Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite.
When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love—and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served.
About the Author
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If she lived to be one hundred and five, Katherine Evangeline Ramsey would never understand why every debutante must begin the London social season by curtsying to the king and queen. Of course, she was excited to be presented at court and to take part in her first season. She had looked forward to it for years, however, mastering the required skills had proven more challenging than she’d expected.
But her aunt, Lady Louisa Gatewood, insisted that was how every wellbred young lady made her debut into English society and announced she was ready for marriage. Kate certainly hoped her aunt was right. Because marriage to the right man was the only way she would gain control of her life and create a future for herself.
Pulling in a deep breath, she straightened her shoulders and prepared to practice her curtsy once more.
Mr. Philippe Rounpear, her gray-haired dancing master, lowered his bushy, silver eyebrows and pointed his white-gloved finger at Kate. “You must float over the floor like a swan gliding across a lake.” He gave a firm nod. “Try again, please.”
How many times was he going to make her do this? Kate stuffed down her frustration and cast a heated glance at her aunt Louisa, who sat on a high-backed chair by the piano, taking on the role of King George V.
Her aunt stiffened. “Katherine, the only way you will gain a position in society is to take your training seriously.”
“I am taking it seriously!” The words flew from Kate’s mouth before she could stop them.
“Then you must conquer these presentation formalities and do them perfectly.”
Kate swallowed the sharp reply rising in her throat, tugged her skirt aside, and stepped into her next curtsy.
Mr. Rounpear’s voice rang out. “No, no! You look as stiff as a broom.” He crossed the oriental carpet of her cousin William Ramsey’s London drawing room and tapped her left shoulder. “You must relax your posture. Think grace, think poise.”
Heat flushed her face. She looked past the dancing master at her younger sister, Penny, who sat next to their aunt, pretending to be Queen Mary. Penny’s eyes danced as she waited for Kate to attempt her next curtsy.
Kate narrowed her gaze at her sister. Just wait. In two years you will be eighteen, and you’ll have to prepare for your own presentation. You won’t be laughing then!
Mr. Rounpear clapped his hands. “Miss Katherine, our hour is almost over. One more time, please.”
“All right.” Katherine blew out a breath and tried to relax her shoulders. She would get this right or expire in the process. She had to. Her future depended on it.
Lifting her chin, she stepped to the side, then crossed one leg behind the other, and slowly sank down in front of her Aunt Louisa.
“Better.” Mr. Rounpear nodded. “Not perfect, but better. Now lower your head, count to three, then rise slowly.”
Katherine’s legs burned as she waited and then rose.
“Now take two steps to the right, and curtsy to the queen.”
Katherine glanced at Penny and took the first step, but when she took the second, her foot tangled in her skirt. She gasped and her hand shot out.
Penny smirked and covered her mouth.
Katherine swayed, struggling to recover her balance.
Mr. Rounpear scowled. “Is that how you will conduct yourself at your presentation?”
“Of course not.” Kate untangled her skirt and turned toward the windows, frustration bubbling up within. This man was impossible! She would like to see him curtsy fifty times and never lose his balance.
“Face this way!”
Kate clenched her jaw and turned around.
“You must never turn your back on the royal family.” He motioned toward Penny and her aunt.
“They are not the royal family, and neither are you!”
His eyes flashed, and he lifted his hand. “Very well. That will be all for today.”
“Mr. Rounpear, please!” Aunt Louisa rose from her chair. “There’s no need to cut the lesson short.”
“It appears your niece is tired, and that has made her irritable.”
“But Katherine’s presentation is Friday.”
“Yes, the time is short.” The dancing instructor lowered his eyebrows and studied Kate. “I suppose I could come again on Wednesday at three o’clock.”
“Yes. Thank you. We’ll look forward to it.” Aunt Louisa sent Kate a pointed glance and waited for her response.
Kate thanked Mr. Rounpear for the lesson, though it nearly killed her.
Louisa crossed the room and pulled the cord to summon the footman. He arrived and escorted the dancing instructor out. When the door closed, she swung around and glared at Kate. “There is no excuse for your rude behavior toward Mr. Rounpear.”
Kate lifted her chin. “I don’t see why he has to come back. I know how to curtsy.”
“There is more to court presentation than learning how to curtsy.”
“Of course, but he’s so superior and demanding.”
Louisa’s nostrils flared, sending a warning. “You will have one more lesson with Mr. Rounpear, and I don’t want to hear any more about it.”
Kate’s face burned. She clenched her hands, barely able to keep herself under control. But her aunt was her presentation sponsor, and if Kate didn’t hold her tongue, she might lose her opportunity to be presented.
Louisa didn’t seem to notice Kate’s response, or perhaps she didn’t care. She turned to Penny. “Have you tried on those two new dresses?”
“Yes, but the hem of the green silk is terribly uneven. Should we send it back to the dressmaker, or should I ask Lydia to fix it?”
“Goodness, you would think with the price I’m paying that dressmaker, she could at least hem a dress properly.” Louisa motioned toward the open doorway. “I’m going to the Tremblys’ for tea at four, and I need to change, but I suppose I have time to look at it.”
“Splendid.” Penny turned and dashed out of the drawing room.
“Penelope, slow down!” Louisa raised her hand to her chest and hurried after her. “This is not a racetrack!”
Kate shook her head as she watched them go, then turned toward the window. Sunlight poured through the tall panes, drawing her gaze up to the blue sky.
It would be a perfect afternoon for a ride. Of course, a tame promenade down Rotten Row in Hyde Park wouldn’t be nearly as exciting as a highspeed race across the beautiful rolling hills at Highland Hall, her country estate in Berkshire.
That thought stopped her cold, and pain pierced her heart.
It wasn’t her estate anymore.
It had been almost a year since her father’s death, and when she lost him, she lost control of Highland as well. It wasn’t right, but it was the law.
She had no brothers, and daughters could not inherit their father’s title or the estate that was tied to it. So even though they barely knew him, William Ramsey—her second cousin once removed—had taken her father’s title as baronet and become master of Highland Hall. Even worse, her father had named Cousin William to be her guardian until she married, and that had made her life very difficult these last few months.
Of course, her father had not left her penniless. Money had been put aside for her marriage settlement. But if she wanted freedom from her cousin’s control and a home of her own, she would have to find a husband this season.
Which was exactly what she intended to do.
She crossed to the center of the room to practice her curtsy a few more times before tea. Perhaps without everyone hovering over her and criticizing her every move, she could relax and master the graceful movements she needed to impress the king and queen. And everyone else who would be watching.
Closing her eyes, she pictured the motions. Then she lifted her hand, stepped to the left, and sank down once more. Lowering her head, she counted to three, then slowly rose. There, that was better. She smiled at the imaginary queen. “Thank you, Your Majesty. I’m very pleased to meet you.”
A giggle drifted in through the open doorway.
Kate glanced to the right, following the sound.
Six-year-old Millie, Cousin William’s daughter, peeked around the edge of the doorway. Her ginger curls spilled over her shoulder as she leaned in.
A smile broke across Kate’s face. “Millie, are you spying on me?”
“No, I’m just watching. What are you doing?”
“I’m practicing for my presentation to the king and queen.”
Millie’s blue-green eyes glowed. “You’re going to the palace to see the king and queen?”
“Yes, I am. There will be two hundred other young women presented that day, but I’ll have my turn to meet them, and you’ll do the same when you’re my age.”
Millie’s impish smile spread wider. “Really?”
“Of course.” Kate’s spirit lifted. Millie was right. Presentation at court was an exciting opportunity that would open the door to Kate’s future. She shouldn’t let her overbearing aunt or her gloomy dancing instructor squelch her happiness.
It was time to make the most of the day. She focused on her young cousin again. “Would you like to learn how to curtsy?”
“Yes!” Millie hurried across the room toward Kate.
“All right. Stand like this.” Kate showed her young cousin the first position.
The little girl watched Kate with eager expectation, then lifted her skirt and followed along.
• • •
Jonathan Foster hopped down from the London omnibus and set off across Hathaway Court, a broad, tree-lined street in the heart of Kensington. The late April sunshine warmed his shoulders, and the fresh spring breeze carried a faint floral scent. What a perfect day.
The pleasant spring weather wasn’t the only reason for his cheerful mood. In less than two weeks, he would finish his fifth term at medical school, and he could enjoy a bit more freedom and a lot more sleep for the next few months.
Jon glanced at his watch. He didn’t need to be back at St. George’s Hospital until seven this evening. That gave him plenty of time to call on his sister, Julia, and her future husband, Sir William Ramsey, and welcome them to London.
Although their parents were in favor of his sister’s upcoming marriage, Jon wanted to become better acquainted with William and be sure he was the right man for Julia. Ramsey might be a baronet and master of a large country estate, but it was Julia’s recent inheritance from their grandfather that had saved Highland Hall from financial ruin just two months earlier.
Did William truly love Julia, or had he pursued her for the inheritance? With their father still recovering from a prolonged illness and living miles away in Fulton, Jon wanted to make sure his sister was protected and her future secure.
He rounded the corner, and Ramsey House came into view. He studied the impressive three-story Queen Anne–style home built of red brick. It had white trim, an intricate dutch gable with a scrolled roofline on the left, and a large round turret at the corner on the right. Another arched gable sheltered the front entrance.
He stopped at the wrought-iron gate and surveyed the property. Two well-kept flower gardens and neat boxwood hedges lined the walkway leading to the front door. They added a warm welcome and softened the formal appearance of the house. He was sure his sister appreciated that.
William Ramsey’s London home was certainly different from Jon and Julia’s simple childhood home at the mission station in India—and the thatched cottage where their parents now stayed in Fulton. His sister would lead a very different life here. But he imagined she would accept those changes with the same grace and goodwill she had always shown.
Still…was this marriage what was best for her? Would she be happy here? That’s what he needed to discover.
He pushed open the gate, mounted the steps, and rang the bell.
A few moments later, a stout butler in a neatly pressed black suit answered the door and ushered him in. “Please wait here, sir.” The butler motioned toward a chair in the entrance hall.
“Thank you.” Jon removed his hat and glanced around as the butler passed through a doorway at the end of the hall.
The interior of the house was even more impressive than the facade, with beautiful hardwood floors, thick carpets, and an elaborately carved wooden staircase leading up to the next floor. A large mirror in a gilded frame hung on the wall to his right between two large family portraits. He stepped closer and examined one of the paintings.
Could that be William Ramsey when he was a boy? The young lad had the same features as the man he’d met at his sister’s engagement dinner at Highland Hall in February. Two boys stood with him. Jon guessed they were his brothers. A younger sister and their parents sat in front of them in a garden setting. If that boy in the middle was William, he looked rather somber, even as a child.
A soft female voice followed by a little girl’s giggle drifted from the partially open doorway down the hall.
Jonathan tipped his head and listened. Was that Julia with Sir William’s daughter, Millie? Julia had grown very fond of Sir William’s two young children since she’d become their governess at Highland Hall six months ago. And in a few months she would become their stepmother.
“Very nice, Millie. Let’s try it again.”
No, that wasn’t Julia’s voice. Perhaps it was Katherine Ramsey or her sister, Penelope. Jon had met William’s cousins at Julia’s engagement dinner at Highland, and he had seen them again at William’s sister’s wedding earlier this month.
“Show me again.” Millie’s young voice carried a smile.
“All right. Follow me.”
Jonathan moved closer and looked into the drawing room. The plush furniture had been pushed back. Katherine Ramsey stood in the center of the room wearing a sky-blue dress, with Millie standing beside her. Katherine’s back was to the entrance hall, so she didn’t see him step into the doorway.
Katherine lifted her skirt a few inches and exposed a bit of ruffle around her slim ankles. “Step to the left and place your right foot behind. Then slowly sink down until your knee almost touches the floor, but not quite.”
Millie copied each movement, though hers were not as smooth as Katherine’s.
“Now, lower your head.” Katherine demonstrated and Millie followed. “Hold perfectly still while you slowly count to three before you rise.”
Millie wavered, then gasped and tipped to the side.
Katherine lunged to catch her, but Millie crashed onto the carpet, and Katherine landed in a heap beside her.
Jonathan dashed across the room. “Miss Ramsey, are you all right?”
She looked up at him, and her cheeks flushed bright pink. “Mr. Foster…Yes, of course, I’m fine.”
Millie giggled as she pushed herself to her hands and knees and then stood. “I guess I need more practice.”
“I suppose I do as well.” Katherine started to rise.
Jon extended his hand to her. “Please, allow me.”
She glanced up at him, her eyebrows slightly arched. “I promise you I’ve curtsied dozens of times today, and this is the only time I’ve fallen.”
“Of course. I’m sure it was only because you were trying to help Millie. Now, please, let me be a gentleman and help you.” He smiled and continued to hold out his hand.
She hesitated a moment, then reached out and clasped his fingers. He helped her to her feet, then she slipped her hand from his.
“Thank you.” As she looked down and brushed off her skirt, Jon had a moment to observe her more carefully. Her long, golden-brown hair was tied back with a blue ribbon that matched the color of her eyes. One wavy strand of hair had come loose when she fell. She reached up and tucked it behind her ear, her hand grazing her flushed cheek.
His gaze drifted from her cheek to her full, pink lips.
She looked up. “Mr. Foster?”
He swallowed and looked into her eyes. “Yes?”
“Have you come to see your sister?”
She glanced over her shoulder and then back at him. “Does she know you’ve arrived?”
He blinked, struggling to find an answer. “Yes.”
She searched his face with a slight frown. “Mr. Foster, are you quite all right?”
“Yes.” He shook his head and looked away. What was the matter with him? “The butler asked me to wait in the entrance hall, but I heard your voice and thought you were Julia, so I looked in. Of course then I realized you weren’t Julia… You were you.” His neck warmed. He was rambling on like an idiot.
A hint of amusement lit her eyes. “Well, we’re very grateful you came to our aid, aren’t we, Millie?”
The little girl nodded, her curls bobbing on her shoulders. “Are you staying for tea?” Millie looked up at him with a friendly smile and wide, innocent eyes.
He glanced at Katherine.
“Yes, of course. You’re welcome to join us for tea. I’m sure Cousin William and Julia will be down soon.” She placed her hand on Millie’s shoulder. “Why don’t you go tell them Mr. Foster is here?”
Millie nodded and turned to go just as William and Julia walked into the drawing room with Andrew, William’s eleven-year-old son.
“Jonathan, what a wonderful surprise.” Julia crossed the room and greeted him with a kiss on his cheek. “I’m so happy to see you.”
“Thank you. I’m very glad to see you as well. Welcome to London.” He shook hands with William and turned to Andrew. “How are you, young sir?”
“Very well, thank you.” The sturdy little fellow’s face was covered with freckles, and his red hair was an even brighter shade than his sister’s.
“We hope you’re still coming to dinner on Thursday,” Julia said.
“Yes, I’m looking forward to it. But my classes were canceled this afternoon, so I thought I’d stop in and say hello.”
“That’s wonderful.” Julia turned to Katherine. “Thank you for entertaining Jonathan while he waited for us.”
Katherine shot him a questioning glance, and he returned a reassuring smile. Her secret was safe with him. He would not mention her fall.
“Yes, Katherine and Millie were very kind and…quite entertaining.”
“We invited him to stay for tea,” Millie added with a proud smile.
William touched his daughter’s shoulder. “That was very thoughtful, Millie.”
Millie looked up at her father, soaking up his praise.
“Yes, please stay for tea and tell us all your news.” Julia took his arm and led him out of the drawing room.
As they crossed the threshold, he glanced over his shoulder at Katherine. Her gaze connected with his for a split second, then she looked away, a hint of a smile on her lips.
• • •
Kate took a sip of steaming hot tea and glanced across at Jonathan, who sat opposite her in the library. He stirred sugar into his tea, his movement smooth and relaxed. The discomfort he’d shown earlier in the drawing room seemed to have disappeared, leaving Kate wondering, What was that about?
Julia poured a cup of tea and passed it to William. The children were gathered around a small table near the library fireplace.
William helped himself to a scone and glanced at Julia. “Won’t Penny and Louisa be joining us?”
“They’ve gone to call on the Tremblys, and then they plan to stop at the dressmaker’s on the way home.”
William lifted his dark eyebrows. “More dress fittings?”
“An adjustment was needed on the hem of one of Penny’s gowns.”
Kate nibbled on a lemon tart and glanced at Jonathan again. His blue eyes looked very similar to his sister’s. But his hair was light brown with a touch of gold rather than dark brown like Julia’s. He had pleasant features with a high forehead, straight nose, and a strong, square chin. With his broad shoulders and athletic build, he would be considered quite handsome by most women.
That certainly didn’t matter to Kate. She knew what she was looking for in a husband. She and her aunt had discussed it at length. If Kate hoped to gain a place in society, she must marry a wealthy man from an aristocratic family, preferably one in line to inherit a title and estate. Of course, he would also be handsome, with pleasant manners and fine character, but that went without saying.
Jonathan looked up and smiled at her, with an invitation to friendship in his eyes.
Was it right to judge a man so quickly because of his lack of fortune and family connections? She looked away, dismissing the slight wave of guilt that pricked her conscience.
William set his plate aside and settled back in his chair. “The stories in the newspaper about the Titanic have certainly been tragic.”
Julia glanced at the children, concern in her expression. But Andrew and Millie were enjoying their fruit tarts and sandwiches and didn’t appear to be listening.
“Did you know anyone on board?” Jonathan asked.
“I went to school with Kirby Brumfield. We belonged to the same club.” William lowered his voice. “His wife and two children were rescued, but he was not.”
Sorrow flooded Julia’s expression. “It’s such a tragedy. We must pray for them all.”
Jonathan nodded and looked across at Kate. “Have you read the articles about the Titanic, Miss Ramsey?”
The temptation to say she had rose in her mind, and her face warmed. A few months ago she would’ve easily lied to give a better impression, but since Julia’s arrival Kate had been learning the value of telling the truth, even when it reflected poorly on her.
She lifted her eyes and met Jonathan’s gaze. “No, I haven’t.”
He studied her for a moment with a hint of disappointment in his eyes, then glanced down at his teacup.
Regret washed over her. Of course she’d heard about the Titanic sinking a week earlier, but with their move to London, the dress fittings, and her preparations for the season, she hadn’t thought much about it. But now, hearing how William’s friend had lost his life, the tragedy seemed more real—and her lack of concern, more shameful.
Julia shifted in her seat and glanced at Andrew and Millie again. “Perhaps we should talk about something else. I don’t want to upset the children.”
“You’re right, dear. That’s a topic for another time.” William turned to Jonathan. “How is your training coming along at the hospital?”
“Very well. Making rounds with the doctors and observing surgeries is much more helpful than sitting in a classroom or pouring over textbooks.”
Julia nodded looking pleased. “You always have liked learning from practical experience.”
“That’s true.” Jonathan helped himself to a small sandwich. “How are your plans coming for the season?”
“Katherine’s presentation is Friday.” Julia smiled at Kate. “I’m sure she’ll receive several invitations after that. We expect to have a very full calendar.”
Jonathan turned to Kate. “This Friday?”
A bite of lemon tart stuck in her throat. She nodded and forced a slight smile.
“And her ball is planned for the eleventh of May,” Julia said. “We hope you’ll be able to come.”
“Of course. I’d be honored to.” Jonathan glanced around the room. “Will you be holding the ball here?”
“We planned to.” William frowned and shook his head. “But Lady Gatewood, Katherine’s aunt, insists there’s not enough room. We have over one hundred and fifty guests on the list.”
A thrill ran through Kate, and she couldn’t hold back her smile. “Aunt Louisa helped us make arrangements to hold it at Sheffield House. They have a large ballroom with a lovely terrace and gardens.”
“Katherine’s aunt is friends with the Tremonts, who own Sheffield,” Julia added. “They’ve been very kind to allow us to host the ball there.”
Jonathan focused on Kate with a slight smile. “I’ve never been to a debutante ball.”
“It should be wonderful.”
“I’m sure it will be.” Julia turned to Jonathan. “So, when will you finish your classes?”
“Just two more weeks. Then I’ll start two mornings a week at the hospital for the rest of the summer.”
“That should be a nice change for you,” Julia said.
“Yes, I’m looking forward to it, although I’ll have to hunt for a new flat right away.”
Julia tipped her head. “You’re moving?”
“I must. The owner of our building is selling the property. I have to be out by the fifteenth of May at the latest.”
William frowned. “That’s certainly short notice.”
“Yes, it is. Theo Anderson, one of my fellow students, invited me to stay with him, but I’m afraid his flat is even smaller than mine. I’m not sure how well that would work.”
“Why don’t you stay here?” William set his plate aside and continued. “We have four guest rooms, and we’re not expecting to fill them all.”
Kate darted a glance at Jonathan. She supposed having him stay with them wouldn’t be too awkward, but what would people think? Of course, with her aunt, cousin, and Julia as her chaperones, even London’s scandal-loving society shouldn’t object.
“Sarah and Clark will be coming to town for Katherine’s ball,” William added, “but they’re only staying for a few days. We don’t return to Highland until early August. You’re welcome to stay with us as long as you’d like.”
“Thank you. That will give me plenty of time to look for a new flat before classes start again in the fall.”
“How soon would you like to bring your things over?” William asked.
“I could come tomorrow, if that fits in with your plans.”
“Excellent. We’ll send the car around. Just name the time.”
“Would three o’clock be convenient? I have a trunk and a few boxes of books, so it would be very helpful.”
William nodded and set his teacup on the table. “I’ll ask Lawrence to arrange it.”
Julia’s expression brightened as she looked from William to Jonathan. “It will be wonderful to have you here with us.”
Jonathan offered them both a grateful smile. “It will be a pleasure, and it should give me a chance to get to know William and the rest of the family.” His gaze shifted from William and Julia to Kate.
Kate looked down at her plate. She doubted she would see much of Jonathan Foster after her presentation. Once the season moved into full swing, invitations would pour in, and her days and nights would be filled with parties, dinners, balls, and outings. She glanced at Jonathan once more, and a twinge of regret traveled through her.
• • •
Lydia Chambers hurried down the back stone stairs, carefully carrying Miss Katherine’s large lavender hat. Perhaps Mrs. Adams, the housekeeper, would know how to reattach the ostrich feathers that had somehow come loose on the trip from Berkshire to town.
Lydia heaved a sigh as she passed the main floor landing and continued downstairs. She’d been so happy with her promotion from Highland housemaid to lady’s maid for Miss Katherine and Miss Penelope. The idea of traveling with the Ramsey family to London had been thrilling for a simple farm girl, but now she had a whole new set of responsibilities: fixing the young ladies’ hair, caring for their clothing, and even sewing their undergarments.
There was much to learn! And if she didn’t do it well, she’d be demoted back to housemaid and find herself on the next train back to Berkshire.
Had she been a fool to accept the promotion?
She bit her lip and knocked on Mrs. Adams’s door.
Lydia opened the door and stepped into the housekeeper’s cozy parlor. “Good afternoon, ma’am.”
Mrs. Adams turned in her chair. “What can I do for you, Lydia?”
“Miss Katherine wants to wear this tomorrow.” She held out the hat and pulled out the three ostrich plumes. “And I’ve no idea how to get these blessed feathers back in place.”
A hint of a smile touched Mrs. Adams’s lips, and her eyes crinkled at the corners. “Let me see it.” Lydia handed her the hat, and Mrs. Adams turned it in her hands, inspecting the flowers, feathers, and netting. “My goodness there’s quite a garden here, isn’t there?”
A smile tugged at Lydia’s lips. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Well, you’ve come to the right place.” Mrs. Adams looked up, her soft gray eyes shining. “My mother was a milliner, and I grew up making hats. I’ll show you how to fix it.”
Lydia clasped her hands. “Oh, thank you. I thought I was going to be sacked before I finished my first week in London.”
“Don’t worry, my dear. By the time we’re finished, Miss Katherine could wear this hat in the worst windstorm and never lose a feather.”
“I’m ever so grateful. I really do want to learn to be a proper lady’s maid.”
“Of course you do, and I’m happy to help. Now let me find what we need, and then we’ll take it to the servants’ hall. It’s almost time for tea.” Mrs. Adams handed Lydia the hat, then took her sewing basket from the shelf in the corner. She motioned toward the door. “After you, my dear.”
Lydia’s tense shoulders relaxed as she walked into the servants’ hall and took a seat at the long wooden table. Most of the other servants had already gathered there and were enjoying their tea and a short break from their busy day.
Ann Norton, the nursery maid, looked up and smiled as Lydia settled in next to her. “You better watch out for that hat. You don’t want to get jam or tea on it.”
“You’re right about that.” Lydia carefully laid the hat in her lap. “I wouldn’t have brought it in, but Mrs. Adams is going to show me how to fix the feathers.” Lydia glanced across the room at the housekeeper.
Mrs. Adams stood at the head of the long table, speaking in a low voice to Mr. Lawrence, the butler. Together they oversaw the staff. Mr. Lawrence took charge of the male servants, including the two footmen, the chauffeur, and a groom. Mrs. Adams watched over the female servants, two housemaids, Ann, and herself.
Mrs. Murdock, the cook, bustled in and set a tray of sandwiches on the table. She frowned at Nelson, the footman, who was already eating. “You’re certainly in a hurry. Couldn’t you wait for the rest of us?”
“Sorry.” Nelson glanced at Mr. Lawrence.
The butler turned to Mrs. Murdock. “I told them to go ahead. We have quite a bit to do, and I saw no need to wait.”
Mrs. Murdock rolled her eyes. “Oh well, that explains it.”
Lydia and Ann exchanged a smile. Since their arrival in London, Mrs. Murdock and Mr. Lawrence seemed to be testing each other, trying to determine who was truly in charge at the meals. Although Mrs. Murdock oversaw two kitchen maids and all the meal preparations, she still answered to Mrs. Adams and Mr. Lawrence.
Each one had their place and knew they needed to keep to it and show the proper respect to those above them.
Ann glanced at the housekeeper. “That’s nice of Mrs. Adams to help you with the hat.”
“Yes, she’s kind.” Lydia leaned closer. “Ever so much nicer than Mrs. Emmitt.”
Ann’s lips puckered as though she’d tasted something bitter. “I’m glad we won’t be taking orders from her when we go back to Highland.”
“So am I.”
Mrs. Emmitt, the previous housekeeper at Highland, had tried to sack Ann last winter when she’d been caught alone with Peter Gates, a former groom. But Miss Foster had spoken up for Ann and convinced Sir William to overrule the housekeeper and keep Ann on.
Ann brushed a breadcrumb from her apron. “It’s good the truth about Mrs. Emmitt finally came out. Imagine, her trying to get rid of Miss Foster.”
Lydia shook her head. “She ought not to have done that.”
“Especially since Miss Foster and Sir William had feelings for each other.”
“It’s quite romantic, isn’t it—a fine gentleman like Sir William falling in love with a governess?”
Ann shrugged one shoulder. “I suppose. I’m just glad Mrs. Emmitt was the one who was sacked instead of Miss Foster or me.”
The staff had been told Mrs. Emmitt had resigned and gone to live with her sister in Bristol, but the truth had been whispered from one servant to the next, and few were sorry to see the old housekeeper go.
Lydia carefully poured herself a cup of tea, making sure not to splash any on Miss Katherine’s hat. “Do you think Mrs. Adams will be coming back to Highland, to replace Mrs. Emmitt?”
Ann shook her head. “I heard she has two daughters and a grandchild here in town. I doubt she’d want to take a job so far from her family.”
“Well, they’ll have to find someone to run the house.”
Ann spread butter on a slice of bread. “I wish I could apply, but they probably want someone with more experience.”
Lydia nodded. “It’s a big job to manage a house like Highland.”
Patrick, the second footman, walked into the servants’ hall. His light brown hair was neatly combed, and he wore a smart livery. “The afternoon post, sir.” He handed Mr. Lawrence a stack of envelopes.
“Thank you.” Mr. Lawrence quickly sorted through the pile and set most of the letters aside. He looked down the table. “Lydia, you have a letter.”
Lydia hopped up to accept the envelope from the butler. “Thank you, sir.”
He nodded and passed out two more pieces of mail.
Lydia glanced at the envelope and her spirit lifted. Letters from home were a rare treat, and she eagerly tore open the envelope. She unfolded the one sheet of paper and scanned the first few lines. Her breath caught in her throat as she quickly read the rest.
Your sister Helen has run off, and we are heartsick and so worried. We have no idea who she is with or where she’s gone. Have you heard from her?
Your father has spoken to some of the young people in the village and nearby farms. He even offered a reward. No one has come forward yet, but we hope someone will speak up soon. I feel certain one of them knows where she’s gone.
Please pray for her and for us. Your father is beside himself, and my heart is breaking. If you hear from her, please send word right away.
I hope you are well and you are able to learn all that’s needed in your new position. There are many temptations in London. I hope you will avoid them all and stay on the straight and narrow path.
Your loving Mother
Lydia’s hand trembled as she stared at her mother’s script. Why would Helen run away? Of course, life on the farm was not easy, but how could she just up and disappear without telling their parents? Where would she go? How would she live?
If she longed to leave home that much, why didn’t she take a respectable job in service with a good family, rather than running off and causing so much trouble for their family? But Helen had always been a romantic soul and longed for the day when a young man would woo her and whisk her away to a charmed life.
Lydia folded the letter and slipped it back in the torn envelope.
“Lydia? What’s wrong?” Ann leaned toward her. “Is it bad news?”
Lydia swallowed and looked around. She couldn’t speak of her sister’s troubles here in the servants’ hall, not with everyone listening.
Ann reached for her arm. “Goodness, your face has gone as white as a sheet.”
Lydia pulled away and stood, but her legs felt shaky. “I’m all right. I just need…some fresh air.” She turned and strode out of the servants’ hall.
“But what about Miss Katherine’s hat?”
“I’ll come back for it.” Lydia hurried down the hall, then pushed open the back door. Stepping out to the rear courtyard, she squinted against the late afternoon sunlight. The smell of horses and hay drifted from the open stable door past the carriage house.
She leaned against a stack of wooden crates and tried to still her racing thoughts.
Oh Helen, what have you done?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I’ve read all three novels in Carrie Turansky’s Edwardian Bride series, and once again the author succeeds in delivering a compelling and inspiring tale set in England near the turn of the twentieth century. Her words bring life to the pages, with memorable characters, sumptuous scenes, and heart-wrenching conflict as a lovely young debutante must decide the course of her life amidst the glitter and grandeur of a first London Season. Must she choose, or can she have it all? As I stayed up late reading to the last page to find out, my spirits were lifted at the reminder of God’s unconditional love for us all and His offer of wisdom and guidance to those who seek Him through prayer. The Daughter of Highland Hall is a lovely story that will linger in my mind and heart for some time. I look forward to reading more from Carrie Turansky!
The Daughter of Highland Hall is the second book in Carrie Turansky’s Edwardian Brides series, coming after TheGoverness of Highland Hall. While I definitely enjoyed the first book in the series, I have to say, I liked The Daughter of Highland Hall better. With a much more suspenseful plot, this novel kept me captivated; I never was completely sure what would happen. Personally, I felt like the happy ending was much more glorified, much more unexpected (if a happy ending can be unexpected) and exciting. Besides, I found Katherine and Jonathan to be even more relatable than Julia and William. All her life Katherine Ramsey (yes she is William’s niece) has dreamt of marrying a wealthy man of society and securing her future, especially since her family estate became her uncle William’s when her father died. As she begins her first season among London’s elite, Kate believes she will be able to do just that, until family secrets and scandal threaten to ruin her chances. Longing for her life to mean something, Kate joins Julia’s medical-student brother, Jonathan Foster, as he volunteers in the East End. What she finds is nothing like she expected; instead, she realizes she loves helping out where she can, and she is enjoying her time with Jon far more than she thought she would. Will she give up everything she thought she wanted for a life unlike any she’s ever known, or will she sacrifice her chance at a life of happiness for the security she’s always longed for? Honestly, I cannot tell you how refreshing Kate was. Her honesty never failed to astonish me, and I loved watching her relationship with God deepen as time went on. She had more compassion and love than I originally gave her credit for, and I enjoyed seeing her find fulfillment in helping others. I liked watching her with Jon, too (wink wink). I couldn’t get enough of the two of them. Their attraction was palpable, to me anyway, and you could practically see the sparks fly between them. It also didn’t hurt that Jon was such a sweetheart. From the day he met her, Jon constantly felt the need to protect Kate—whether from the dangers of East End or the incredibly rude and pushy remarks from her irritating aunt—and that was so sweet to behold. And I have to say, it’s hard not to love a man with such deep faith who puts the needs of others before his own. I would’ve been shocked if I—and Kate—hadn’t fallen for him. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. While I found the plot, and the characters, interesting and wonderful, I also really loved the elements of faith in this novel. After reading both The Daughter of Highland Hall and its predecessor, that is something I really applaud Carrie for. She does an amazing job of weaving her faith into her books in a way that is touching and inspiring, and I love her for it. Obviously I must give this novel all five bookshelves. I loved it too much to even consider giving it less. And I highly recommend it because I am sure you, dear readers, will love it too. (This review is from my blog, spreadinghisgrace.blogspot.com)
The Daughter of Highland Hall, Edwardian Brides book 2**** by Carrie Turansky Eighteen year old Katherine (Kate) Ramsey is making her debut in London society, in hopes of attracting a suitable husband. Her overbearing aunt, Lady Louisa Gatewood, is sponsoring her and has high hopes for Katherine. Kate soon finds she has two suitors and must decide which young man would best meet her needs. But will she follow her aunt's advice and marry for money and prestige or will she follow her heart and marry for love? Suitor Jon Foster is a medical student and is the brother to Julia Foster, now married to Sir William Ramsey. Jon has decisions to make of his own, whether to return to India after medical school and continue the ministry his parents, sister and he were committed to. Or does God have other plans for him here in London? I enjoyed getting to know Jon a little more, seeing into his heart and his strong faith. Suitor Edward Wellington is from a wealthy family and his parents hope he meets a suitable bride during the London season. A bride worthy of the Wellington name and fortune. But what of Edward, what does he want for a bride? Will he follow his parents wishes despite how he feels or will he follow his heart even if it divides the family? In book one of this series Kate was bratty and demanding, I didn't like her very much. In this second book we see Kate has begun to grow up and loose some of her former behavior. As she seeks her way during her London season, she begins to see how her life would be if she followed her aunt's overbearing guidance. She also sees possibly a different path she could take if she is brave enough to go against her aunt. I liked seeing Kate grow, not only in maturity, but in her faith and began seeking and allowing God to guide her in her life choices. I enjoyed how spiritual growth and the way God works in the characters lives are clearly shown in the story. There are subplots and secondary characters that reveal some surprising developments and shocking actions that are unsettling to the families. I am looking forward to read book 3, A Refuge of Highland Hall, in October this year.
The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky is the second book in the Edwardian Brides series. I really enjoyed this sequel! It was as good as the first one, and I'm looking forward to the next book. Plus, I liked still hearing about the characters from The Governess from Highland Hall. Katherine Ramsey is coming out into society sponsored by her overbearing aunt. Determined to be a success so she can snag a man of good social standing, Katherine finds that it is much harder to navigate the murky waters of society than she previously thought. From the beginning, everything went wrong, and it only went downhill from there. Will she be able to get any husband after her family's name has been tarnished? Discouraged and confused, Katherine learns to rely on God like never before. Jonathan Foster has come to stay at Sir William Ramsey's house while they are in London for the season. Attracted to Katherine's strength, humor, and honesty, he enjoys being able to socialize with her. But when he realizes he wants to be more than friends, Jonathan takes a step back to think and pray. Is she really saved, or is she a Christian in name only? And what of her desire to marry for social standing? Katherine wanted to have a great debut in society because it was expected, but when she realized the truth of her ambitions, she wasn't so sure that was what she wanted for her life. Being with Jonathan opened her eyes to the other side of the coin. While helping him at the free clinic, she came face to face to the reality of thousands of people in London especially the children. When her desires changed, she found true freedom for the first time in her life. If you like historical fiction set in Britain, you will like this series. I don't normally see books written in the early 1900s in England so it was a nice change from the Regency I normally read. I wish more authors would write from the normal average people in that time period, though. Not every rich persons marries someone poor or vice versa. I was given this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
This book had a lot going on in it and I enjoyed it all. It was nice to get to know the main characters and a few of the minor characters also. I laughed and I cried. It was nice to see Katherine grow as a person. Each storyline was well written and the story flowed very well. Look forward to the next in the series. I received this from bloggingforbooks for a fair and honest opinion.
This was a nice sweet period piece to read. I would recommend this to Christian fiction readers.
Katherine Ramsey is excited to make her debut and capture the attention of a wealthy heir, and despite her horrible presentation to the royal family, she is doing her best to live up to Aunt Louisa's expectations, and secure an acceptable proposal. But when a young medical student crosses her path and surprises her with his genuine dedication to the Lord and helping those in need. She can't help but wonder if a different life is what she is being called to... The Daughter of Highland Hall more than lived up to my high expectations. Julia and William are making plans for their wedding, while Aunt Louisa is preparing Kate for her coming out...In typical Aunt Louisa fashion... In this book Kate really comes into her own, leaving childish ways behind her, proving that she is so much more than a rich debutante. I loved Jon from the very first, he is a man of God with a true heart for helping others. I loved how he helped Lydia find her sister. Jon was probably my favorite character, because of his strength of character. He knew what he believed and always thought the best of others. This was a engaging read, and though it took me a while to finish, (because I had to put it down to go to work and study for exams), I found that every time I picked it up again I remembered exactly what had happened last, so I could dive right back in. Which only serves to prove how memorable this book is! Overall a fantastic read, that swept me away into the glamour and grandeur of a London season, filled with parties, suitors, as well as the east end, ravaged by poverty. I loved how Jon and Kate's friendship grew and they were both challenged by the obstacles that they faced. A book that I highly recommend!
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof... Be still, and know that I am God..." Psalm 46 This was such a fantastic story. I absolutely loved the characters, plot, and the message that Carrie expertly weaved. The story was interesting and kept me engaged. The characters were well rounded and excellently written. It was definitely nice to catch up with William and Julia. The characters were fantastically written and developed. I really like Kate as a character. At her age, the confusion and feelings that she felt were natural and appropriate. She is torn between what is tradition and what the Lord wants for her life. Accepting a path that is different from what you always envisioned your life would take is hard, and Carrie does a fantastic job of portraying that. Jon is a strong male lead character. I love his attitude and faith. He is a great example for Kate to follow. The message, as I believe the verse above portrays, is to lean on God. Trust Him for all things in our lives, and He will bless us according to His will. When we place our trust and our lives in God's hands, all things work out for good, according to His purpose. Taking that leap of faith is a scary and somewhat intimidating, but the author is letting us know that it is worth it all in the end. Overall, I recommend this story for anyone who loves a good, clean period romance with a strong message of faith, love, and trusting your heart.
The Daughter of Highland Hall truly struck a chord within me. It was beautifully written, but most of all I loved and connected to the message and faith, the character growth, and the story. This is Kate's debut season, but instead of being a stereotypical debutante at the beginning like people would expect of her, you could see her inner personality and grace shine through. She is not a spoiled child in any way. I loved seeing her grow spiritually as she watched Julia and Jon live their faith out loud. Her spirit, strength, honesty, determination, selfless kindness, and caring manner were present at all times and I enjoyed seeing it played out and growing stronger as the book progressed. She grew in leaps and bounds throughout the book especially spiritually, going from a girl who wasn't to sure about God, to one who trusted in him for every move. I really loved the way that missionary work was presented and played out throughout this book, I really connected to Jon and Kate through their feelings toward that, and their response toward God's calling. I know exactly what that feels like, and it was written perfectly. It's the best feeling ever to know that God is calling you to do something. I wish more books were like this in that light, and I found it truly moving (it made me long to be in Romania again, and I really hope I get to do more missionary work someday). I also enjoyed reading about Jon's constant faith and his relationship with God since his childhood. It was interesting to read about the medical aspect and his time in India. He was such a great guy and so perfect for Kate, but then there was Edward! Their conversations were very enjoyable and I looked forward to their time together and what would be drawn from it! Would she be willing to sacrifice a life of privilege? Would he be willing to ask her to? There was a lot depth to this book, and the other characters were great to read about as well. I was transported into the Edwardian time period, visualizing and living through events with these characters. There's also exciting action and danger. I hope to read more books by Carrie Turansky soon -The Governess of Highland Hall is going to be moved up on my TBR list, and I'm going to add her other books to my TBR immediately! This is definitely worth a read, and a re-read too! I received a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
The people come alive in the historical story. You won't be able to put it down.
What can I say that has not already been said in prior reviews regarding Carrie Turnasky’s captivating story about Kathryn, The Daughter of Highland Hall? How can Ms. Turnasky always be at her best with each novel that she writes? I really adored this book! It has been quite a while since I read the first book in this series, and I had double the fun of re-reading parts of The Governess of Highland Hall – about William and Julia to refresh my mind and it picked up right where this book left off. It is now April 1912 in London, England and the young teenager Katherine Ramsey is preparing for her presentation before the King and Queen of England, followed by her debut. Where Katherine behaved as a bratty kid in the previous novel, it appears that she and Julia have come to a new understanding of congeniality. Of course, when a woman like Lady Louisa Gatewood, Katherine’s aunt, insists that every well-bred young lady must be made ready for her debut into English society and ready for marriage – frustration sets in with all the curtsy practice involved. Lady Gatewood aided Katherine in creating a list of qualifications for her future husband. He would need to be a man of wealth and title. Let us refer to Katherine as Kate from here on. Before coming to London from Berkshire, England – a bit of family history. Kate would have inherited Highland Hall, but lost control of her inheritance upon her father’s death. Her second cousin William Ramsey had taken her father’s title as baronet and became the master of Highland Hall as well as her guardian until she married. Highland Hall in Berkshire had been partially destroyed by fire necessitating a move to Ramsey House in London. Much of this story concentrates on Julia Foster and her family. Jonathan Foster, her brother, was a medical student intending to return to India to continue the mission his family had begun. Jon was employed by Dr. Pittsford who had moved his practice to the East End of London, a slum full of danger. Jon lived in William’s home in London. A wedding for William and Julia was in the future. There was already strife between William and his brother David. A nervous Kate had made a big faux pas at her presentation before royalty. Imagine the uproar from Aunt Louisa! Jon’s shoulder was available for Kate’s commiseration. More trouble abounds when Kate’s lady’s maid learns her unmarried sister Helen is pregnant and in an abusive situation. However at her debut, she met Edward Wellington who met every detail of her list. Could this be her future husband? Edward asked to court her, but was strongly influenced by his parents. Then, emanated the big scandal involving Williams brother David. Edward dropped out of the picture and Jon and Kate began to fall in love. All of this and more creates a novel reminiscent of Downton Abbey….and I am fond of that series. Ms. Turnasky weaves together fascinating facts, mystery, humor, and faith in God and well developed characters with accurately researched Edwardian etiquette. I am not at all certain how Carrie Turnasky gives such a great pen to her ideas, but I am glad she is an expert doing so. I am in awe of her writing - naturally making it all about God’s answers. If you haven’t read The Governess of Highland Hall, I suggest you do before you read The Daughter of Highland Hall. Both are stand-alone novels – that go together. I am certainly looking forward to the third book, A Refuge at Highland Hall. Might Ms.Turnasky bring war and the wounded into this novel? We won’t know unless we read it! I was given a complimentary copy of this book by Litfuse Publicity Group for my review.
This book is told from multiple points of view and has several plots going on. I think it worked in this case since none are too complex and they are also intertwined. Kate seemed slightly immature at the beginning but it was nice to see her character growth as she is exposed to opportunities to be of service to others. Her relationship with Jon grows slowly and steadily throughout the novel which is my favorite kind of romance- beginning with friendship. It has the feel of a Regency even though the setting is early 20th century, I think because of the setting in London and focus on Kate's debut season. (Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing and Litfuse Publicity for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Carrie Turansky in her new book “The Daughter of Highland Hall” Book Two in the Edwardian Brides series published by Multnomah Books takes us into the life of Katherine Ramsey. From the back cover: What if the title, the estate, the life of security and splendor… what if it isn’t enough? Strong-willed and beautiful, debutante Katherine Ramsey feels ready to take the London social season by storm, and she must. Her family estate, Highland Hall, has been passed to older male cousin Sir William Ramsey, and her only means of securing her future is to make a strong debut and find a proper husband. With her all-knowing and meddling aunt as a guide, Katherine is certain to attract suitors at the lavish gatherings, sparkling with Great Britain’s elite. When a shocking family scandal sidelines Katherine, forcing her out of the social spotlight, she keeps a low profile, volunteering with the poor in London’s East End. Here Katherine feels free from her predictable future, and even more so as a friendship with medical student Jonathan Foster deepens and her faith in God grows. But when Katherine is courted anew by a man of wealth and position, dreams of the life she always thought she wanted surface again. Torn between tradition and the stirrings in her heart for a different path, she must decide whom she can trust and love—and if she will choose a life serving others over one where she is served. I do not believe I would enjoy an estate similar to Highland Hall. The reason is way too much is expected of you, you have a place in high society that you have to live up to, others expect things of you because you are wealthy, things can get very messy. This is exactly the kind of situation that Katherine finds herself in. Even though she has lost the estate to her cousin she still feels she needs a place in high society and needs to marry into money. However she does find she is good at working with the poor and meets Jonathan. Now what does she do? We are back to the class distinctions, Katherine is still considered Upper Class while Jonathan would be the Lower Class. There is a lot of growth in all the characters as she deftly moves the plot along. Ms. Turansky has given us history and social issues all wrapped up in an exciting adventure. Well done! This is also a great romance. Katherine and Jonathan 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 Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Katherine Ramsey has been raised to expect that her life will be fulfilled if she has a season that ends with a marriage proposal from a landed and titled man. Jonathan Foster is studying to be a doctor and determined to help the list of these. Their goals are completely different, but as they spend time together and Katherine's season begins to fall apart she wonders who she really is and what she should truly want for her future. This is a story of a young woman learning how to stand on her own despite others expectations. Katherine, like so many, must learn her own heart and what she dreams for the future. The road is far from straight, but in the process she comes to know who she truly is. The story is well-written and compelling. A great read for early 20th Century historical romance fans.
The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky Edwardian Brides Book Two Katherine Ramsey has a goal in mind. Since her father passed and the estate could not go to a daughter, she would marry well and have her very own estate. And her aunt Louisa was there to make sure that is exactly how things went. The London Season was not all Kate had hoped it to be, though. Especially when a dark cloud descended upon their family name. Jonathan Foster had some choices to make as he finished the last months of his medical school. He always believed he’d go back to India to continue the work his father started, but now he has seen that the East End of London has needs as well. In book one, The Governess of Highland Hall, Jon’s sister Julia is the governess so the reader gets to know many of the characters in this book. Society does not look at the Ramsey’s with favor. William Ramsey is engaged to his governess and Sarah Ramsey has married the head gardener. There are many secondary issues happening along with this main story. I enjoyed both of these books and look forward to Refuge at Highland Hall. **Book received from Blogging for Books for an honest review l
This book was every bit as good as the first one. I love that this series reminds me of Downton Abbey. Carrie has such a good writing style that makes the book just flow. To me this book was so good that I read it in one weekend. The research that Carrie does shows well in her writing. You can picture yourself right along side Katherine as she is going through the social season. I am looking forward to reading book three next year and to see where Carrie takes us next.
The Daughter of Highland Hall is the second book in the Edwardian Brides Series by Carrie Turansky. It begins several months after book one with Katherine’s “coming out” into society, a declaration of her adult and marriageable status to all of London society. Kate dreams of marrying a rich heir by the end of that season, and with her Aunt Louisa’s help, her dream just might come true. But when a family member’s scandal is broadcasted across newspapers, Kate is shunned from society. But as Kate grows in faith, she begins to realize that wealth is not the most important thing to life and that Julia’s brother Jon might be just the man for her, despite his lack of title. The Daughter of Highland Hall was a wonderful book. It portrayed the social customs of the early twentieth century while entwining a sweet romance with plenty of plot twists to keep the book moving and interesting. Not only did it show the wealth of time period but the poverty as well through the characters’ involvements in the free Daystar Clinic in East End, London. The characters were beautiful and deep with unique personalities and problems. I enjoyed watching Kate and Jon grow in faith throughout the book. They also struggled and grew in relationships with each other and other people, especially Aunt Louisa who was very demanding and irritable. I most enjoyed the spiritual aspects of The Daughter of Highland Hall. As Kate grew in faith, I was reminded of important principles of every Christian’s life. At one point, Kate realizes that she has spent her time completely focused on herself and finding a husband before the season’s end; Kate then grows to understand that these things are not the most important things in life. She changes her focus from herself to Christ and helping others. This really touched me. It helped me realign my focus as well. In addition, the many deep conversations provided quotes and principles important to remember, most of which need the context to understand fully. Because of these things, the book is not just a sweet fictional story; it contains principles that are applicable to daily life. I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
For fans of Downton Abbey and Jane Austin, you might just want to pick up the latest novel to debut in the Edwardian Brides Series from Carrie Turansky, The Daughter of Highland Hall. I've been in love with the characters from this series since picking up the first novel, The Governess of Highland Hall, and had to patiently wait for this one to be published. I was not disappointed. In fact, I took my time with this one knowing the third novel might not be out until fall of 2015, so I had to make it last. Oh, I was in love again with the characters of Kate Ramsey, the cousin of William Ramsey who is the heir to Highland Hall. Readers of the first novel first met Kate as she struggled to rebel against Julia Foster who at the time was her governess. Now she is engaged to be married to William and for Kate, she has come to understand that despite all the appearances of wealth and notoriety, sometimes love is worth more than a title or an inheritance. Now that Kate is finally ready for her presentation into society, her sponsor Louisa is doing all she can to ensure that Kate finds a suitable husband that will allow her a much sought after marriage to the right man. But as hard as Kate tries to appease what others think is the best for her, she can't help but to be drawn to Jon Foster, Julia's brother who is working on becoming a doctor in London's East End. Here life is the far extreme from anything Kate has seen, where the poor out populate the rich, and where orphans and widows struggle to find enough to eat and place to sleep at night. Kate struggles to understand the conflict within her heart as she watches those of elite spend lavishly on banquets and parties while those just blocks from them don't have enough to seek proper health care. Jon works with the local doctor to offer a light in this dark places at Daystar clinic, a place where you simply have to pay what you can afford to get seen by a doctor. In the time, that Kate volunteers there with Jon, she finds something that warms more than her heart. A calling on her life and one that goes in complete conflict with what her Aunt Louisa would desire for her. When the family name is suddenly cast in an unfavorable light due to the actions of William's brother, David, soon Kate realizes how society views those who are related to the news. Even though Kate isn't the one involved, it is merely being judged as guilty by association and all of Kate's social invitations grow cold in the wake of the investigation. Will God reveal Himself to Kate in the presence of things that are transpiring in her life to put a call on her heart that is more than what she could dream for herself and her future? Only time will tell and the results just might surprise you in the end. I received The Daughter of Highland Hall by Carrie Turansky compliments of WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I absolutely LOVED this novel in part because the characters are so believable. I found myself relating to Kate the most, and wondering how society would react if someone of her social standing suddenly walked away from it all for love. Carrie's writing is superb and gains the respect and favor of traditional regency fans! Now I will simply have to deal with waiting another year for A Refuge at Highland Hall. Not sure what Carrie has planned, but if these two novels are any indicator, it will definitely be a huge success. Hands down another stellar 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. Just what you would expect in any novel dealing with the Edwardian era, romance and high society among the elite.
The Daughter of Highland Hall was a sweet inspirational romance set in the Edwardian period in England. I really liked the main characters and the family and friends who surrounded them, well, except for maybe Kate's aunt who is rather a thorn in everyone's side (although she does have good intentions). There was a possible love triangle, but I knew who Kate would choose in the end almost immediately. I liked getting to know the characters more as the story plotted on. There were several moving plots. There was the main plot that focused on Kate and who she would marry, if anyone. Then there was the story of Jon and where he would decide to practice medicine. There was the story of William's (Kate's second cousin who inherits Highland Hall and who is Kate's official guardian) brother who has made some poor choices. Finally, there was another plot focusing on Kate's maid Lydia whose sister had made a bad choice and who was missing. It was interesting to see how each plot wove together and how the author tried to teach different Christian values through them, especially those of love and forgiveness. I normally like my Christian fiction on the lighter inspirational side. This one was much heavier than I prefer and the plot did move fairly slowly for me. I almost would have liked not so many moving parts or points of view. It made it more difficult to connect with the story. Overall, The Daughter of Highland Hall was a sweet story of friendship, love, family, forgiveness, and following one's own heart. I would recommend this to those who enjoy reading Christian romance that is heavier on the inspirational side, with an historical setting, likable characters, and an endearing plot. Content: Some innuendo and references to infidelity, but I would consider this clean. Source: I would like to thank the publisher, Waterbrook Multnomah, and Litfuse for my complimentary review copy, which did not affect my review in any way.
Is wealth and a place in society what is important or is love and happiness? Perhaps even more a right relationship with God that is shared between one another. This moving novel is set in the Edwardian period in London. This is the year Katherine was to be presented to the queen and her coming out in society. Would she have a proposal by the end of the season? You will have to read this great book to find out. This book is great and well written. I love the characters and the story and alas will have to wait a year to read more about these characters when the third book in the series will come out. This is a story I know I will want to read again. I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
4.5 stars! I really enjoyed this novel that took a character from Carrie's previous book, 'The Governess of Highland Hall' and weaved a beautiful & intriguing story for readers. I truly have enjoyed reading this book and I look forward to reading many more of Carrie Turansky's novels. *I received a galley copy for my honest review.*
Those who have read book one will enjoy returning to the lives of the characters who endeared themselves to us. However, if you have not read The Governess of Highland Hall, never fear, you will be able to read this book as a stand alone. I do recommend reading book one first as it is a lovely story, and sets the stage nicely for book two. Katherine “Kate” Ramsey is ready to make her debut in society. With an overbearing aunt as her sponsor, Kate finds herself faced with many rules to follow and high expectations placed upon her to make a “suitable” match. I like Kate and sympathize with the tough choices she has to make. Great emphasis is placed on encouraging wealthy suitors who are members of the upper crust of society. Jonathan Foster is a medical student with some big decisions on the horizon. He was raised in a missionary family. With three possible options for his future, he is determined to follow God’s leading as to where his talents should be used. His plans don’t include falling for a debutante who appears to value position in society above all else. I really enjoyed watching Kate grow as she faced the repercussions of a scandal that rocked her family’s place in society. I loved seeing Jon and Kate grow closer together as they worked to help those less fortunate than themselves. Kate grew so much in this book and Jon was a wonderful example to her of a godly man. The author does such a nice job of writing a story in which the characters must question what things in life are truly of the greatest value. Is it money and status in society, or are there things that are worth much more? I thoroughly enjoyed The Daughter of Highland Hall and I look forward to book three in the series. My thanks to the author and to WaterBrook Multnomah for the complimentary copy I received in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
A fabulous second in the series of Highland Hall! Carrie has once again woven a beautiful and gripping tale involving family, servants and the London season. This author knows her history and the goings-on of the servants who help run the huge estates and households of that time. Love Downton Abby? This is a must read for you! The hardships of dealing with gossip and sins of family and household, while trying to follow God’s path for you, in the midst of trying to find a husband during the famous London Season with all the who’s who of the rich families makes this a page turner, one you cannot put down. Kate struggles with a disaster of a coming out season and a realization that God has a very different path for her than she has ever dreamed of. Jon struggles with the decision of what to do with the rest of his life after medical school – is it worth disappointing his family? I love how the paths of all these characters cross in such a way they leave impressions on each other and teach us that God is with us all through our triumphs and trials. These characters have flaws and hard decisions that tug on your heart strings and draw you into their tale more than anything. I highly recommend this beautiful romance!! I received this book in exchange for an honest review.