The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

IMG_3823-0 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ My synopsis:  When a reversal in financial circumstances causes Abigail Foster’s family to sell their cherished family home in London’s trendy Grosvenor Square, and remove to the dilapidated and foreboding Pembrooke Park in Berkshire, a manor house that has stood uninhabited for 18 years, Abigail wonders what the future holds for herself and her family. But as mysterious and sinister occurances associated with the old house come to light, her once somewhat optimistic view of residing at Pembrooke Park begins to change.

REVIEW:  When the book unfolds we find Abigail Foster and her family getting ready to attend a going-away party that their long-time neighbors and friends are hosting for their son Gilbert, who’s leaving for a year to study abroad. Abigail has formed an attachment beyond friendship to Gilbert, and expects a proposal upon his return; but as the night progresses Abigail witnesses Gilbert with her younger sister Louisa engrossed in a tête-à-tête. Gilbert appears interested in Louisa and Abigail is crushed. To make matters worse, during dinner Gilbert’s father addresses Mr. Foster, alluding to financial woes involving one of the Fosters’ recent investments.  This painful development further saddens poor Abby, especially since she feels principally responsible for her family’s financial predicament.

When the worst is realized and the Fosters are forced to retrench, they are concerned about where they will take up residence. Fortunately their situation is remedied when a distant but undisclosed relative conditionally offers them the use of their vast, uninhabited, decrepit manor house, Pembrooke Park.  When they agree to the stipulations, Abigail and her father head to Pembrooke Park to assist the servants with readying it for habitation. Things seem to be looking up for the Fosters until Abigail begins receiving cryptic torn-out journal entries and letters from an anonymous source, warnings from neighbors of treasure hunters, mysterious visitors around the estate, footsteps in the house at night, and other unexplained phenomena. Although these are unexpected challenges, Abby is determined to stay at Pembrooke Park, and the local curate, William Chapman, is quickly becoming an incentive to remain. Is he the man she thinks he is or is he possibly seeking the hidden treasure rumored to be in her new home?  Can the servants be trusted?  The neighbors? Are the journal entries and missives she receives, seemingly chronicling her goings on inside the house, proof that someone is watching her?

MY FEELINGS: Extraordinary!! I found this book to be a cleverly crafted story, somewhat of an amalgam of several of Jane Austen’s brilliant novels, and at times reminiscent of Charlotte Bronté’s Jane Eyre. For me this was by far a good thing as I am an admirer of both authors.  Reading The Secret of Pembrooke Park was like consuming the most decadent dessert, each layer richer and more succulent than the one before it. This regency period, semi-gothic, historical romance and inspirational fiction novel (whew), involving an old manor house, family secrets, obscure identities, hidden rooms and lost treasure engrossed me from beginning to end. And although this book is considered Christian Fiction which I appreciate for the lack of profanity, explicit sexual content, vulgar language and wanton violence, I don’t necessarily appreciate an influx of scriptural references, heavy doses of doctrine or preachiness. Klassen did a superb job at balancing scriptural content. Whereas there was mention made regarding things of a theological nature, it fit in with the plot and did not supersede the storyline. I will admit I was apprehensive when I saw the size of the book, 456 pages, which is normally a bit lengthy for my taste.  However, I found it was surprisingly well sequenced and fluently paced to the degree that it kept me fully absorbed and in eager expectation of the next reading opportunity.  In fact, it was actually hard to put down, and I read it in about the same time it ordinarily takes for me to read a book about half its size.

If you relish the masterful storytelling of authors like Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronté, then I expect you will find The Secret of Pembrooke Park a thoroughly enriching experience. I absolutely LOVED it!!

Thank you Laurel Ann Natress of Austenprose for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which I have given. Thank you Bethany House and Julie Klassen for providing this publication for my enjoyment.

QUICK FACTS:

• Title: The Secret of Pembrooke Park
• Author: Julie Klassen
• Tour Dates: February 16 – March 02, 2015
• Genre: Regency Romance/Gothic Romance/ Historical Fiction/Austenesque/Inspirational Fiction
• Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (December 02, 2014)
• Trade paperback ISBN: 978-0764210716
• eBook ISBN: 9781441264824
• Audio: B00QXKRDZ6
• Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X4nLZlzBSQ&feature=youtu.be

IMG_3819AUTHOR BIO:

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, follow her on Twitter, and visit her on Facebook and Goodreads.

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55 thoughts on “The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

  1. I appreciate your enthusiastic response to Julie’s writing as I too have enjoyed several of her earlier works. Great giveaway selections and opps to enter!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Laurie. I am very intrigued by this book now- and am interested in reading it! From your review, there seems to be a quite a bit of mystery, romance and history in the The Secret of Pembrooke Park… which are all great attributes of a great read in my opinion!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Secret of Pembrooke Park Blog Tour | Austenprose - A Jane Austen Blog

  4. I really want to read this book now. I thought in the beginning of this Blog tour that I might want to but now I know I really want to read this. I’ll have to look at my local library for Klassens’ other books too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like the Christian aspect to the book. It is there but it does not overwhelm the reader. I also like the mystery of discovering hidden treasure in an abandoned home. It gives just enough information but not enough to give away what the secret is.
    ~Amanda

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like how you did a synopsis, review, shared your feelings about the book, as well as shared some quick facts about the book. Thanks for being part of the blog tour!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been impressed with most of the reviews on this blog tour. The Secret of Pembrooke Park sounds like a terrific book, one I’m really looking forward to reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am a huge Julie Klassen fan so it’s no surprise that I am looking forward to reading “The Secret of Pembrooke Park”! I have so enjoyed the blog tour; all the comments, reviews, & excerpts. This was a great review, thank you for sharing and sticking it out even if it was a long book for you! I hope you enjoyed her writing & that you would consider reading Julie’s many other books. They are truly worth the time! I’ve read 5 of her books and look forward to the rest I have either missed, or have yet to be. I so appreciate all the bloggers who are willing (and eager!) to host Julie’s book & participate in the giveaway. Many thanks to you all!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. After following this tour, I’m more excited than ever to read this book. I’m currently reading Julie Klassen’s “The Apothecary’s Daughter,” and it is so good. I can’t wait to read all of her books!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m sad that this is the final day of the blog hop. It has been fun reading the different posts. Thank you for the great review. Julie is a new-to-me author. The Secret of Pembrooke Park sounds like a wonderful read.

    Liked by 1 person

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