The Tutor's Daughter
Julie KlassenÃ¢ÂÂs The Tutors Daughter is set in Cornwell England in 1812. There we are taken on a journey through an English manor, a forbidden romance, and forbidden north wing which hold a household mystery.
When John Smallwood accepts a job tutoring the younger sonÃ¢ÂÂs on Giles Weston, he takes along his daughter, Emma as his teaching assistant. But they soon find that what seems to be an ideal job turns into anything but.
There were a wide variety of characters and a number of them that I thought were well done, among them Emma, Henry, and Lizzy, but there were a several that also didnÃ¢ÂÂt quite measure up, John Smallwood, Sir Giles Weston, and Phillip Weston.
Emma Smallwood I really liked her. She was great combination of spunky and daring, but she is also compassionate and intelligent. She doesnÃ¢ÂÂt act impulsively, she thinks things through before she acts. The one thing that really didnÃ¢ÂÂt seem in character for her, when she thought that someone was sneaking into her room at night to watch her sleep and she didnÃ¢ÂÂt say anything to her father for fear of worrying him. Given their close relationship and the fact that he is her father, I would have thought that he would have been the one person that she would have confided in, instead she tells Henry, who she wasnÃ¢ÂÂt all that confident of. This was not a major item by any means, just an observation.
Henry Weston was you typical gothic hero. Strong, mysterious, yet willing to put his heart on the line when the time is right. I have to admit, when we first hear about him, I didnÃ¢ÂÂt like him at all. But once the story started to unfold within Weston Manor, and we got to see the real Henry, the one who could let his guard down with those that he really tursted, that is when I really thought he began to shine. He was always careful with Emma, always protective of her, willing to sacrifice for her, I mean whatÃ¢ÂÂs not to like?!
Lizzie was the most carefully crafted character of them all. When all was revealed, her part and why she did what she did, was marvelous! As a reader who loves mysteries, itÃ¢ÂÂs always a thrill for me when the author can give me a twist plot I never have seen coming.
This is a bigger book, over 400 pages so the reader definitely gets their monies worth.
I thought the author did a brilliant job of combining the Jane Austin style with a creepy gothic feel as well as giving us several different viewpoints about people view on autism at this time.
November 5, 2013
This is the first book I have read by author Julie Klassen. I would have to say, I did enjoy reading this book, however, I felt there was a lack of connectivity. There was difficulty connecting to the characters and the fluidity of the plot was disjointed. The first half of the book was long and drawn out, then at the half-way point there was a plot twist that was more "random" than an "intriguing surprise." Then, towards the end, the romance and climax escalated rapidly in an awkward manner leaving several loose ends.
I liked the author's writing style, the descriptions, and the history. However, I was sad about how un-relatable the characters were. Emma was, for the majority of the story, a very "boring" character. Prim and proper, and up until the end, she showed little backbone when situations were escalating to dangerous.
Overall, this was a pleasant read. I enjoyed reading this book while on my lunch break at work. I would read more by Julie Klassen so this wasn't an utter disappointment. I guess to sum this review up, I would have liked to have seen more connectivity from beginning to end. I would have liked to see more consistency in the character's actions and behaviors and would have liked the plot to have been more fluid. (Plot twists are fine, just make sure they connect). Mainly, I would liked to have felt some connection with the characters, and that was not achieved in this book.
The Biblical theme was well incorporated into the story and I think that this was the saving piece to this book. Emma did undergo a change of heart throughout the pages that brings her back to a relationship with God.
I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
June 18, 2013
BEAUTIFUL DETAIL, LOTS OF SUSPENSE!
I loved, loved, loved this book! ThatÃ¢ÂÂs one of the things I really like about historical fiction, you always learn something new! I knew very little about English boarding schools run by families in their home during the 1800Ã¢ÂÂs. The authorÃ¢ÂÂs wonderful detail of day to day life and what education was like during that time was fascinating.
Emma Smallwood helped her father run one such boarding school, Smallwood Academy, for young boys during this time. The death of her mother sent her father in to depression. As he lost all interest in teaching and acquiring new students, Emma became very concerned about how not only how they would support themselves but that they could also possibly lose everything. She remembered the Weston family who had five years earlier enrolled their two sons, Henry and Phillip in her fatherÃ¢ÂÂs school. Using her fatherÃ¢ÂÂs name, she contacts Mr. Giles Weston concerning the opportunity to teach his younger sons Rowan and Julian. Mr. Weston sends a requesting the come to his estate, Ebbington Manor, and teach they boys. She wasnÃ¢ÂÂt expecting to leave their home and was even more surprised when her father is excited by the prospect and accepts the offer!
Henry and Philip Weston, their former students have grown in to handsome men. Emma is stuck in the past by still viewing them as they were when they boarded with them as young boys and she a young girl. Henry was a prankster and always tormenting her. Phillip had shown kindness and that gave her a soft spot for him. Up on arrival Emma finds the manor intimidating and isolated as sits high on a cliff overlooking the windy coast. Not long after they settle in, things that can only be described as supernatural and very disturbing begin to occur. Some speak of the Manor being haunted, something Emma definitely does not believe in, but how can these things be explained? At first she thinks Henry is up to his old tricks. When she realizes he isnÃ¢ÂÂt she wonders, how then can these things be explained? Emma shows great courage in seeking answers and makes startling discoveries of family secrets, even to the point of pointing herself in danger. To complicate matters and much against her will she finds herself drawn to one of older sons.
Emma is also comes face to face with her rejection of God since her motherÃ¢ÂÂs death. Many of her experiences and the straightforward faith of all people, Henry Weston, help her realize she cannot live her life apart from the Lord.
Ms. KlassenÃ¢ÂÂs writing was so very descriptive that it was as if I was walking through the halls and grounds of the Manor with Emma. The anticipation at times in almost unbearable! Nothing is as it seems and the surprises are totally unexpected. That is why I kept reading and reading when I should have gone to bed!
Fiction, history, romance, mystery, and suspense, what more could you ask from a book. This one has it all. You will definitely want to read The Tutor's Daughter!
I received this book free from Bethany House Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
May 16, 2013
"The best regency book I've ever read!"
After reading this book I couldn't "get into" anything else for days! The Tutor's Daughter was just that good, it haunted me for days. I loved everything about it, there wasn't a thing that I didn't like about it! I don't read much regency era novels, but when I read this one it skyrocketed to the top of my favorites list, and I will definitely be re-reading it!
Emma and Henry's characters had such depth, and realness to them, and their relationship grew naturally and beautifully. There were mysteries and secrets, against a breath-taking setting, that Ms. Klassen brought to life magnificently, I couldn't help but fall in love with this book and it's characters!
Overall, this book had a wonderfull Jane Eyre feel to it, with mystery, romance, intrigue, and so many intricate threads that kept me guessing until the end! A new favorite for me, that I highly recommend!
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!!
May 6, 2013