Saturday, September 5, 2015

Review: The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

About the book:

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
Bethany House

 Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her--a longtime friend--has fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . .

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor's past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure.

Hoping to improve her family's financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

My review:

Julie Klassen has masterfully woven a tale of treasure, intrigue and romance to turn the heads of any fans of Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters. With a mysterious character or two, a lost heiress and a secret room rumored to house a great treasure it is no wonder I could not put this book down until I had turned the very last page.

Abigale Foster has struggled to find her place amongst her family ever since she gave her father a misguided but well-meant piece of financial advice that left them close to broke. She has desperately been trying to make amends since then, going so far as to give up her dowry so her younger, prettier sister might still have her own season. Devastated after her childhood friend, whom she had thought to marry, turns his attentions to her sister, she is desperate for escape. When her family is mysteriously offered an old country estate at a price that is too affordable to turn down, she offers to go ahead to prepare their new home. However, all is not as seems in this mysterious old house with rumors of a lost treasure and missing heiress lurking like shadows.
Julie Klassen knows how to write a mystery, let me tell you! Just when I thought I had everything figured out, another twist comes to shake things up. The way the mystery played out was very satisfying and the truth about the treasure seemed believable.
 There characters were all very well written and, for the most part, likeable. I really did not care for Abigale’s family or Clive, but these were minor characters that were not around too much. The romance was quieter than usual and I very much enjoyed that.
 Overall this was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to all regency fans. As always, I eagerly await Julie Klassen’s next novel.