by Andrea Renee Cox
There are many reasons to enjoy Julie Klassen’s novel, The Secret of Pembrooke Park. Setting aside her incredible backlog of books I’ve collected over the years, here are a few of the reasons I liked this particular one.
This book felt like a historical mystery to me, which is an intriguing combination. The mysteries came early and often, building upon each other until the tension and suspense had me holding my breath. Not a great thing when you’re sick and having trouble breathing in the first place. But I was eager to be distracted from my discomfort and couldn’t resist reading more chapters to find out the answers to the questions bouncing around my fever-riddled brain.
Rich characters are to be expected in a Klassen book, and Pembrooke Park didn’t disappoint. One character that stood out for me was Mac Chapman, the steward of the mysterious manor. The moment he held three other characters at gunpoint, I knew the feisty old codger and I would be fast friends. What took me by surprise was the intensity of his loyalty to certain other characters. That loyalty led to protectiveness which created even more empathy for him.
Admiration comes to mind when I think of how Julie Klassen’s novels continue and enhance the tradition Jane Austen began so many generations ago. The Regency Era was such a beautiful time period, and that is put on display perfectly in the settings, hierarchy, rules of propriety, costumes, dialogue, and familial interactions within Ms. Klassen’s stories. She writes exquisite tales enriched with incredible detail that often transport me to her favorite era. It’s authors like her that keep the classics alive … because she’s giving us new ones.
Oh yes, this woman’s books are certain to stand the test of time!
Here's a little behind-the-scenes video. Enjoy!
Readers, when was the last time you read a book that could be considered an instant classic? What makes you feel like you’re “friends” with the characters of a book? Which book do you come back to over and over again, and why?
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