The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll’s house left mid-play…
The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor’s past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.
This catches Abigail’s attention. Hoping to restore her family’s finances–and her dowry–Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn’t the only one secretly searching the house.
Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.
As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks … or very real danger?
I can’t even begin! Plotwise, this was definitely Julie Klassen’s best! I was constantly left spinning (though not too confused) by all the twists and turns in this great story! I couldn’t stop reading it and was miserable when it ended … though it definitely wrapped up nicely, leaving nothing to be wanted.
The romance was a little bit annoying. Throughout the book, the main character was confused by her childhood friend’s apparent lack of interest in her and by the mixed signals the handsome young curate is sending her. It wasn’t as aggravating as some love triangles, but it was still annoying.
I hate love triangles. Please don’t put them in your books! I’m begging you!
Honestly, throughout the book I was thinking, “Come on, Abigail! Get over the past! You and Gilbert used to have this great thing, but he’s over you and you totally need to get over him and marry William!”
He actually wasn’t over Abigail, though he certainly wasn’t making that clear for a while.
[End of Spoiler]
It was very suspenseful and (at times) almost scary (in a good way). I was actually kinda scared to go to the bathroom one night due to it. Walking through dark halls on a cold, rainy night was a little too much after reading about a similar night in the book.
(An overview of a few of my favorites! 🙂 )
Abigail (main character) was everything I love in a character: serious, practical, doesn’t do anything stupid that you’re begging her not to do. 🙂 I really liked her, related with her, wanted to make sure she accomplished all her goals.
William (curate, Abigail’s potential love interest) was a fun guy! I really liked him, though occasionally he (like everyone in this book …) seemed a little too cautious.
Gilbert (architect, Abigail’s childhood friend and potential love interest) was a wonderful guy, if a little obsessed with his work.
Kitty (William’s little sister) was definitely one of my favorite characters! An enthusiastic twelve-year-old, extraverted and oftentimes clueless to the rest of the world.
Leah (William’s older sister) … can you say “super-cautious”? This girl was not gonna let anyone get to know her for the longest time! Honestly, it was kinda hard to like Leah at first, but when I got to know her (and her wonderful, dramatic, miserably sad back story) I loved her.
Again, not a big fan of the Regency era in general, but it worked well in this book. I fell in love with Pembrooke Park … I need to go live there! 🙂 Actually, any English mansion would work.
Very good for the most part! A couple times there were confusing sentences.
~My favorite quote~
“Where had that thought come from? Abigail shook her head at the fanciful notion. Very unlike her usual pragmatic nature. It was time to organize the larder, or sort her belongings, or … something.” ~Chapter Eight, Page 122.
No swearing that I remember, no sexual content (all the further it got was a couple kisses), a little violence (though nothing graphic or anything). It was a little scary/adventurous at some points.
Young adult/adult. 🙂
~How to find out more about the author~
You can find the author at http://julieklassen.com/.