Friday, February 01, 2013

Julie Klassen's The Tutor's Daughter ~ Reviewed

By Julie Klassen
Published by Bethany House
ISBN# 978-0764210693
416 Pages

Book Cover: Emma Smallwood is determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?
The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.
When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor's daughter figure out which brother to blame...and which brother to trust with her heart?

Review: From the beautiful front cover to the contests inside Julie Klassen whisks readers to Ebbington Manor high on a cliff top with the view of the beautiful coast with the water crashing below. It’s the 1800’s. Emma Smallwood and her father embark on an unforgettable journey to live at the estate and tutor two boys that live there. Emma and her father had the older Weston boys stay with them at the boarding school Emma’s father ran years ago.

The Smallwoods are not received well by the Mistress of the house. Emma ponders, “How very disconcerting to arrive at Ebbington Manor after careful planning only to find ourselves unexpected and, apparently, unwanted guests. Had we not already let our house, I would have been tempted to turn right around and return home.” And the fun begins.

At night Emma hears foot steps that stop at her room and notes are slipped under her door. Then one night she hears the most beautiful music. She sets out in the night to find who is playing. No one is in the music room when she arrives with her candle stick. She asks if anyone else had heard the music the next morning at breakfast. Nobody will admit to hearing it. They tell her it must be the ghosts that live at the Manor. They tell her their ghost stories.

The Mistress Weston wants to give the appearance that all is well in her beautiful home and lovely family. She hopes to have the older two boys marry rich well mannered girls. The Weston boys don’t necessarily agree with her plan. What family secrets were they keeping from Emma, she and the reader wonder? Where they out to scare her and make them leave? Miss Smallwood was unwavering in her decision to stay and get to the bottom of this mystery? She was scared but more determined to solve this case. The situation was making her realize God was the only one who could keep her calm and give her wisdom in the days ahead.

This author’s novel is based on real events and places. I enjoyed hearing about this in her notes to readers. This story is intriguing and kept me at the edge of my seat as the mystery unfolded, danger was near and secrets were exposed. Life for everyone at Ebbington Manor would never been the same..

This is the first book I’ve read by this Christy award winning novelist it won’t be the last. I was thankful for the review copy of this regency, romance, and mystery story. I liked how Julie brings the reader into this time period and has them see it through Emma and Henry Weston’s eyes. I like the contrast in the views. It also confirmed to me what I’ve felt all along, I wouldn’t want to live in such a large house with people I didn’t know at all. It’s spooky! Just saying! Grin!

So, If you like regency romance with a hint of suspense, mystery and danger, this is the book for you!!

Reviewed by: Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins

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