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Jan 28, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

Another fantastic read from a favorite author!
The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Available for purchase
Bethany House January 1, 2013
Christian Historical Romance/Regency
Paperback 416 pages
Received for free in exchange for this review from publisher via LitFuse Publicity
Burton Book Review Rating: FIVE STAR FAVORITE

Award-Winning Regency Romance from Bestselling Author Julie Klassen

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.

When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor's daughter figure out which brother to blame...and which brother to trust with her heart?

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Julie Klassen has a fantastic writing style that incorporates many of her favorite things: clever story lines, the hope of a thrilling romance, threads of faith and values - all while channeling Jane Austen and Jane Eyre. I loved her previous novel, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, and I loved The Tutor's Daughter just as much.

It begins as Emma Smallwood is contemplating her future, as her widowed father is buried is despair and without hope, but our Emma takes matters into her own hands and secures a position for them as tutors at a prominent family estate. There is a prior history with the Westons and the boys of that family, but now Emma has to deal with the entire family all at once with all of their eccentricities, and as it turns out, family secrets. The Weston boys were quite a troop, with the evil step-mother to round them out, and I loved watching them interact with the shy but strong-willed Emma.

The 'secret' was pretty easy to figure out, and the sinister characters were also easy to spot but couldn't quite figure out why (Julian!), while the relationships of the characters and the execution of the plot was perfectly done. Adam was a character you wanted to break down walls to get to know, and I loved Emma and her father, and Henry Weston would certainly be Mr. Darcy material. The cover of the book is absolutely perfect for the novel set in nineteenth century Cornwall, and I found myself gazing at it while absorbing the story.

Knowing I was going to adore this story, I admonished myself to please read it slowly so that I could savor every word, but I couldn't help myself. I devoured this newest Klassen novel, and my only consolation is that I have yet to read her earlier works. Julie Klassen is sure to be one of my favorite novelists, especially for her non-preachy way to add God and His praise into her stories. Do not be afraid to pick up a novel by Julie Klassen if you fear being preached at, even though I do appreciate most Christian messages regardless. This one is worth your time and I would never hesitate to recommend Julie Klassen to lovers of Regency romances and the sweeter side of historical romances. I wouldn't doubt this one becoming Julie Klassen's fourth Christy Award Winner.