Monday, May 2, 2011
The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen
I really liked this book. If you're a Jane Austen fan, you'll like it, too. The setting for this book is the English countryside in the early 1800's. Mariah has been sent away from her home by her father. We don't learn until later in the book, through Mariah's writings, why exactly she was sent away. But she ends up at a dying aunt's estate and is allowed to live in the gatehouse while her aunt is alive. One stormy night, Captain Matthew Bryant arrives at her house having fallen from his horse. Mariah, a horse lover, is able to secure the horse for the Captain. The Captain is looking for a house to lease to persuade a young woman to marry him. This begins a friendship between Mariah and Captain Bryant since they both understand the captain has his cap set for another.
Mariah's aunt dies; but leaves her a key to a chest. She also tells her to keep it a secret from her dead husband's son who is desperately trying to sell off anything of value for his own pocket. Inside the chest, Mariah finds journals full of family secrets. Mariah is also secretly an authoress. She asks her brother, who is really forbidden to see his sister, to take a copy of the novel she's written to a publisher. Her aunt's stepson, Hugh Prin-Hallsey, forces Mariah to pay rent after her aunt dies, so Mariah is desperate for a way to raise money. She realizes how taboo it is for a woman to write a novel, so she uses a pen name. Not only does she wish to write anonymously because of the censure of her culture, but she also didn't want her father to find out. He would not approve.
The rest of the book is filled with many twists and turns that keep a reader very engaged in this book. I loved the story line and the writing style of Julie Klassen.
I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you to Bethany House for providing this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.