as a governess for William Ramsey's 2 children, the story is set in the early 1900's England. She has just returned to England after being in India as a missionary with her parents. The family had to return to England because her father became ill and she needed a job to help support the family,
    The storyline was well written and the description of Highland Hall was as though I was in the rooms. I enjoyed reading it immensely.

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  • Posted January 13, 2014

    I'm loving all of these English Regency / Edwardian period novel

    I'm loving all of these English Regency / Edwardian period novels that are coming out right now! There's just something about this time period that intrigues me, and I can't get enough of it! The Governess of Highland Hall was another wonderful book set during this time. The tension between the classes is always interesting to me, and this book does a wonderful job of showing characters who struggle with their "place" in society and crossing between the classes.

    The best part of this book was the character development. Turansky writes each character brilliantly. There are quite a few characters—Julia, William, William's two children, his teenage nieces, and a host of other family members and servants—and they I felt like I got to know all of them by the end of the novel. I felt that knowing the characters well made this story even more endearing and helped draw me into a plot that was at times a bit predictable.

    Carrie Turansky is a new-to-me author, but after reading The Governess of Highland Hall, I'll be looking for more books from her in the future! [4 stars]

    I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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  • Posted December 26, 2013

    I have not watched any full episodes of Downtown Abbey, but have

    I have not watched any full episodes of Downtown Abbey, but have seen a few clips from the show and The Governess of Highland Hall is like Downtown Abbey in a novel just better!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel despite the views that society had of marrying outside their social class! It totally frustrated me, but Carrie writes with grace in upholding that love conquers all! The theme for this novel is definitely 1 Corinthians 13! I have read quite a few other novels that have had this theme and it's something I don't think I'll ever get tired of reading, especially with characters who have personalities like Julia's in Carrie's latest novel! I really loved Julia's personality and can say she is most definitely in my top five of favorite women protagonist I have ever read about! The way she included her relationship with God in everything and how it came out in her teachings with the children was so inspiring! I also enjoyed Sir William's character. My heart grieved for all the heartache he had experienced at such a young age and now the burdens he carries.

    I was also pleasantly surprised to read a very big Christmas scene since its Christmas time! Carrie did such a fabulous job of not only bringing Christmas to life, but the overall life of a governess and Lord/Baronet! There was such great descriptive details that it gave me no trouble in feeling like I was actually there alongside the Highland family!

    Overall this is a wonderful fiction read that is in the Edwardian period and is definitely some of the best I have read! I'm giving The Governess of Highland Hall a 4.5 stars because there were just a few places that lagged for me, but this is definitely a novel that's not to be missed!

    *I received an ARC of this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review! All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review!*

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  • Posted December 20, 2013

    Worlds lie between the marketplaces of India and the halls of a

    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's two teenage girls, William is consumed with saving the estate from financial ruin. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a 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 over the wealth and power he needs to secure Highland Hall's future?

    This book was very predictable and full of cliches. It had a good storyline and the potential of being a great book but the author chose a safe route. Hardly anything was original about it, and the characters, especially William, seemed one dimensional with hardly any personality or individuality. Also the ending seemed to come too soon and it left several loose ends.
    It was well written though (aside from the characters) and there were some things I liked about it, like how it focused on both the family and the servants, and I could picture all of the scenery pretty vividly in my mind. Not a terrible book but not all that good either.

    I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.

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  • Posted December 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    THE GOVERNESS OF HIGHLAND HALL by Carrie Turansky is an exciting

    THE GOVERNESS OF HIGHLAND HALL by Carrie Turansky is an exciting inspirational Historical Fiction set in 1911 England. Follow Missionary Julia Foster, and Sir William Ramsey,his two children as well as his deceased cousin’s two teenage girls, on a journey of healing, faith, and finding love. If you enjoy Downton Abbey than "The Governess of Highland Hall" is right up your alley. Julia accepted the governess position after returning from India with her parents to help support her ailing father. What she finds is a moody Sir William, four privileged, ill-mannered children, a grand estate, and no tolerance between the social classes, including the upstairs-downstair servants. But with her stead fast faith, her vibrant personality,her continued prayer life, and help of Sir William's sister, Sarah, Highland Hall soon transforms. Both Sir William and Julia have wounded past, guarded hearts and secrets. Together, can Sir William and Julia save Highland Hall? You MUST read this delightful, emotional story to find out all the details. This is a story about not just the family members of Highland Hall but about the people who serve them also. Much like Downton Abbey! This was my first story by this author and must say, it will not be my last. Ms. Turansky pulls the reader into her story, and holds them spellbound through the pages of "The Governess of Highland Hall". The characters are emotional, engaging and charming. The storyline is exciting and intriguing. I loved this story! I can hardly wait to see what she has in store for her readers next. I you are a Downton Abbey fan, than you will want to pick up "The Governess of Highland Hall", it will not be disappointed. Received for an honest review from the publisher.
    RATING: 4.5
    HEAT RATING: SWEET
    REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More

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  • Posted December 8, 2013

    The Governess of Highland Hall, while about the elite and those

    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.

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  • Posted December 7, 2013

    The Governess of Highland Hall is a sweet romance set in one of

    The Governess of Highland Hall is a sweet romance set in one of favorite periods of the past. Those who love the not too distant past of English nobility (think Upstairs, Downstairs and Downtown Abbey) will really enjoy The Governess of Highland Hall. All the rules and regulations of correct decorum are there along with a bit of breaking of the rules.

    Carrie Turansky weaves an entertaining story with nice attention spent on supporting characters. As part 1 of Edwardian Brides I look forward to the next in the series.

    **I Received this book through Blogging For Books program

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  • Posted December 4, 2013

    Carrie Turansky¿s The Governess of Highland Hall is full of pote

    Carrie Turansky’s The Governess of Highland Hall is full of potential. It is a Jane Eyre plot placed in a Downton Abbey setting, promising a story that will keep the pages turning. Unfortunately, the potential in the book is never reached, and the book remains a shadow of what it might have been.

    A telling sign for me in Christian fiction is the presence or absence of silent prayers – italicized wisps of character’s thoughts scattered every few pages. As a critical reader, I can find no purpose for these prayers other than to make a book more “Christian.” They rarely tell readers anything about a character that they did not already know, and they never progress the story. It is preferable to see the Christianity of a character by their actions and their words than to overhear the strands of silent pleas. For those who are interested, there are silent prayers in this book.

    Turansky narrates the book omniscient, which, in this reviewer’s opinion, is a mistake. The plot revolves largely around the romance between governess Julia Foster and the widower father of the children she is in charge of (who recently inherited an estate much like Downton, complete with a full staff and grounds, and the stresses of trying to pay off death duties). The mystery of this romance is eliminated, however, as soon as Julia is introduced to Sir. William. Despite the story’s portrayal of Julia as the central character of the book – the point of view from which most situations are seen – the reader is told at this moment that Sir. William is drawn to her. This leaves no room for the reader to ever wonder if Sir. William might not really care for her the way she cares for him – despite the fact that their feelings are not confessed until the second-last chapter.

    Perhaps in an attempt to mimic a selling point of Downton Abbey, Turansky tries to tell stories at all levels of the staff at Highland – from a kitchen maid to the butler to Julia, the governess, to Sir. William’s cousins (who are equivalent to Ladies Mary, Edith, and Sybil). This might have worked, except that each story is not given equal time to the others, and none are equal to Julia’s. It becomes confusing and difficult to know how important each of the characters are.

    Lastly, I was very confused when, about 3/4 through the book, a name appeared that I hadn’t seen at all before. It turned out to be a nickname for a character who’d been there all along… but if a character has a nickname, it would be helpful if it were introduced much sooner in the story.

    All that being said, if you’re looking for a book to read to satisfy your craving for the next season of Downton Abbey and the flaws described above don’t bother you too much, The Governess of Highland Hall might be a nice quick read you need to fill up the time.

    I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

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  • Posted November 23, 2013

    I truly enjoyed this book. This was the first time that I have r

    I truly enjoyed this book. This was the first time that I have read a novel by Carrie Turansky and I am very pleased with the way that she presented this story. As the protagonist, Julia was a breath of fresh air. I liked that she was both intelligent, witty and humble. She was aware of her own faults and strove to love everyone equally through the eyes of Christ. I also loved how her strength and vulnerability as a person and a woman showed on her sleeves, she was in many ways afraid to love again fearing abandonment but it was sweet how she and William fell in love with each other without knowing it. 




    I often felt like this story was a mix of the Sound of Music and Pride and Prejudice with just enough conflict to make it its own tale. This novel was fun, and heart-tugging as it was full of broken people who found a way to learn to love again and it was truly a pleasure seeing them grow a mature.  




    I am aware that this is the first book in the Edwardian Bride Series and I hope that each of the young ladies featured in this novel will get their chance at finding love. With so many side characters I can’t wait to see who’s story is picked up next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Downton ie Highland at its best

    This was an awesome book truly a good read with wonderful characters.

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