Amy Carmichael, missionary to India with two of the children in her care

Amy Carmichael, missionary to India with two of the children in her care

The Inspiration for the Heroine in the Governess of Highland Hall
By Carrie Turansky

As a young believer I often wished I had a mentor who would take me under her wing to guide me and help me grow in my faith. But as the years passed, I never seemed to connect with an older woman who could instruct and encourage me in that way. One day I was bringing that need to the Lord again, bemoaning the lack of mentors in my life, when I suddenly realized I had been blessed and mentored by many women through reading the books they had written. My moaning turned to thanksgiving as I reflected on the lessons I had learned from my unlikely mentors.

I especially love reading missionary biographies, and one missionary I admire is Amy Carmichael. When I read her biography, A Chance to Die, written by Elisabeth Elliot, I was inspired and touched by her faith and commitment to God and her whole-hearted service to the children of India, many of whom she rescued from being temple prostitutes.

Just a little background on Amy Carmichael. She was born in Ireland in 1867 to loving Christian parents, and though she did not have good health, she was determined to become a missionary. She served in Japan first for a short time, and then in 1895 she followed God’s call and traveled to India, where she spent the rest of her life. She went first as an evangelist, but soon started a home for abandoned and rescued children. She also wrote several books and taught many the truth of the Gospel through her example of love and faithfulness.

The Governess of Highland Hall - Carrie TuranskyAs I began preparing to write The Governess of Highland Hall I wanted to weave faith elements into the plot and the lives of my characters to make the story as meaningful as possible. Part of my research involved reading about Christians who lived during the late Victorian and Edwardian time period in Great Britain. As I scanned my bookshelves, I remembered Amy Carmichael and pulled down her biography again.

As I reread her story I knew her life would provide a wonderful background for my heroine. I began jotting down notes and thinking how I might weave some of Amy’s faith and life lessons into my heroine and novel.

As The Governess of Highland Hall opens, my heroine, Julia Foster, has recently returned to England after spending twelve years in India where she and her parents were missionaries and ran a home for abandoned and rescued girls like Amy Carmichael. Julia’s father is ill, and needs medical care, so the family must return to England. One of the issues Julia faces in the story is whether she should stay in England to help provide for her parents and be near them, or return to India and carry on their missionary work alone. As she develops a deep love for the hero and his children, this becomes and even more difficult question for her to face.

How can we understand God’s call? Is the calling to foreign missions a higher calling than staying in your own country and taking on the role of wife and mother? How do we determine the best path to follow in life? These are all questions Julia must face, and I hope as she seeks her answers readers will be challenged to consider their own lives and how they can follow God’s call and have a greater impact on others.

What about you? Have you ever gone on a mission trip or felt called by God to a particular ministry? How did that impact your life? If you haven’t gone yet, where would you like to go, and what would you like to do?

Governess of Highland Hall

The Advanced Reader Copies of The Governess Of Highland Hall have arrived! Would you like a free copy?

Hi Friends,

I am very greatful for the response I received to this post!  Carrie’s Reading Friends is full now. I’ll announce here when I can expand the group to include more friends. Thanks very much!

Carrie’s Reading Friends will receive an Advanced Reader Copy of my book, The Governess of Highland Hall, in early August, two months before it releases. If you enjoy the book, I’m asking you to write a review and post it at one or more of the places listed below and help spread the word about the book through social media and in other creative ways as you are able. You will also be invited to join a private Facebook group where we will connect and share ideas for promoting the book, starting on September 22 and running through launch week, October 13 – 19. This will be a fun and encouraging group, and I look forward to connecting with you there.

Here are some ways Carrie’s Reading Friends can promote the book:

  • The Governess of Highland Hall by Carrie TuranskyWrite a review for Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, NovelCrossing, Books A Million, or any other online review site.
  • Talk about the book on social media sites, adding links to my website.
  • Blog about the book, including cover, summary, and purchase links.
  • Share the book video trailer on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Share the 6-minute podcast about the book on social media or a blog.
  • Ask your local library or church library to order the book, or donate a copy to them.
  • Write an article about the book and submit it to an online magazine.
  • Suggest the book to your book club.
  • Write a review for your local newspaper.
  • Purchase copies to give away as gifts to friends and family.
  • Pin the cover on Pinterest and link back to my website.
  • Suggest the book on reading forums, like those on Goodreads.
  • Share your favorite quotes from the book online. If you purchase an e-book, highlight your favorite quotes.
  • Promote the giveaways connected with launch week on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Information about all these ideas will be available through the Facebook group.
  • If you live locally, you’ll be invited to be an honored guest at the Book Launch Tea Party on Sunday October 13th.

Please visit The Governess of Highland Hall page at my website, read the summary, and listen to the 6-minute podcast.

If you like what you see there, and you have time and are willing to commit to reading and reviewing, checking in with the Facebook group, and promoting The Governess of Highland Hall, then please copy and paste the following questions into an email, fill in the information, and send it to:




Email address

Have you read any of my books? If so, which was your favorite and why?

Have you blogged or posted a review of my books in the past? If so please post a link to that review.

Have you recommended my books on social media or personally in the past? If so, which titles, and where, or to whom?

Do you have time to read The Governess of Highland Hall and participate in promotion prior to the October 15th release date?

Would you be willing to participate in a private Facebook group for a few weeks around the release of her new book?

Thanks for your interest in joining Carrie’s Reading Friends. Space is limited in the group, so get in touch soon. Because of the cost of mailing books, the free advanced reading copies will be available to US residents only. But those living outside the US are welcome to join with us and participate in the Facebook group. Thanks so much! I appreciate you and look forward to getting to know you more as we spread the word about The Governess of Highland Hall.

Blessings and Happy Reading!