I enjoyed this book. Although all of the books I have read by Julie Klassen have been good, this has to be one of my two favorites. The characters are believable and it was great to read a book about people looking for God's plan in their lives and the power of love and forgiveness. If you start this book, you won't understand why I love it unless you read it all the way through. I hope you enjoy it a much as I did.
I read this book in an evening, so obviously it kept my interest. I've read quite a few of Julie Klassen's books, and this was probably one of the better ones.
This story was about love, forgiveness and finding beauty through hardships. I was certainly intrigued by the main characters, but I think it was all the secondary characters that really brought the story to life.
All in all, it was worth spending my evening on, but I don't think I'll ever read it again. I would recommend it to fans of Julie's and those who enjoy a "Jane Austen era" novel.
"The Girl in the Gatehouse" is a Christian historical romance set in 1813 in England. This novel was a Regency romance, but it came from a slightly different viewpoint than the usual respectable heroes and heroines. The manners and propriety were there, but there were also a few stolen, private kisses. And the heroine is a girl who was tempted and mislead into "giving in" to the man she thought intended to marry her. Now she's now having to deal with the resulting disgrace.
The characters were engaging, varied, and acted in realistic ways. I liked how the ex-naval officers got bored with living like gentlemen and wanted more action. The main suspense was from relationship tensions, uncovering various secrets, and wondering if Mariah's books would do well enough to pay the rent. The end got a little complicated with the number of secrets exposed and righted. But it's a happily-ever-after sort of story even if there were some sad parts for Mariah before getting there.
The Christian element was about forgiveness. Mariah felt unworthy of God (so she didn't go to church) and unworthy of being loved. Bryant was kind toward Mariah and wanted to somehow remove the scandal attached to her name, but when he realized he loved her and that her past would affect him personally, it was a little harder. It was a natural issue for them to struggle with.
There were no graphic sex scenes and no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel.
The year is 1813 and early autumn. Mariah Aubrey and her former nanny Miss Dixon have said a tearful but swift goodbye to her parents and younger sister Julia. By carriage they travel for 2 days until they reach sheep country and then a village named Whitmore. Just outside of town lies the 17th Century English manor house named Windrush Court. Aubrey's aunt Fran, or as she is called now Mrs. Prin-Hallsey, has given permission for Aubrey and Miss Dixon to "take refuge" in the gatehouse. The gatehouse is small, dusty, and in "disrepair." The house is "built of Cotswold stone and has twin turreted towers." It takes much polish and scrubbing to make the house a home to be lived in. With the gatehouse comes a much needed mouser named Chaucer. Across the road from the gatehouse is the derelict poorhouse. It is an ominous and grim building. Mariah is a young woman in her early 20's. She has been forced to leave home because of something she was involved in that has now tarnished her reputation. Throughout most of the book the reader is only given hints at what had happened to Mariah. Meanwhile Naval Captain Matthew Bryant becomes the new renter of the manor house. He and Mariah become friends, yet each of them have a past they are trying to reconcile with.
I read this book immediately after finishing The Maid of Fairbourne Hall also by Julie Klassen. Both of these books I enjoyed reading immensely!
Mariah is a character with a different story than most of the characters I've read with a similar background or environment. It is true she was raised in a wealthy home with household staff that cared for her every need. But, she rises to her situation in learning those things she'd not been taught before, because she had been a "lady." I admired her resilience facing an unknown future with a well-known disreputable reputation.
The culture of Mariah's era was that a young woman had to maintain her reputation in order to marry well. There were no other options for a woman, you married and had children. A woman was provided for by her father and then by her husband. It really was a man's world. In Mariah's character and story I could better understand a young womans lack of choice and predicament.
I love England, all things England. I loved the description of the gatehouse and the manor house. I loved reading any bit of information about the countryside.
When I was first introduced to Mrs. Prin-Hallsey I did not like her repugnant attitude at all. Although as the story progressed I grew to like the mystery behind the "twinkle in her eye."
The Girl in the Gatehouse is less about Christian " fill-in words" and more about love and forgiveness displayed in action. I loved this point most of all. We are all fallen people in need of redemption, none of us are without fault--without sin. Mariah, like all of us needs the response from the Christian community of love and forgiveness.
Thank you to Bethany House and An Open Book for my free review copy in exchange for an honest review.