Julie Klassen penned a tale of mystery and romance that draws you in and captures you until the last page. Despite the length (456 pages), I frowned upon reaching the end, wishing there were many more chapters to spend with these characters.
Abigail Foster isn’t extraordinary in looks or circumstances. The responsible older sister, she takes responsibility for her family’s recent financial crisis and helps find a new home—Pembrooke Park, where the mystery begins. One factor I appreciated in this story was the fact that I didn’t automatically know who I wanted Abigail’s love interest to be. I was allowed to learn the character of the men.
Another plus was the strong spiritual aspect. William Chapman is a parson, and the way he preached (and conversed) about God paying for everyone’s sins, no matter how extreme, was beautiful. His dialogue felt genuine and far from cliché while relaying the Gospel. My only qualm is that I’m not sure when Abigail came to know the Lord. That part wasn’t clear, and I wish it had been.
The secondary characters in this novel were sublime, their personalities deep and compelling, along with the plot. Though Abigail hears strange noises in the middle of the night or witnesses a hooded figure walking the grounds, I felt as if I’d heard and seen those images as well. This a book I will reread to catch the subtle clues laced throughout the pages.
To be blunt, I loved this novel. I wish I could drain it from my memory only because I want to experience reading it for the first time again. This truly might be my favorite by Julie Klassen.
You can purchase The Secret of Pembrooke Park here.
From the Back Cover
Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find in entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll’s house left mid-play…
The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor’s past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.
This catches Abigail’s attention. Hoping to restore her family’s finances—and her dowry—Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn’t the only one secretly searching the house.
Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.
As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?
*I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.