Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Girl in the Gatehouse
Bethany House (January 1, 2011)


Julie Klassen


Julie says: My background is in advertising and marketing, but I am blessed with a dream job—working as an editor of Christian fiction. I have been writing since childhood, but Lady of Milkweed Manor was my first novel. It was a finalist for a Christy Award and won second place in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards. My second novel, The Apothecary's Daughter, was a finalist in the ACFW Book of the Year awards. I am currently writing one novel a year.

I graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends.

My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.

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?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Girl in the Gatehouse, go HERE

Julie Klassen is a relatively new author whose first two books I completely enjoyed and this third one is even better. The culture of the time period in which this novel is set is far removed from our permissive cultures today! Early 1800's England put much emphasis on propriety--at least for women. Men could behave unseemly with few social consequences, while women paid heavily for the slightest indiscretion. Merely being alone with a man in a room was cause for a forced marriage and immodest behaviour could result in banishment from family and society. We are not told what, exactly, was Mariah's indiscretion that led to her being sent away to live in the gatehouse of her step-aunt's estate until more than halfway through the story, giving the reader time to see Mariah's true character. I immediately fell in love with most of the characters: Mariah, Miss Dixon (whose prim nature hides a heart yearning for love), loyal and steadfast Martin, sweet Lizzy and her fun-loving brother George, the aging spinster Merryweather sisters, and Captain Matthew Bryant (although he exasperated me as he continued to pine for the woman he could not have while being unaware of the jewel in his backyard!) And then there are the cads and at least one "mean girl" that made me want to wring their necks! Quotes at the beginning of each chapter, some the from Jane Austen era provide a clearer glimpse into the archaic beliefs and societal rules highlighted by this story. I highly recommend this enjoyable novel!


View blog reactions

1 comment:

Katherine said...

Hopping over to say Hello and HAPPY Thursday.
Hugs, Katherine