Jun 072017
 

Reputation and Redemption

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Purchased

TYPE OF NOVEL: Regency Romance, Historical Fiction

SETTING: 1814, Whitmore, England

SYNOPSIS: Mariah Aubrey is no longer welcome in her father’s house, and therefore must move to an abandoned gatehouse on her aunt’s estate. Happy to have a roof over her head, Mariah strives to make her new life a success. But after a few months it is looking a little bleak, and Mariah doesn’t think they will have the funds to continue living there much longer… Her aunt’s estate is soon leased by a Captain Bryant, who is on a mission to impress the woman (and her father) who rejected him four years ago. His plans don’t include befriending the girl in the gatehouse, but it seems he is inexplicably drawn to her even though scandal surrounds her… Is it just friendly compassion or something more?

WHAT I LOVED:

– Touches of Jane Austen: In every Julie Klassen novel readers can spot allusions or references to Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë. In her author bio it says Ms. Klassen “loves all things Jane.” With a character named Mariah with a tarnished reputation and a naval captain trying to win over someone who previously rejected him, there were some nods to Mansfield Park and Persuasion in this tale. Two novels that pair very well together and are not often referenced in Ms. Klassen’s other novels. I enjoyed spotting the parallels and clever ways Ms. Klassen paid tribute to these two stories. There is also a scene or two that made me think of Sense and Sensibility!

– A Host of Characters: Adjoining the estate Mariah lives on is a poorhouse, and Mariah gets to know several of the children and other residents who live there. In addition, Mariah and her nurse-turned-servant meet other workers from the estate and befriend them. It was lovely to see so many people connect and grow closer to each other in this small estate. All these secondary characters were endearing and well-developed and their interactions with each other warm your heart and make you wish you could join their happy little troupe!

– Slowly Revealed: Why is Mariah not welcome in her father’s home? What did she do? What is in her aunt’s locked chest that she gave to Mariah? What secrets does the poorhouse hold? These answers aren’t revealed until more than halfway through the story! I love how Ms. Klassen introduces a bit of intrigue or mystery right at the beginning of her stories and very slowly divulges clues chapter by chapter, but doesn’t reveal all until much later! It is always so much fun to make my own suppositions and see if I am right! 😉

– Eventful: With so many secondary characters and more than one secret, there are quite a few story-lines that interweave with each other in this tale! Between reading journals, writing stories, performing theatricals, visiting the poorhouse, and a grand house party filled with many guests there is quite a bit going on. I enjoyed the multiple story-lines and how each character had some interesting developments happening.

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

– Sometimes Overshadowed: With so many delightful characters occasionally stealing the spotlight, I did sometimes feel that Captain Bryant and the relationship between him and Mariah was a little overshadowed. I love relationships that begin as innocent friendships, and in the early part of the book we see many moments where both feel a bit of admiration or attraction for the other. I guess I wanted to see their relationship more in the spotlight during the second part of the book.

CONCLUSION:

Intrigue and secrets, a strong and admirable heroine, seamless writing, and a scattering of Jane Austen influences and allusions – The Girl in the Gatehouse is filled with all my favorite Julie Klassen trademarks! Proving once again why I adore her works! To echo everyone that has said it before – if you love Jane Austen and Regency romances, you should read Julie Klassen!

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  17 Responses to “The Girl in the Gatehouse – Julie Klassen”

  1.  

    Delightful post. I’ve seen several Klassen books posted in the reviews of my GR friends. I’ve never broken down and read one. I know… that is almost as bad as my finally reading Gaskell’s book N&S. Yeah, I seem to be behind the times. This looks delightful. You have made me want to check-it-out. Thanks Meredith and say hello to Mr. Bingley for me. Y’all enjoy your summer.

    •  

      I hope you do check out a Julie Klassen novel soon, Jeanne! They are so much fun and wonderfully written! I’m real bad too because I’ve not read N&S! 😉 Hopefully I will soon! I definitely want to! Mr. Bingley appreciates your message. 😀 Hope you are enjoying a great week!

  2.  

    Thank you for keeping us up to date with Julie Klassen´s books. As you say, I like stories where secrets are mentioned at the very beginning and then they´re revealed through the following chapters. By the way, in the Book Fair which is taking place this couple of weeks in Madrid, I found out that two Julie Klassen´s books are translated into spanish, WOW: “The silent governess” and “The secret of Pembrooke Park” so I´m in cloud nine LOL

    •  

      Actually this is one of her earlier releases, it is just one I didn’t get around to reading yet! Now I only have one left that I still haven’t read! So excited to hear about your book fair finds!!! I’ve found several of my Julie Klassens that same way!! What great choices – I gave both of them 5 stars and count them as some of my favorites of hers!

  3.  

    So glad you liked it Meredith. It was the first Klassen book I read and I just kept on going. I loved it. If you haven’t already read it, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is another great one of hers.

    •  

      Oh nice! My first Klassen was The Apothecary’s Daughter, which out of all I’ve read is one I like the least…might need to read again! Yes, I loved The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Only one I haven’t read is The Lady of Milkweed Manor. 🙂 Glad Ms. Klassen has written so many books!

  4.  

    Ugh, I have this poor book setting on my shelf deserving attention and I haven’t picked it up yet, but your review is just the kick in the pants I need to read it or one of the other older Klassen’s this summer.

    Great review, Meredith!

    •  

      I think I owned my copy for about a year at least! 😉 That’s the problem with big TBR piles!! I hope you get a chance to read a Julie Klassen novel soon! 🙂

  5.  

    I haven’t read this one yet but I’m sure I’ll love it! I’m a big fan of Ms. Klassen and loved every book I’ve read so far! Look forward to getting to this gem!

  6.  

    I have also read The Silent Governess and truly enjoyed it. But I have long been a fan of historical romances, having bought and read literally hundreds over the years. For now I concentrate on JAFF. Your review is very intriguing and I can see the hints of the JA books. Maybe someday. Sounds good as you do such lovely reviews, Meredith.

    •  

      Thanks, Sheila! I appreciate you checking out my review! I know JAFF books keep us plenty busy, eh? 😉 There is so much out there for historical fiction, but since I like to read a healthy dose of JAFF I tend only stick to a few authors.

  7.  

    Lovely review Meredith! I actually have had this one sitting on my wishlist for a while. I always love a little mystery and with your high recommendation, I will eventually read it!

  8.  

    What a delightful review, Meredith! Thanks for introducing us to what sounds like another gem from Julie Klassen! I do love her books, they are so well written and full of intrigue and exquisite romance. Thanks again for taking us with you on your journeys to all sorts of virtual worlds, your reviews are always so informative and such a delight to read!!

  9.  

    This novel was my introduction to Julie Klassen’s work, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Imagine how delighted I was, then, to meet her, dance with her, and lunch with her at the JASNA convention in Minneapolis a few years ago! She’s a sweetheart of a person as well as an excellent writer. Thanks for bring back pleasant memories with this review, Meredith. 🙂

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