Lady Maybe

 
Lady Maybe-Julie Klassen
Lady Maybe-Julie Klassen
Lady Maybe-Julie Klassen

 
About This Book
 

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From the Back Cover: 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.
 
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
 
Our Rating
 
 
 
 
 


User Rating
1 total rating

 

What We Liked


Regency period brought to life; great internal dialogues and struggles; a Gospel presentation and a strong picture of grace

What Could've Been Better


Ending didn’t fit; largely unlikable characters; objectionable content including infidelity and premarital sex


Bottom Line

Honestly, I am torn about how to rate this novel, and that’s why I chose to go middle of the road.

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Posted July 7, 2015 by

 
Our Review
 
 

Review by Kelly Bridgewater

3.5 out of 5 stars

L

ady Maybe is my second complete novel by Julie Klassen. Klassen actually approached me and asked if I wanted to review this book. Of course, I agreed. Klassen is the leader in Regency fiction because of her lifelike characters, comforting settings, and swoon-worthy plots.

The pace and flow of the novel was spot on. The scenes flowed effortlessly with the romance and the intrigue weaved and flowed as both threads continued to build nicely, and the ending matched a Regency romance. Two people thrown together in the most unusual way, building lies off each other as the story progressed. The idea has been done before, but Klassen does a great job at intertwining the past with the present that it worked really well. With the flashbacks to the past, Sir John Mayfield and the Lady attraction and relationship bumped along the way, but it provided plenty of sparks and moments of suspense to appease all romance fans.

The writing was tight and grammatically sound. All of the internal monologues proved the internal struggle between The Lady and John. I really felt the struggle of the Lady who only desired to keep up the charade to provide for her newborn son, Danny. Most mothers would empathize with her for preservation for Danny. As for the dialogue, the conservation swirled around the Lady as much as me, keeping my attention focused on the action. The central conflict swirls around the Lady as she keeps up the charade and wondering how the truth will affect her in the end.

Klassen is at the top of her game in her detailed research. She really understands and allows the Regency period to come alive, at least for me. I really feel I am walking the hallowed halls of Clifton House and feeling springtime on my skin. Klassen learns the names of the different carriages, and who would be driving them. She also learns the name of the different pieces of jewelry and clothing. All of it invites me into the world, even if it is for a little while.

Since this book is published by a secular company, the romance has been kicked up a notch more than most of Klassen’s previous books published by Bethany House. For mature audiences, be aware there is a detailed “before” marriage night scene between two unmarried people. This might be too descriptive for younger audiences. In the same vein, the spirituality aspect that is popular in Bethany House’s books is tamed back a lot. The Lady prays in times of need, but no conversation scenes or anything I would expect from Klassen.

As for the romantic tension, it is between John and the Lady. John feels unwanted by woman, even though he is athletic, smart, and a gentleman. On the other hand, the Lady is a clergy’s daughter with little to no money, but sweet, timid, and gentle, attracting the attention of all those who meet her. For a while, the romantic tension features three different men all wanting the Lady’s attention. As for the ending, I felt cheapened. She made a decision of what three men she wanted to live with, but I didn’t feel it was justified. I wished she would have chosen another guy.

True to a Regency novel, Julie Klassen’s Lady Maybe is an engrossing tale of telling the truth the first time no matter the consequences. I believe fans of her previous stories will be in love with this book as much as her past novels.

 

Review by Lynda Edwards

2.5 out of 5 stars

J

ulie Klassen is one of my favorite authors, among the best in the Regency genre, a trusted name on my “automatic buy” list. I knew when I requested this novel that it was published by Berkley Trade, but was hoping Klassen was simply doing as many before her have done: broadening her reach into mainstream romance. I know there has been some backlash in the past for those who have done so, but I personally don’t feel as if the author is abandoning her faith or core audience simply because they publish with a secular printer—it’s about the writing. What, if anything, changes with the storyline, characters or situations?

I expected a toned-down spiritual component but was pleasantly surprised to find that wasn’t the case. At first, most of the references were similar to the one in the back cover blurb, prayers uttered quickly, references to God, but little depth or content. But about 70 percent of the way through, we get a Gospel presentation and Jesus is how we obtain forgiveness for the sin we commit. Wow.  idn’t see that coming, even from a secondary character. There is also a scene towards the end of incredible grace and forgiveness, completely undeserved, that was the best part of the novel in my opinion. It’s never called grace, not necessarily lauded, but it is there as a strong witness to those who may question why she would do such a thing. I credit the publisher and author for not feeling as if God must be stricken from her writing. 

I love Klassen’s writing and that remains the case in this book, at least as far as the writing itself goes. The prose is always well done and the dialogue sounds natural, but I found that I struggled to like the characters in this particular novel. The heroine is caught between two men, both of whom are taciturn and unpleasant fellows the majority of the time. Just when I thought we were getting somewhere and one or the other of them said or did something wonderful, he would immediately undo all of my goodwill by behaving hurtfully again. I know real life works that way sometimes, but for both of the potential heroes to act this way left me frustrated. As for our heroine, attracted to two men is understandable, but waffling between them to such an extent that even she begins to lament that her indecision will cost her both of them just left me feeling everyone would be better off going separate ways.

I really did not care much for how the plot developed, either. This book really is a series of unveiling various secrets and lies, from the first chapter through the ending. Everyone seems to be hiding something and it is largely the revelations that propel the action along; everyone acts according to the latest news and how they must modify their lies to still obtain their desired end. Growth in characters is hard to gauge as I was never sure who the real person was beneath all of the layers.

It is unreasonable to expect to like every book by an author, but unfortunately I think a lot of my dislike of this particular novel also stems from the increased sexual content in this book. Inappropriate touching occurs several times and a flashback describes a sexual encounter between unmarried individuals. It doesn’t get overly detailed, but it was enough to make this married mother of three uncomfortable reading it. I know what goes on behind closed doors—I prefer not to read it described, even if it stops before delineating the actual act. One of the reasons I read almost exclusively Christian authors is to avoid scenes that go beyond passionate kisses, even if the characters I’m reading are married, which these weren’t. 

I admit that I fall to the far right side of the conservative spectrum, but I don’t think I’ll be the only one of Klassen’s core audience of Christian women who will likely be a bit surprised by this novel from her, though there are some similarities to her debut, Lady of Milkweed Manor. There are also stark differences however, especially as relates to the topic of infidelity, or what the characters assume is infidelity based on what they know at the time. There’s no way for me to really explain what bothered me except through the use of spoilers. I won’t do that but I will say that even after important secrets are revealed, the ending still doesn’t make up for the way we get there.  

I am afraid that by trying to please both the secular and inspirational markets, Klassen will have everyone unhappy; Christian readers will likely find this novel too risqué, while secular romance readers may find it too tame or complain about the spiritual content. Honestly, I am torn about how to rate this novel, and that’s why I chose to go middle of the road.  On one hand, it’s a novel from a secular publisher and it was fairly “clean” even if I didn’t much care for the story; on the other, this is an author whose name I trusted, and the content disappointed me greatly but it doesn’t feel right to hold it to the same standards that I would if it came from a Christian publisher. 

From the author’s name, I trusted the content. This is not the “one foot on the floor” romance, however, and I really struggled with this uncomfortable tale of mistaken identity and infidelity. I am a bit surprised that her Christian publishing house did not insist on a pseudonym for the publication of this novel—I am afraid it may create a bit of a branding problem for her. I will still read Klassen’s work going forward, but only as long as it comes from a Christian publisher I trust. I’m sorry—I’m just not willing to go there, even for a favorite author.


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