Friday, April 13, 2012
The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen
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?
A very light and easy Regency romance with obvious nods to Jane Austen's Persuasion and Mansfield Park. The Girl in the Gatehouse is the perfect kind of book when you're in the mood for a charming tale of romance with a bit of mystery.
The story pulled me in right away and I was intrigued to learn the circumstances surrounding Mariah's scandal. Since a simple breach of propriety in those days could cause a person to be shunned by society, I felt compassion for her as she and her companion, Miss Dixon, settled in all alone in a cold, deserted gatehouse on her aunt's estate.
There's plenty of drama and angst in the manor house on the estate between the heir and his stepmother, as well as a lively cast of characters at the poor house across the road. Add in a handsome sea captain staying at the manor and you have a fairly predictable romance but there are many secrets and surprises that add a dash of spice to the story. Overall, an enjoyable inspirational tale of the power of forgiveness.
Title: The Girl in the Gatehouse
Author: Julie Klassen
Bethany House Publishers
genre: Christian historical romance