The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen. Bethany House, 2013. 412p. (9780764210693)
I have greatly enjoyed Julie Klassen’s books, especially The Maid of Fairbourne Hall. This one is a delightful mix of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters; all very intentional on the author’s part.
Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?
The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.
When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor's daughter figure out which brother to blame... and which brother to trust with her heart?
It’s been a while since I’ve read Northanger Abbey and I’ve never read Jane Eyre (though I’ve seen a movie version), it was lots of fun realizing I remembered ideas, scenes and settings from those books and Sense and Sensibility. As well as Emma (the main character’s name afterall…) and of course Jane Austen’s most famous work (which by the way was published 200 years ago on January 28th).
Despite the fact that the story is heavily influenced by regency classics it is still its own story with its own plot twists and characters. Things wrapped up rather quickly at the end but the rest of the story was set up and played out very nicely.
Other than Emma and her father, the characters develop slowly – this is a good thing. It’s mainly the Weston boys and Lizzie that we get to know slowly and that drives the plot. Fathers should be involved in their sons’ lives. You never know what they might become if the dad is absent or disengaged.
I really enjoyed the story and if what I’ve written isn’t full of glowing praise it’s because reading this book was more like meeting someone new yet it seems like you’ve known them forever or visiting a new but yet familiar and comfortable place. And you’re just content. That’s a good word to describe the reading experience – contentedness.
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.
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