One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness…
Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie.
But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.
Julie Klassen’s latest novel, Lady Maybe begins with a dramatic crash, ending the journey of a luxurious equipage. However, for the characters of this Regency tale, their journey through a maze of mystery seems to be just beginning. Lady Marianna Mayfield’s traveling companion, the somewhat doleful Hannah Rogers finds her world quite literally turned upside-down when she manages to survive the horrific crash. Her mind is fuzzy, and things do not seem to be what they once were.
And indeed, much has changed in Miss Rogers’ life. Without giving away specific details, Hannah finds herself in a new social station, and she must determine a way to maneuver within this new labyrinth of fuzzy memories, secrets, lies, love and loyalty. Although she has a good heart and her motivations are pure, her past mistakes leave her frequently confounded as to how to rectify her situation in order to cause the least harm to all. Complicating the matter are the romantic feelings that she ultimately holds for more than one man, so even in that arena she must make a difficult decision. Her life and position are more than a bit complicated, but she does her best to navigate through it all with as much charm and grace as she can muster.
I’ve read a number of Julie Klassen’s novels, and while Lady Maybe does not hold the position of Most Favorite in her repertoire (that would go to The Secret of Pembrooke Park), I found this to be an enjoyable one. Like other titles I reviewed this summer, I splurged and purchased the audio book to supplement my reading, especially during a particularly long road trip out of state that I took on my own. Lady Maybe’s twists and turns held my interest on those long drives, despite the fact that there were numerous plot choices that I found to be very predictable. Julie Klassen’s writing is comfortable and charming, so although I could see where things were headed from time to time, I enjoyed the process, enjoyed the words she chose to lead her readers down the literary path. I can say that there was a plot twist that I did not see coming at all, a relationship that I found very surprising. Looking back on the story it seems evident, but hindsight lends itself to that type of vision. Klassen’s characters are engaging and amusing, even the more despicable ones, and I particularly relished the amiableness that Hannah shared with a local doctor, who becomes somewhat of a father figure to her.
Julie Klassen is a Christian writer, but I would not term this a “Christian novel”. It’s produced by a secular publisher, Berkley Publishing, and as such is written with general audiences in mind. The romance content is fairly chaste, although there is a love scene that is a bit spicy, but it would probably be considered PG in its intensity. As a conservative reader I to not appreciate gratuitous sex scenes in my reading, and I was more than comfortable Lady Maybe’s content. There are adult themes of course, but it’s handled in a manner that is more than appropriate for general adult audiences, conservative or no.
Again, I would not term Lady Maybe to be overly Christian, but I could not avoid noticing the undeniable presence of God’s grace in Hannah’s life. This beleaguered young woman is likeable and sweet, but she has made her fare share of mistakes, ones that could have easily left her destitute or worse for the majority of her life. Yet circumstances begin to work in ways that seemingly go against all logic. Opportunities arise that are partially due to her own persistence, but are also due to forces that she could not have foreseen or controlled. In my mind, God takes her mess of a life, scrambles it up even further, and still manages to make something out of it. Consequences still must be faced and scars will be borne for life, but the level of redemption we see in Hannah’s life is quite remarkable. It speaks to those of us who sometimes find our lives turned upside-down due to our own poor choices or unforeseen events. It can give us a new vision. While our “new normal” might feel as if we are at the beginning of an intricate, impossible maze, the reality is, we were in that maze well before events opened our eyes to it, and He has been leading us through it all along.
Julie Klassen has graciously offered a copy of Lady Maybe for our readers, one paperback for U.S. and one eBook for international participants. Contest period ends at 12am EST on Monday, September 21, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter, and thanks for stopping by!
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Learn more about Julie and her books at her website, follow her on Twitter, and visit her on Facebook and Goodreads.