Christian Fiction that's Actually Christian

Iola Goulton

4.5 Stars

June 18, 2016

Miss Katherine Ramsey is in London for her first Season, and her aunt and sponsor has high hopes that she’ll make a brilliant marriage. But the longer Kate spends moving in the ‘right’ circles, the more she questions the way things are done—particularly the emphasis on marrying for position rather than affection, let alone marrying for love. 

I didn’t like Katherine at first—she seemed stupid and immature, but I suspect that was exactly the point. She was young, and she had led a sheltered life, and she had never had cause to question the standards she’d been raised with. And while we can laugh at the shallowness of society in Edwardian London, we only have to watch a few minutes of ‘reality’ television to see those same standards are alive and well in modern America and other countries. 

Jonathan Foster is training to be a doctor so he can return to India, where he was raised as the child of missionaries. But his calling doesn’t seem as clear any more—London is also teeming with sick people too poor to afford a doctor. And London has the beautiful Miss Ramsey, who Jon is attracted to despite her lack of faith. 

This highlights one of the things I liked best about The Daughter of Highland Hall: the genuine faith of the Foster family and William Ramsey (Kate’s guardian). You’d think Christian fiction would be full of characters (Christian or not) wrestling with aspects of their faith, but that is rarely the case. The Daughter of Highland Hall is a welcome exception, and while the first half of the story was somewhat slow, the second half more than made up for it, as we watched characters grow in their faith and share it with others. I especially liked this speech from Lydia, Kate’s lady’s maid: 
“He knows what happened, and it breaks His heart. But all you need to do is confess it to Him and ask forgiveness. That wipes the slate clean.” 

She goes on to talk about how our circumstances don’t necessarily change when we become Christians—we still have the same baggage as before, the same results of our sin—but Jesus will carry that for us. It’s a welcome message of redemption and grace, and while I don’t want to go back to a time when every Christian novel had a preachy come-to-Jesus moment, it’s good to see novels where such scenes flow naturally out of the story. 

The Daughter of Highland Hall is the sequel to The Governess of Highland Hall, but can easily be read as a standalone novel (it’s so long since I read the first that I can’t remember any of the details). But there were similarities in both stories: both had a bit of an Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey feel, in that while the main plot was about the gentry, several significant characters were middle or working class. 

I enjoyed The Governess of Highland Hall, and I had been apprehensive about reading The Daughter of Highland Hall (which is why it’s taken me so long!). But I was pleased to find this was as good as the first in the series. Now to find the third . . . 

Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah for providing a free ebook for review.