Award-winning author Julie Klassen is well-known for her inspirational Regency novels filled with entertaining dialogue, historical detail, family secrets, and a sweet romance. Klassen’s latest book, The Secret of Pembrooke Park, tells of the Foster family’s move to a deserted country manor, empty of occupants but filled with secrets.
In The Secret of Pembrooke Park, a solicitor offers the financially-strapped Fosters the use of Pembrooke Park for one year. They are startled to find it exactly the way it was left, as if the former occupants abandoned it abruptly. Although welcomed by the local curate and servants, they find that none will discuss the former occupants or why the manor has been unoccupied for eighteen years. The curate warns them about people claiming to be heirs to the estate, seeking a secret room supposedly filled with treasure.
Clues about the hidden room and past occupants are left for Abigail to unravel the mysteries surrounding the manor’s history. What happened to Pembrooke’s former occupants? Will she find the treasure she seeks? Who else is trying to find the treasure?
Klassen has written some amazing novels, and The Secret of Pembrooke Park counts as one of them. Although longer than her recent novels, the plot flows and twists, keeping this reader engaged until the final page. It is one of her better novels, with excellent plot and character development. Klassen gives a nod to her love of all things Austen by naming two characters “Lizzy” and “Jane.” The romance is clean, and the faith elements are well-integrated, not heavy-handed. Discussion questions are also included.
Recommended for public libraries as well as school libraries, and especially for fans of historical fiction, Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, and good mysteries!
Carol R. Gehringer