Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Book Review: The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen
Miss Mariah Aubrey, banished after a scandal, hides herself away in a long-abandoned gatehouse on the far edge of a distant relative's estate. There, she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how--by writing novels in secret.
Captain Matthew Bryant, returning to England successful and wealthy after the Napoleonic wars, leases an impressive estate from a cash-poor nobleman, determined to show the society beauty who once rejected him what a colossal mistake she made.
When he discovers an old gatehouse on the property, he is immediately intrigued by its striking young inhabitant and sets out to uncover her identity, and her past. But the more he learns about her, the more he realizes he must distance himself. Falling in love with an outcast would ruin his well-laid plans. The old gatehouse holds secrets of its own. Can Mariah and Captain Bryant uncover them before the cunning heir to the estate buries them forever?
Ever since reading The Silent Governess last year, I have been eagerly awaiting the next book by Julie Klassen. The Silent Governess was one of those few books that grabbed my attention from page one, and I literally could not do anything else but sit and finish that book as quickly as I could. So, when I received the offer to read and review The Girl and the Gatehouse, I was eager to revisit Regency England to see what Julie Klassen had in store.
Well, I have to say I was a bit disappointed. You see, I'm not a huge Jane Austen fan. I've liked the movies that I've seen (Sense and Sensibility being my favorite), but I've never had the desire to read her books. This book made me realize that even more. Maybe it was just simply the time period where things had a much slower pace because this book seemed far too long to me. There seemed to be an abundance of secrets, as well as an abundance of characters that I had a hard time keeping it all straight. All I could think to myself while reading was that I really wanted to like this book, but the continual addition of characters and subplots made it a bit of chore to finish.
While this book wasn't my cup of tea, I have no doubt that I will read whatever Ms. Klassen writes next. I still need to read her earlier novels to get a more complete picture of her writing style. I would recommend The Girl in the Gatehouse for fans of Jane Austen, and most fans of historical fiction would probably like it, too. My rating is 3 Stars.
**Click here to read a synopsis of the book with a link to read the first chapter.
**Thanks to Bethany House through CFBA for providing a copy for review.