Hello! Okay, so I’m a day late. Hey, ONLY 1 day late this time! LOL. So see? I’m doing better. Anyways, this week I’m going back to one of my favorite authors: Julie Klassen. I started reading her almost since she was first published, and I haven’t looked back. She has an amazing gift of mixing Regency Romance with Suspenseful mystery and making it work extraordinarily! Some of hers are more on the sweet romance side, but her newest one, The Secret of Pembrooke Park, has Gothic suspense written all over it. Imagine Sense and Sensibility meets Jane Eyre and you have a slight idea of the fun this book was to read.
It is so rich and vibrant with the regency era life and culture, but she throws in her own mix of mystery and intrigue so often missing in modern-written regency novels. The setting itself is extremely vibrant, especially when Abigail first enters Pembrooke Park. It is chilling as you wander through the rooms with her, seemingly abandoned in the middle of life: a tea set placed out with dried tea still in the cups, and of course the doll house left, waiting for its owner to return. As she tries to set the house to right, Abigail finds more mysteries than answers, and the more people she meets, the more suspicious she becomes. I can’t help but adore the character of Abigail. She’s so quietly strong, a very interesting mix in her personality. When the man she adores turns from her to her sister, she still holds her head high and continues her life, and when her family encounters trouble, she takes the lead in moving to Pembrooke Park. And she is so kind, sacrificing her own future to see that her sister can have one of her own. Her love for her family is what leads her to follow the rumors of treasure buried in a secret room, though her curiosity leads to a few difficult circumstances. Then you have the character of William, the local curate, who is a complete gentleman at heart. Even when they meet in circumstances that would have been considered scandalous, there is not a hint of impropriety in his mannerisms or interaction with her. And even the minor characters are extremely well rounded, each almost an enigma themselves. Some books have supporting characters that are one-dimensional, but so very few in this book are, and that itself is refreshing. And the plot, the mystery, was one of the most intriguing I’ve read; it kept me in my seat unable to put it down, and took me on so many twists, and even came to a very shocking conclusion. This is definitely a great book for anyone who likes regency, romance, and a good mystery.
Intrigued? I’d say you should be. As I said, this is classic Julie Klassen. You can easily get it for Kindle or NOOK (and of course paperback online or in most bookstores), and don’t forget to check out the author’s website, Twitter, and Facebook. Enjoy! 😀