Saturday, January 8, 2011

Book Review: The Girl in the Gatehouse

The Girl in the Gatehouse. Julie Klassen. 2011. [January 2011]. Bethany House. 400 pages.

The end of the only life I've known, thought Mariah Aubrey, looking back through the carriage window at the shrinking figures of her mother and sister.

Our heroine, Mariah Aubrey, has a ruined reputation. For the sake of her family, for the sake of her younger sister, she has been kicked out of her home. Taking Dixon, her former nurse, she has taken refuge in the gatehouse on her Aunt Fran's estate. Mrs. Prin-Hallsey isn't so welcoming as to include her fallen niece into her company, into her society, but she has given her a place to stay. The two do come to an understanding, however, before her aunt's death. Her aunt has entrusted her with a chest to 'hide' in the attic of the gatehouse.

Hugh Prin-Hallsey, the step-son of her aunt, is NOT happy with the arrangement, with the charity being shown to Miss Aubrey. He determines that if she is to remain, she must pay rent--high rent at that. For, he desperately needs money. He even leases the estate for several months to a naval officer, Captain Matthew Bryant. (Captain Bryant would LOVE to buy the estate. He hopes that by proving his wealth, his worth, he can win the love of a beautiful young woman, Isabella.)

So what's a young woman to do when she needs to earn some money? Well, if you're as creative as Miss Aubrey, you decide to try to publish the novel you've secretly been writing. You decide that writing novels may be just the thing for your new life, your new beginning. But will it be easy to keep her writing a secret from those around her--from Mr. Prin-Hallsey, from Captain Bryant? What would they think of her if they knew the truth?

I enjoyed The Girl in the Gatehouse. I enjoyed the characters. I particularly liked Dixon and Martin. (Martin is the servant of her aunt; though he's one-handed, his worth cannot be measured.) If I had to pick a favorite character--besides the heroine, of course--it would be Martin for he truly surprised me. I wasn't thrilled with Captain Bryant as a romantic hero--he was no Captain Wentworth--but I liked him well enough. (After all, few naval officers could hope to compete with Wentworth!)

I have read and reviewed several Julie Klassen novels: The Apothecary's Daughter, The Silent Governess, Lady of Milkweed Manor. (My favorite was Lady of Milkweed Manor.)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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