This all new historical romance from award winning author Julie Klassen is sure to transport you back into a time of social classes, religious devotion, and delicate romance.
Abigail Foster has always been overshadowed by her younger and more attractive sister Louisa, and has recently lost hope of her long-time friend Gilbert ever seeing her as more than a close acquaintance. That is only the beginning of Abigail’s problems when her father loses their fortune to a bad bank investment and her family faces financial ruin. But when one door closes, another one opens. Abigail’s misfortunes prove to be the catalyst for an adventure she will never forget.
By chance, a distant relative is looking to re-open an old family mansion with a mysterious past, Pembrooke Park, and requests Abigail’s family to manage the estate for a year. Abigail sees this as a perfect opportunity to escape the city and the scandal, and for her to forget her romantic problems. While her mother and sister remain in the city so Louisa may enjoy her season of husband hunting, Abigail and her father head into the country to inspect their new home.
Upon arriving at the estate, Abigail and her father realize that the mansion is in desperate need of repairs. They also encounter even more rumors about the mysterious history of the manor house. One in particular catches Abigail’s interest. A grand treasure is thought to be hidden in Pembrooke Park. Rumor has it that it is the true reason why no member of their family has entered the house in years.
Life at Pembrook Park submerses Abigail in a world filled with mystery, excitement, and even a bit of romance. When she’s not cleaning the derelict manor or meeting new acquaintances in the village, Abigail spends her time engulfed in a search for the rumored treasure. To add to the excitement, Abigail is also in the midst of being courted by two gentlemen. The first is a distant cousin, who has as big an interest in the estate as he does in Abigail. The other is the handsome young clergyman whose family has a strained connection to Pembrooke Park, and may hold the answers to the many strange occurrences, past and present, which are happening in the old manor.
The Secret of Pembrooke Park Review
I have been a fan of Julie Klassen since I read “The Silent Governess.” Her style of writing and the genre reminded me of another writer of that era, Jane Austen. I am a fan of anything Austen and Klassen has managed to write romantic novels that have just the right amount of Austen blended with wit and style.
The story progresses nicely, with the reader guessing where the infamous Pembrooke treasure is hidden or wondering if it is merely rumors. However, the treasure isn’t the only mystery the reader must contend with. Who the lovely leading lady will choose as her suitor also takes center stage.
Will it be her childhood friend and secret love Gilbert? The charming cousin, whose appearance in the book brings up more family questions and tests Abigail’s patience? Or, will it be the man next door, William the clergyman, who is clearly smitten with Abigail the moment he sees her? Will Abigail discover her heart’s desire, or will her lack of self-confidence ruin her chances at love?
While the heart of the story is in the romance, there is also the matter of growing friendships between Abigail and her neighbor’s eldest daughter, Leah, who is reserved and extremely fearful of Pembrooke Park.
The novel contains many twists and turns surrounding the past history of Pembrooke Park. The mystery of the old mansion makes the reader wonder just what horrors went on there to create such fear from William’s family, the rumors behind the family treasure, and the curiosity of the Foster’s distant relatives, who may have more answers than they let on.
I am already excited for Klassen’s next novel, which will hopefully possess all the charm and romance of her previous books, this latest one included.
Seeing that The Secret of Pembrooke Park is written in a similar style as Jane Austen’s novels, I think it would make a perfect BBC miniseries. The mystery, adventure, and period romance all lend themselves perfectly to that style of film.
Are you tempted to read The Secret of Pembrooke Park? Do you know of any other good romance novels with a dash of adventure on the side? Sound off below…
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.
I have loved none but you.”
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