Friday, April 29, 2011
When I first read the back of this book online, I was immediately interested. I mean, a girl with secrets and a hidden past is certainly worth a read. Right? Really right! And I had never read a book penned by Julie Klassen, although I had heard great things about her writing. So naturally, this book beckoned to me.
I got a free review copy from Bethany House, and let me say that the cover is absolutely wonderful! I love the fact that the cover is not only beautiful, but it also reflects the description of the gatehouse and a dress that Mariah wears in the book. So many books that I've read have deceptive covers that have nothing to do with the contents. I also love the flourishes on the cover and every chapter opening.
When I opened the cardboard box that held my Klassen treasure, I delved into the first page with all of the anticipation of a child on Christmas morning. If the cover had not completely won me over, the first line finished the job nicely.
Julie Klassen includes an author's note that describes Jane Austen's influence on her writing. Understatement of the century. If I did not know that Julie Klassen wrote this book, I could be coerced into believing that Jane Austen herself wrote it. And I do love Jane Austen!
I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but I do want to tell a bit of it. The main character, Mariah, is sent away for some secret reason or wrong-doing. And no, you don't really find out what it is until the end, as is fitting. She has to find some way to support herself and her former nanny, now companion. Writing novels secretly seems to be the best way to stay out of the public eye, but her ever secret past is forever looming before her. I could scarcely put this book down for wanting to find out what had happened. And of course the appearance of a handsome captain appealed to the romantic in me. As I read, I became immensely jealous of the object of the captain's affections. That alone tells me that Julie did her job as a writer. I felt so much a part of the story that I found myself speaking to the characters aloud!
The story makes references to God, and His will, and there is a faith element woven into it. I just wish it had been a bit more prominent, not so subtle.
I can't say enough about how much I loved this book. I will not loan it out, for fear that I won't get it back, and I don't wish to part with it, for I'm sure I will read it again.
This was by far the best I've read in a few months. Even though there were a few characters that seemed less believable, I still found affection for them, and became interested in their welfare as well, especially Maggie and Martin.
Kudos to Julie Klassen! She is definitely on my list of favorites now. And if you love Jane Austen, or just a mysterious, historical romance, then this should be the next book on your list!
Julie is published by Bethany House Publishers, and you can find more about her on her website: www.julieklassen.com
Posted by J M F at 6:46 AM