Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Girl in the Gatehouse

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Girl in the Gatehouse
Bethany House (January 1, 2011)
Julie Klassen


Julie says: My background is in advertising and marketing, but I am blessed with a dream job—working as an editor of Christian fiction. I have been writing since childhood, but Lady of Milkweed Manor was my first novel. It was a finalist for a Christy Award and won second place in the Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards. My second novel, The Apothecary's Daughter, was a finalist in the ACFW Book of the Year awards. I am currently writing one novel a year.

I graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends.

My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.


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?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Girl in the Gatehouse, go HERE

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen is a poignant Regency romance in the vein of Jane Austen and a terrific follow-up to her previous novel, The Silent Governess. Mariah Aubrey has been sent in disgrace from her family home, along with her female servant Dixon, to live in the gatehouse of her aunt's estate, Windrush. But Aunt Fran isn't long for the world, leaving Mariah to the mercy of her stepson Hugh, and the new tenant Captain Matthew Bryant, who is renting the estate to finally win over the affections of the woman who rejected him many years ago. Mariah supports her small, but growing, household by writing novels, anonymously in order to keep her parents from finding out and from bringing further shame to her name. Meanwhile, she and Bryant are growing close as they investigate the mystery of the man on the roof across the road. Klassen has packed almost too much plot in this novel, mistaken identity, men lost at sea, lost heirs, evil poorhouse matron, several different romances, betrayal, and a woman wronged, but she juggles it mostly to good effect. Mariah is a thoroughly likable heroine, and her love for those around her allows the reader to fall in love with them as well. Klassen's novels are always a joy, and while I enjoyed this one, I don't know that it had the same quality as her previous books. Not that it was at all bad! I normally give her books five stars, and for me, this one was a four star book. Fans of Regency romances will be well pleased by the references to Austen, and readers will appreciate that Klassen never shoves faith down their throat by proselytizing.