Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Bethany House 01 January 2013

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?

This is my first Julie Klassen book - well over due, I know!

Julie has created an intricate and intriguing tale, set in the rugged peninsula of Cornwall.  Emma Smallwood has accompanied her father to Ebbingford, where he is to tutor the youngest two sons of a Baronet.  They are former acquaintances of the elder two Weston sons, who attended their academy in their youth. Emma is orderly, capable and always in control. But she also shows herself to have a caring heart.

At first, we don't get much of an insight into Henry Weston, but throughout the novel we slowly get to know him, and by the end I realised I was madly in love with him. It was like how you'd expect to get to know someone in real life, and I thought this was brilliant.

The Tutor's Daughter is full of mystery and had me frowning and guessing my way throughout, trying to figure out who was who and what the secret of the Weston family was.  There's an air of suspense in this book too, and I found myself clinging for life along with the characters in one particular scene. 

I really enjoyed this book - particularly liking the English setting.  From what I see from this book, Julie is a master plot weaver, creating a rich and inviting novel that I couldn't put down.

Helen's favourite genre is historical fiction with a strong romantic element.  She also enjoys contemporary romance, chick-lit and YA.  She's not caught up in the spell of fantasy fiction, despite The Faraway Tree series being a strong influence in her childhood.

Helen is currently working on her first book, a Christian young adult novel set between two opposite but equally fascinating places in Australia.

8 comments:

  1. I've read a couple of Julie's books and she's great at keeping you guessing! I loved "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall", but it ended to quickly for me. Thanks for the review!

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    1. Hi Gwen! Hope all is well with you! I'll definitely look forward to more of Julie's books :)

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  2. I'm currently reading this book and really enjoying it. It's my first book to read by Julie but I don't think it will be the last. I want to find her previous books to read as well. I saw the trailer for The Tutor's Daughter, which was well done. However, I did not like Henry in the trailer. I'm liking him much better in the book. Emma is a very likeable heroine.

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    1. Hi Pam, I saw the trailer for The Tutor's Daughter too, and I have to admit, that sparked my interest and was a primary motivator in reading the book. I haven't seen the trailer since I read the book, I should look at it again and see if I like Henry in it :) Thanks for coming by!

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  3. Thanks for your review. I began reading this book a couple weeks ago and put it back on my TBR shelf after about 70 pages. The story line started off too slow and ordinary for my personal liking. However, I did not give up on the book altogether. I have read ALL of Julie Klassen's books and know that I appreciate some of her books more than others. Thanks for renewing my curiosity in this story line.

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    1. Hi Mary, I'm glad I could renew your curiosity on this book! I do have a friend who has read most of Julie's books and said that this particular one was good, but wasn't her favourite. I can't do a similar comparison, but I was happy with the ending, and Henry definitely grew on me!

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  4. I love Julie Klassen's books and this one is no different! Enjoyed reading your review! (and I'm sorry to do this here, but I could not find an email address to inquire whether you accept books from indy authors in exchange for an honest review...) :)

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    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting :)Glad you liked the review. We are not accepting book in exchange for reviews at this time. Thanks for the inquiry.
      Jess :)

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