The Governess of Highland Hall
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.
The book description of The Governess of Highland Hall is almost misleading: yes, it is about Julia, but it's also about Sir William's sister, Sarah; the maid, Ann; the downstairs help; and a host of secondary characters. In fact, the large cast of characters was probably my favorite aspect of the novel. However, aside from that, I kept feeling as though every plot and character of the book was somehow familiar to me. The Governess of Highland Hall really does lack originality. From the plotting housekeeper to the spoiled nieces to the scheming American heiress to the pious governess who falls in love with the master of the house, it all felt as though it had already been done before, many times over. Another problem I had was that the ending seemed a bit too contrived and easily solved.
Many reviewers have compared this book to Downton Abbey- in fact, every review I read did. I don't mind books that remind me of something else, but I do think The Governess of Highland Hall could have been a tad more original. However, it was a sweet, clean, well-written Christian romance, and despite its flaws, I enjoyed it much more than I originally thought I would.
Rating: 7 1/2
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.