Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review | "The Secret of Pembrooke Park" by Julie Klassen

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
Regency Romance published December 1, 2014
Published by Bethany House
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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 thoughts...

This was my first book by Julie Klassen and I did enjoy it.  It's a fairly long book and it did take me longer to read it than I anticipated. This is a Regency Mystery and while it's classified as romance there was really very little focus on the romance.  This is also a Bethany House published book so there is some aspect of religion throughout the book.  It's not as in your face as some of the books they publish are.  This one is more subtle in that the main male character Will is a curate on the Pembrooke property.  This, for all intents and purposes, means that he's the pastor of the church.  His position is overseen by an elder pastor who travels so Will lives in the rectory and holds the weekly services.

Abigail finds herself in a bit of a quandary when, because of her advice on financial matters, her family finds themselves in trouble.  They can no longer afford to live in the way they have become accustomed so she needs to find them a place to live when they sell their London home.  She is the older sister who feels doomed to remain an "old maid" even though she is not yet 25.  This hits her especially hard when the man she thinks she's in love with, a man she grew up with, appears to be quite taken with her younger sister.  They seem to stumble upon the opportunity of a lifetime when they are offered a year lease on the Pembrooke property.  An offer that comes complete with household staff.  The caveat is, the house has been empty for nearly 20 years.

As Abigail begins to ready the house for the rest of her family, she learns that there is so much more about the house than what was revealed to her initially.  There is a secret in the house and she's not the only one searching for it.  Some say it's a treasure, but just what kind of treasure could there be in a house that was abandoned so suddenly?  Abigail becomes close with Will and his entire family as she uncovers the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

This is a great mystery story, it's full of twists and turns.  Some of them I saw coming, but others hit me out of the blue.  Like I said earlier, it's a long book, but the mystery of it kept me going right on to the end.  There is a little romance that's all very proper for the time in which the book is set.  If you like a nice clean read with a little romance and a lot of mystery then you will probably enjoy this book.  I know I did!

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

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