Character Spotlight ~ Julie Klassen’s Margaret & Nathaniel

Julie Klassen writes exceptional Regency romance novels and her latest story, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, is available now from Bethany House.


Synopsis

Pampered Margaret Macy flees London in disguise to escape pressure to marry a dishonorable man. With no money and nowhere else to go, she takes a position as a housemaid in the home of Nathaniel Upchurch, a suitor she once rejected in hopes of winning his dashing brother. Praying no one will recognize her, Margaret fumbles through the first real work of her life. If she can last until her next birthday, she will gain an inheritance from a spinster aunt–and sweet independence. But can she remain hidden as a servant even when prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall? 
Observing both brothers as an “invisible” servant, Margaret learns she may have misjudged Nathaniel. Is it too late to rekindle his admiration? And when one of the family is nearly killed, Margaret alone discovers who was responsible. Should she come forward, even at the risk of her reputation and perhaps her life? And can she avoid an obvious trap meant to force her from hiding? 
On her journey from wellborn lady to servant to uncertain future, Margaret must learn to look past appearances and find the true meaning of “serve one another in love.” 
Enjoy meeting Nathaniel & Margaret!
Brief physical description
Margaret Macy is a blond and blue-eyed well-born lady, but she spends much of the novel wearing a dark wig and disguised as a housemaid named Nora.

Actor/famous person

I modelled my main character after actress Romola Garai, who portrayed the title role in a recent adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. She has appeared in movies as a blond, brunette, and red-head–and looks good no matter what her hair color.

Strengths and weaknesses

Margaret is a bit spoiled and tends to judge (people and situations) by appearances and often incorrectly at first. However, she is devoted to her brother and sister and determined to do whatever it takes to protect their futures. And, though she has never done a lick of work in her life, when she is hired as a housemaid she does her best to carry out her duties.

Quirk (if any)

Margaret has difficulty sleeping–which leads to a few interesting late-night rendezvous. :)

Your inspiration for the character

My novels are set in the early 1800s (Regency England) when live-in servants were common, so I’ve wanted to write a book like this for quite some time. I’ve also been inspired by programs like Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey, which portray the life of servants as well as the people they serve.

Background to the story
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is about a well-born lady who disguises herself as a housemaid to avoid marriage to a dishonourable man. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not in the home of two former suitors! As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, she is soon entangled in intrigues both below-stairs and above.
Nathaniel Upchurch
Brief physical description
Nathaniel Upchurch has a tall, athletic build, dark hair, long nose, stern mouth, and piercing bluish green eyes.

Actor/famous person

I modelled my hero after actor Richard Armitage of North and South fame. 

Strengths and weaknesses

Nathaniel Upchurch has a bad temper, but is responsible, protective, and still in love with Margaret though she spurned him years before.

Quirk (if any)

Fences regularly with his steward for exercise.

Your inspiration for the character

I was inspired by the character of John Thornton in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, who shoulders heavy responsibilities for his family. Like Thornton, Nathaniel Upchurch has a stern and haughty exterior, which masks a protective and passionate soul.
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6 Responses to Character Spotlight ~ Julie Klassen’s Margaret & Nathaniel

  1. Oh, Richard Armitage in North & South!! *blissful sigh* And I really enjoyed the Emma miniseries, as well. :)

    LOVED this book – highly recommend it! Thanks for the fun character spotlight, Rel and Julie!

    ~Amber

  2. I love how my imaginings of what a character looks like lines up exactly with how an author envisions them! Definitely a testament to how well Julie describes these two in her book. I so enjoyed this one and can't wait for her next story. Thanks Rel and Julie :)

  3. I knew that Julie had chosen Romola Garai as the pattern for Margaret. While I didn't know about Richard Armitage being Nathaniel, I certainly wondered. The description of him in the book definitely pointed in his direction. Now I know who the main characters in all her books are supposed to be patterned after except in Lady of Milkweed Manor. Did she have anyone in mind when she wrote that book? I'm really curious about that one.

  4. Ahhh – Richard Armitage was so dreamy in North & South! He is absolutely perfect for Nathaniel… Never gave Margaret much thought – but Romola is a very versatile actress and would undoubtedly be great as Margaret!

    Maid of Fairbourne Hall was my first Klassen novel – I absolutely ADORED the book and can't wait to read her other works!

  5. Faith Hope Cherrytea

    loved this too, Julie! and had great response to my review
    thanks for sharing your gift with us!

  6. Did you know that Richard Armitage is playing Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit?? I'm so looking forward to it!

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