Lady of Milkweed Manor

by Julie Klassen

Paperback, 2008



Call number



Bethany House Publishers (2008), Edition: Reprinted, 411 pages


Fiction. Christian Fiction. Historical Fiction. The engaging and moving story of a once-proper lady who finds herself in a most unexpected situation; a romance set in Regency England.


Christy Awards (Nominee — Historical — 2008)


Original language


Physical description

411 p.; 8.38 inches


0764204793 / 9780764204791

User reviews

LibraryThing member dk_phoenix
This is definitely not my usual kind of 'historical fiction'... regency ladies in their poufy dresses, 'proper' speech & mannerisms, etc... but there I was at the bookstore spending the church budget on new books for the library, and the woman ringing me up at the till saw that I had this book &
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the author's next one in the stack, and promptly began gushing about them. She was so enthusiastic about this author that I found myself saying "well, I guess I'll have to try them" and agreeing to come back and let her know what I thought. Well, since that's the only Christian bookstore in town, and I still have more cash in the library budget, I figured it would be awfully hard to avoid her... and I just knew I'd feel guilty if she asked me what I thought and I had to admit I wasn't really interested in reading the books after all. Especially when she was so excited about them... so, when I got home, I picked up Lady of Milkweed Manor and began reading... and read some more... and kept reading... and finally had to go to bed. The next morning, I... uh... didn't start work until I'd sat down and finished reading the book. Oops.

"Huh," I thought, "Guess it was worth my time after all..." And so, I've placed the second book on the TBR list. I won't say a whole lot more about it - I don't want to give the plot away, but if you're interested, there are several good reviews on LT that give a bit more detail. I was glad I read it without knowing anything about the plot, probably since I might not have bothered otherwise. It was a pleasant surprise, and very well written for a first novel.

And I'll admit it... I was actually bawling my eyes out near the end (and I think mumbling "no, no, NO!" as I read), when the author made me think something was going to happen/had happened that actually didn't. My goodness... skillfully done. Recommended, even to those who don't usually like this kind of regency-style historical fiction. Guess I learned a little something about my literary tastes with this one!
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LibraryThing member debs4jc
In a historical setting similar to that of Jane Austen, a young gentlewomen is sent to a lying in hospital for unwed expectant mothers. Though the daughter of a pastor and a proper upbringing, she finds herself exposed to quite a different side of life due to her indiscretion. She has to depend on
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the generousity of others to survive, and make a heart wrenching decision about her baby. She also learns quite a bit about the duties of a milk-nurse, as she turns to that profession to support herself. Despite her circumstances, she also ends up with a choices to make between several potential suitors. This was a very enjoyable read, what I like best about it is the historical details and feel and the emotional ups and downs of the story.
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LibraryThing member cherryblossommj
Upon finishing this novel, I sigh in complete contentment. This is near one of the best novels I have ever had the opportunity to fall deep within the pages and stay for a while.

From beginning to end I had my opinions of how things should go, with the slight twists and turns I never had a clue how
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the plot would be. Sometimes I could not read fast enough, as a matter of fact most of the time. I would not believe certain things were happening.

This is a perfect novel in regency time and I can see a bit of Austen and Jane Erye. I can easily say that readers of such will enjoy this story. It is alike, but completely unique and what a tale it tells.

Julie Klassen is beyond talented with this work and I am shocked to admit it a debut. You can bet that I will read her new novel coming out soon, The Apothecary's Daughter. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. If I were able to surpass five stars, I have not a clue as to how many I would vote.

Throughout this book my heart was breaking. My soul was soaring with joy. It was one of those scenarios where you want to lay the blame, but within yourself you can see that the sinner is not much worse than yourself. Then you attempt to imagine what is going on and put yourself in their place. What would you do? How would you act? What would you want?

On a personal note, if too personal skip it, as a person who suffers depression, I can sometimes see how easy it would be to walk away from situations so hard with any foreseeable future or answer. But oh how incredible God can be when he works things out through time. His plan for us is so much more incredible than we could have ever thought. It really makes a person think.
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LibraryThing member jeffersonsambrosia
The story of Charlotte Lamb is a story that will pull at your heart strings. We come upon Charlotte when her Father and Sister have turned their back on her. Because she made the unfortunate mistake of getting pregnant. At the time of course that was the fastest way to ruin yourself, and so they
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shunned her and tossed her out to a lying in hospital. While Charlotte has to learn how to deal with things in a much different way, and constantly reminds herself of her sin, she does in the end make some friends.

The Lady of Milkweed Manor takes us through so many twists and turns in the story. We have beautiful highs and heart wrenching lows. From when Charlotte gives birth to her little babe, to finding that she needs to take the humiliating job of wet nurse, and excelling at it. This poor woman finds herself constantly sacrificing and constantly giving up her own chances, for the sake of others. She rarely asks why, and tends not to dwell on the negative, always pushing forward.

More than half way through I found myself wondering if Charlotte would ever have a happy ending. She is given the choice of one at one moment, but she doesn’t take it. You can not help but feel pulled to her and find yourself urging her to take something for her own benefit. The Lady of Milkweed Manor is written beautifully. Julie Klassen does a wonderful job, and you will find yourself reading the book from cover to cover without looking up to see how much time has passed. And while it may take a while to come to happen, this story does make you believe happy endings do happen.
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LibraryThing member twswaim
Absolutely loved it. I was drawn into the characters. Definitely showed God's love for us and how He is always seeking us. The plot took some unpredictable twists just like God's plan is not always our plan. The book was not at all preachy which I was very thankful for.
LibraryThing member srfbluemama
I could not put this book down. I got it because I really liked The Apothecary's Daughter, but I didn't really know what it was about until I started reading. I was immediately hooked, and stayed up late to finish the book on the same day I started reading it.

This book portrays Regency England in
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a different way than I am used to. Charlotte's family turned their backs on her because she was pregnant out of wedlock. She leaves home and takes refuge at a lying-in hospital for unwed mothers. The world portrayed at this hospital, the attached foundling ward, and the livelihood of wet nurses was intriguing. I was also fascinated by the information on the treatment of depression and neurosis during pregnancy during this time period (the treatment was, not surprisingly, very limited).

Even though this book is set in Regency England, the experiences and fears of the women in the book were easy to relate to. As a mother, I could identify with the fears of pregnancy, the emotions nursing a child brings, and the joys and fears of parenthood. Thankfully I have never experienced the more heartwrenching aspects of the story--the loneliness, the losses, the destitution, and the sacrifices.

This story was moving and kept me turning the page, wanting to know what would happen next. Would Charlotte get married? Would she be reunited with her son? Who would she marry? Would her family ever forgive her and accept her back? What would happen to her?

The faith aspect of the novel is very subtle. Charlotte's father is a vicar, but seems unable to get past her mistake and the social embarrassment and scandal it will bring to forgive her. The most visible reference to faith comes at the end, when Charlotte finds herself counting her blessings and thanking God for helping her transform her past pain and sacrifices into something beautiful.

This book was wonderful. Yet another book by Julie Klassen that will reside on my keeper shelf.
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LibraryThing member judyg54
This was a story that brought a wide span of different emotions from me. The story line for me had a slow start, but the more I read, the more the story grew on me and I found near the end of the book I didn't want to put the book down until I saw how it would end (and I don't want to spoil the
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ending for anyone, but trust me it is worth reading to the very last page!). I really wasn't sure what was going to happen to Charlotte Lamb, the main character in this story. She went through a great deal yet it didn't change the person she was. I also had to stop and search the end of the book to see if the author would validate some of the things folks did during the time period this was written, because some of it was hard to comprehend.

Charlotte Lamb was raised as a proper vicar's daughter, but when she makes a mistake one night with a man, she finds herself shunned by her family and forced to go into hiding in London's "Milkweed Manor", a place for unwed mothers. There she finds a doctor she once knew when she was young and he too has secrets he is hiding. Both of them are determined to protect the ones they love even if it means a huge sacrifice on their part. You will come to appreciate Charlotte and her strong yet gentle character. I found myself really not sure how the author was going to end this story and at one brief point felt my eyes tearing up, thinking how the ending was going to turn out. This was a good "drama" filled with details of what some women in Regency England endured at that time. A real eye-opener and it does have a very good romantic twist to it. I enjoyed reading this story and give high praise to the good job Julie Klassen did.
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LibraryThing member kathleen586
I really don't know how to review this book. It is the author's first novel, and I think it shows. The plot went all over the place, so just when I thought I had it figured out, something else happened. Some things were rather cliché (mad wife in the attic, anyone?), improbable or unnecessary. The
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ending was too pat and perfect, with characters conveniently dying off at the perfect times.

Some characters didn't seem to be developed enough so they didn't behave very realistically. I am sorry to say there was a Girl Ahead of Her Time™ (10-year-girl who wears pants and has short hair; and the main character doesn't think anything of it).

The lying-in hospital/wet-nursing aspect of the book reminded me of Esther Waters by George Moore. If that kind of thing makes you feel uncomfortable you won't like this book.

Despite its problems, I did enjoy some aspects of this book.

Note: The main character, Charlotte, is expecting a child out of wedlock, and one of the flashback scenes is particularly inappropriate, although the author was trying to be tasteful.

Oh, one more thing: I think Edmund should have at least found out Charlotte was his mother after she died or something! How did it stay a secret anyway? Didn't Katherine and Beatrice suspect?
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LibraryThing member lostinavalonOR
My feelings on this are mixed. For a first novel, it was decent, but I'm so glad I read a couple of her newer ones first. I don't think I would have sought out more of her books if this were the first one I'd read. I can't really put my finger on one particular thing---just a strange, all over the
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place story. The Lizette's last scene seemed contrived and very rushed, which caused it to lack the intensity that would normally accompany such a tragedy. The final "twist" at the end concerning Edmund's future was MESSED UP. No---totally not into that. However, the character of Charlotte definitely spoke from a true mother's heart and I found myself sobbing more than once. I'll be keeping this for my permanent collection.
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LibraryThing member Headinherbooks_27
As a single mother this hit home for me. Reminds me what mothers sacrifices for their children. Lovely read.
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