Monday, February 11, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter

When I picked up The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen, I expected to read about interesting, memorable characters living in the Regency Era. What I didn't expect to find was a brilliant mixture of mystery and innocent romance that kept me turning the book's pages . . . unable to stop reading until I had unearthed each secret right along with Miss Emma Smallwood. A nice surprise, The Tutor's Daughter was, and a book I would highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of Jane Austen (books or films). You won't be disappointed.

Accompanying her father to Ebbington Manor to tutor the youngest two Weston sons sparks hope and wariness within Miss Emma Smallwood -- hope, to see Phillip again, the Weston she was quite fond of as a young girl; wariness, at being trapped under the same roof as Henry, the oldest Weston who pulled plenty of pranks on her as a child. As Emma settles into her new routine at Ebbington, mysterious things begin happening around her. Who plays the pianoforte so beautifully in the dark of night? Will Emma discover who leaves love letters under her door? Secrets abound as every person living in Ebbington Manor seems to hold fast to at least one hidden truth, including Emma herself. Will a tempest rise when all the secrets come to light? Find out in Julie Klassen's latest novel, The Tutor's Daughter.

Aunt Jane tells Emma (on page 23), "But that does not mean I don't sometimes wonder what I might have missed. What my life might have been like, had I said yes to a little adventure of my own." This message of encouragement to Emma is quite easily applied to many a person's life. How many of us have wondered what life would have been like, had we chosen a different course in life? Said yes instead of no to a risky venture? I don't know about you, but my mind has wandered into 'What-If-Land' a few times. Guess what I've discovered: I wouldn't change anything. The choices I've made throughout my 25 years have been used by God to form me into the God-fearing woman I am today. Without those decisions and a few misadventures along the way, I wouldn't be as creative, strong, intelligent, caring, loving, trustworthy, etc. my family and friends tell me I am. No, I would not change one choice I've made. Would you?

Another line from The Tutor's Daughter I found that may be implemented in my life is on page 343. While facing imminent death, Henry Weston says, "You think all you like. I am going to pray." When I cannot think my way out of a difficult situation . . . when I can't think of the right words for a scene in my novels . . . when I can't think of how to best help a friend . . . I pray. God hears and answers my prayers, each and every one. Even though, sometimes, the answers aren't what I expected or wanted to hear, they're always what I NEEDED to hear. God is always faithful to listen and answer, according to His will. My only hope is this: that I don't wait to pray until I CAN'T THINK. I want to be proactive in my life, and I want talking and listening to God to be the best part of my day.

Tell me this:

How has God touched your life this week? Was it a gentle reminder? Or perhaps an abrupt wake-up call? Did He use you to touch someone else's life?

Is there anything you wish you could do over? A decision you would make differently, if given the chance? What would you do differently next time?

Please join the conversation! I look forward to hearing from you.

If you want to learn more about Julie Klassen, see photos from her trip to England, or order a copy of The Tutor's Daughter, please visit www.julieklassen.com.

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