I have found a new favorite author, Julie Klassen. I read that Klassen’s novels are a combination of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Victoria Holt, and Daphne Du Maurier. That is a pretty high standard to achieve, but Klassen has achieved it. I reviewed The Secret of Pembrooke Park as part of a blog tour and I am so happy I did. It is a wonderful novel and very enjoyable.
Abigail Foster is the older, plainer, practical daughter. She has loved her friend Gilbert since childhood, but she discovers that he is taken more with her younger, beautiful sister, Louisa. Putting disappointment aside, Abigail helps her father when they lose their fortune due to a banking collapse. When a distant relative sends them an offer to live in the Pembrooke Park estate for very little outlay, it seems too good to be true. When Abigail and her father arrive to get the estate ready, they make quite a few discoveries. Pembrooke Park has not been lived in for almost twenty years and the locals have rumors of murder, tragedy, and secret treasure associated with the place. Abigail meets and befriends the handsome local curate William Chapman and his sister Leah, but she can’t help feeling that there is a mystery involving these too as well. Will Abigail discover the mystery of Pembrooke Park?
I loved so much about this novel. The hints of Austen that were throughout were wonderful for an Austen fan to discover and enjoy. For instance, Abigail’s father lost his fortune through investing in Henry Austen’s bank. Henry was Jane Austen’s brother and his bank collapse caused much Austen family turmoil. I loved that this book was a chaste romance. It was about the true romantic feelings between people written like a classic novel would be written without ten pages of intimate details of their liaison. I appreciated and loved this.
I also love how the mystery unfolded. I liked that there were so many layers to it as it slowly unfolded. I was not disappointed and was intrigued right up until the end of the novel. The historical detail, romance, and mystery were all intertwined and perfectly written. I loved this novel.
Overall, if you are looking for a new author that writes a charming tale reminiscent of Jane Austen, but with the gothic undertones of a Bronte novel, I highly recommend Julie Klassen. I know I am going to be seeking out her other novels and reading them. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was a perfect novel and a very enjoyable read.
For a great guest blog post by Julie Klassen, check out this link: The English Manor Behind Pembrooke Park.
For details of The Pembrooke Park Blog Tour, please check out this link on Austenprose.
Three lucky winners will receive one trade paperback or eBook copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, and one grand prize winner will receive one copy of all eight of Julie’s novels: Lady of Milkweed Manor, The Apothecary's Daughter, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Tutor’s Daughter, The Dancing Master, and The Secret of Pembrooke Park, one DVD of Northanger Abbey (2007) and a Jane Austen Action Figure.
To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on The Secret of Pembrooke Park Blog Tour starting February 16, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, March 9, 2015.
Winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments and announced on Julie Klassen’s website on March 16, 2015. Winners have until March 22, 2015 to claim their prize. The giveaway contest is open to residents of the US, UK, and Canada. Digital books will be sent through Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Good luck to all!