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The Tutor's Daughter Paperback – January 1, 2013
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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If Emma Smallwood doesn’t do something quickly, the Smallwood Academy will have to shut its doors permanently. So when the last student enrolled graduates, Emma persuades her father to write to Sir Giles Weston to see if he will consider sending his two youngest sons, Rowan and Julius, for tutoring. After all, John Smallwood had done an excellent job preparing Henry and Phillip Weston for university. Fortunately, Sir Giles is very receptive to the idea, but he wants Emma’s father to come to Ebbington Manor and teach the boys there. However, from the minute Emma and her father arrive at the Weston family home in Cornwall, someone, or something, seems determined to drive them away. In her latest captivating inspirational romance, Christy Award–winning Klassen effectively channels the gothic spirit of Austen’s Northanger Abbey, Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, and the classic novels of Holt by making effective use of her atmospheric Cornish setting and creating a plot packed with secrets and intrigue. --John Charles
From the Back Cover
Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?
The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her...
When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?
Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast--a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions--where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.
"[a] lovely addition to the genre...Regency/Klassen fans will love the mystery, romance, and drama." --Publishers Weekly
"A clever book that incorporates what readers love of Jane Austen, Downton Abbey and even a bit of Jane Eyre. The novel offers everything a historical romance reader looks for."
--Historical Novels Review about The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
"Klassen delivers another impeccably crafted romance rich in fascinating details about life both upstairs and downstairs in a country estate. An excellent choice for fans of faith-based fiction and readers who miss traditional Regency romances."
--Booklist about The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
"Well-developed characters, plot twists, and attention to period detail make this a sure bet for fans of Regency novels. A hint of romance will win Klassen readers who enjoy Catherine Palmer." -Library Journal
"A remarkable tale with many unpredictable twists and turns."--CBA Retailers and Resources
Discussion questions included.
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, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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There were a couple of times I wondered when exactly the novel takes place, as there seemed to be a few discrepancies in the rules of propriety in the book versus in the regency (though the characters even recognized these apparent discrepancies, acknowledging their own deviations from the norm). Even so, it is evident that Julie Klassen has done substantial research and has endeavored to be thorough in presenting a truthful and clean portrayal. I was able to learn more about life in the Regency era through a difficult-to-put-down novel, without danger of stumbling upon material (of a morally questionable nature) I prefer not to read.
Klassen also delivers plausible characters with fresh, non-cliché dialogue (so often, characters do not communicate half of what they should, which is often the main source of their misunderstandings; Klassen's characters communicate, though ineffectively, which I find a more believable and less frustrating source of character-to-character misunderstandings).
Almost immediately after finishing this, I purchased 4 more of Klassen's books. I can't wait to read more.
I often find novels of this nature predictable. I am pleased to say that it was not the case with this novel. I have the unfortunate habit of peeking at the end of books. I still was surprised at how certain elements of the story unfolded. In fact, I don't want to give anything away to more conscientious readers. Therefore, my synopsis will be a brief one:
Ms. Emma Smallwood has resigned herself to spinsterhood and managing her depressed father's affairs. She has spent her life helping her father tutor young men. Events unfold and they both end up traveling to the estate of two former students- Philip and Henry Weston. Emma has admired Philip, but was constantly teased by Henry and she does not relish the reunion. Drama ensues from the onset. Ms. Smallwood does not feel welcomed by most of the family, and a delightful mystery unfolds with a unique cast of characters.
I highly recommend this novel to any fan of Ms. Klassen's work. Further, I suggest it to anyone unfamiliar with her work. I believe fans of the genre will find it a great starting point. "The Tutor's Daughter" represents superb religious fiction. The spiritual message is not heavy handed and effectively delivered. Sometimes in inspirational novels, it feels like authors include obligatory religious texts as an afterthought. Here, however it intertwines meaningfully into the story in a way that will not be off putting to those who do not like incidental sermonizing.
Emma Smallwood's father runs an academy for boys in his home. After his wife dies, he seems to lose interest and no more pupils apply. He gets a letter from a former client whose 2 eldest sons attended his school, asking him to come to the manor house and live in as teacher to his two youngest sons. Emma is invited to come along, although she feels a few qualms, since one of the eldest boys, Henry Weston, lived to pull pranks on her.
When they arrive, they seem not to be expected, everyone seems ill at ease but they are invited in. Emma soon begins to suspect there are serious problems in this household; strange visits in the night to her room, things moved about and oddly comforting music coming from downstairs in the wee hours of the morning, which no one will admit to playing. Things are not right in the Weston household.
I will give away nothing more of the plot so it will not be spoiled for others who haven't read the book. This book is brooding and dark at places and carries the reader away along on the wave of suspense and heartache of the characters. It feels for the world like the darkness and fear in the old Orson Wells/Joan Fontaine version of Jane Eyre.
I was pulled back to the book nearly every time I laid it down. This would make an excellent movie or miniseries for television. It's just that good.
Klassen writes well, going into much detail, never leaving the reader to try to figure out everything for themselves. We get a good bit of history also, which this reader loves.
You can't go wrong buying a Julie Klassen book. Don't hesitate one moment to buy this book. If you've never read any of her books, and read this one, you will soon be buying the rest of her books!