My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received from Publisher to Review
Genre: Regency Romance
Book description: 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: Abigail Foster is sensible. She doesn't fall into the social events with abandon. She doesn't feel the need to always be dressed her best or have perfect hair. She knows that she is practical and she is pleased to be true to herself and her way of life. She lives life in the shadow of her younger and favored sister.
Abigail takes responsibility when her family has a reverse of financial standing. She encouraged her father in an investment that left the family with little. While trying to decide what to do, they received an invitation to rent a home that was within their budget.
Pembrooke Park, abandoned for nearly twenty years turns out to be full of mystery. Some say it is haunted, others that it contains a secret room full of treasure. Abigail hears bumps in the night that unsettle her. Her practical nature wins over and she is able to find solutions for the strange occurrences in the manor.
I loved the sense of mystery in this book. The house was abandoned with tea cups still on the table. Who is the person wearing a green cloak? Where did the family disappear to? Who is lending the house to the Fosters? Where is the treasure?
In some ways this book reminded me of a Gothic romance. It may be because of the creaks and groans of an old house, and the feeling that someone is nearby and watching.
The secondary characters in the story all have secrets. No one is exactly who they seem to be. Part of the mystery of the book is to unravel their secrets and try to figure out how the book will turn out because of the secrets. I had some figured out and others were a surprise.
The romance was a little slow to bloom. The reader knows of the attraction between William and Abigail, but they are slow to let each other know how they feel. Their flirtation was fun to read. There is another potential love interest that shows up and puts obstacles in their path.
This book was well written and contains many wonderful quotes and descriptions. The mystery was well done. I enjoyed my time spent with this book.
This book has a Christian theme and contains kissing, innuendo, and murder.
Purchase a copy!
About the Author: (taken from Goodreads) Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards, Minnesota Book Awards, and ACFW’s Carol Awards. She blogs athttp://www.inspiredbylifeandfiction.com.Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
I had the opportunity to meet Julie Klassen when she came on a book tour to Utah. She was very friendly and kind when I spoke to her. I purchase a second copy of her book (signed) to give away. I plan on using that book for the Romance is in the Air Hop! Make sure to check back on February 4th to enter the giveaway.
Want to check out some of the quotes bloggers have picked out from the book? Here are some links to other blogs involved in promoting the book.
http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/2015/01/the-secret-of-pembrooke-park-teaser.html (This one is my quote to share)