As you may have noticed by now, I’m a huge Julie Klassen fan. I’ve reviewed five of her works thus far, and her wit and immersive writing have kept me coming back for more each time. It was a no-brainer then that I decided to be part of the blog tour for The Secret of Pembrooke Park. Matching Klassen’s lively writing style with a dash of mystery was bound to create an adventure that I couldn’t pass up.
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?
One of my favorite things about Klassen as an author is seeing the influence that both Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters have in her works. The themes and spirit of her writing borrow from their famous works, and it always makes me happy to see, being such a fan of these authors myself. For example, reading Abigail’s search for the secret treasure room had many parallels to when Catherine Morland was attempting to find out if Henry Tilney’s mother was murdered in Northanger Abbey. Just like in Jane Eyre, there is a serious undertone of Gothic mystery to the plot as a whole, and you get a sense that there is a bigger picture hiding behind all the clues that one comes across during the course of events. I felt this way as clues began piling up while Abigail searches for the secret room and tries to uncover the mysteries of Pembrooke Park. I knew that the anonymous letters, warnings, and other seemingly independent events would weave together in a larger picture, much like Jane’s dealings with Mr. Rochester belie his true intentions until much later.
In addition to these overall themes, I felt that the plot moved well, with the revelations coming quickly enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. Of special note are the twists at the end, which had me actually gasping out loud (much to my husband’s amusement from the other room.) Not only did the plot and themes hook me, but the characters did as well. Abigail, Leah, William, and even Miles were the cause of my ability to read the entire book in one sitting. Overall, Klassen has produced yet another gem in her lineup. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was everything I thought it would be, and if you’ve never had the pleasure of reading any of Klassen’s works, this is a great one to start with.
5 out of 5 Stars
The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
Bethany House Publishing (2014)
Paperback: 464 pages
Special thanks to Bethany House for my review copy!
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 have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota. Learn more about Julie and her books at her website, follower her on Twitter, and visit her on Facebook and Goodreads.
Grand Giveaway Contest
Win One of Four Fabulous Prizes
In celebration of the release of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, four chances to win copies of Julie’s books and other Jane Austen-inspired items are being offered.
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!
Click here for more details of the blog tour!
Great blog! Would love to win the contest.
I am new to your blog, and am actually relatively new to blogging in general, however, I can already tell that I am going to LOVE your blog. I am an avid book reader as well, and normally read about 3-4 books a week. I also use audiobooks alot. I have not, as yet read anything by Ms. Klassen. I am however very curious about her writing style also if I am related to her as my maiden name is also Klassen.
Some of my fave authors are: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, Lee Child, actually any good book will do most days. I tell my children that books are like oxygen for the soul. Thank you so much for making such a great blog about books.
This sounds like an awesome book!
This book looks fabulous!
I loved this book as well. Julie is a great author!!!
Great review! Can’t wait to read this newest book by Julie Klassen. I would love to win the contest.
I whole-heartedly agree! I have read Julie’s books in the past but this last novel had a richness and beauty that sets it apart from all the others. The characters made me fall absolutely in love with them and the mystery was masterfully done. However, it was her focus on the ultimate Truth throughout the book showing the complexity and purpose within human life. Thank you for unveiling the ultimate mystery! 🙂
(I would like to be entered into the contest as well)
I would love to enter the wonderful giveaway!
This was an amazing book! It’s motivating me to read her earlier books now!
I’m going to have to look for Klassens’ books at my local Library. I don’t buy book often and even then it has to be something I know I will read again and again. I will suddenly have a thought about a plot line or scene from one of my “fav” books and get the need to read it all over again 🙂
Thanks for the great review. I’ve added THE SECRET OF PEMBROOKE PARK to my TBR list. 🙂
bn100candg at hotmail dot com
I enjoyed your blog. The giveaways are exciting and great for whoever wins.
Thanks for hosting me here, Kimberly, and for the wonderful review!
Thanks for introducing me to a new author. I love histororical romance in general, and Jane Eyre in particular, so The Secret of Pembroke Park really appeals to me. And I presume Julie Klassen writes with a touch of humour if you are referencing Catherine’s ‘murder investigation’ in Northanger Abbey?
This book sounds amazing! Good luck to everyone!!!!!
I’m ready for Lady Maybe already!!!!!!!!!!
Lovely review! I also loved reading this book and have been a fan of Julie Klassen for a long time now. Thanks for being part of the tour!
Lovely review! I’ve been a Julie Klassen fan since I read The Apothecary’s Daughter. There’s only two I haven’t read yet, but I own them, so I’m sure it won’t be too much longer before they reach the top of my tbr pile.
I’m a Julie Klassen fan, too. I’m really excited about this new book!
This is a really good review of Julie’s book. I’m glad to find the majority are loving this book because it’s one I’ve wanted to read since I first heard about it. I enjoy Julie’s books very much.
Enjoyed the book!
I just love Julie Klassen! Cannot wait to read this book!
I’m so excited about the blog tour! Julie Klassen is one of my all-time favorites!
Looks like a great book that would make a good addition to our church library. librarybooks at religious dot com
Thank you for sharing your review with us, Kimberly. You have such a lovely blog! I too am a Julie Klassen fan.. ~ Blessings, Juli firstname.lastname@example.org
I enjoyed your post. Thank you for being part of the book tour.
Have not read her books but now I know about it I will definitely look into it. Thank you for the giveaway too.
Awesome book! My favorite of Julie’s so far! I have added Northanger Abby to my reading list!
You hit the nail on the head! Jane Austen and Bronte in one makes fro AWESOME stories!!!!
I started with Julie’s book “The Apothecary’s Daughter” & went from thereto read 4 other books by her. I couldn’t read them fast enough!! To say the least, I’m a HUGE fan & look forward to reading ALL of her books. Thank you for a great review on your blog & featuring this great giveaway. I’m enjoying each stop on this blog tour! Blessings!
5 stars that’s great. I’d love to read this novel as well.
What a great review. I can’t wait to read it!
Your review makes me want to read this book….thank you !
Oh I love all her books!! Can’t wait to read this one!!
i love julie klassen’s books and would love to read the ones i have missed!
thanks for posting about this book. love julie’s books and love this cover
ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com
I love Julie Klassen’s books and look forward to reading this one! 🙂
I’d love to read Julie Klassen’s new book 🙂
Always a fan of Julie’s books – can’t wait to read it! truckredford(at)gmail(dot)com
Great review. I have enjoyed a few of Julie’s books and look forward to reading this newest one.
Sounds interesting.I love your blog.Actually I’m a writer too,I usually write sc-fi stories,check out my blog ace5blog.wordpress.com
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Great review! I love Ms. Klassen’s books. The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is my running favorite at present. I’ve heard great things about The Secret of Pembrooke Park. 🙂
loved to read your thoughts – I’m another JK fan and anticipate some great reading – especially with the giveaway offer ! thanks for posting…
You definitely convinced me to add some of Julie Klassen’s latest books to my ever-growing reading list. 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
I would love to participate in this contest! The storyline sounds lovely, I love Jane Austen’s books (and I think this one will be a bit like them) and historical fiction. 🙂