Review: The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
|Image via Julie's website|
Abigail Foster is a practical girl. She is also rather plain, particularly when compared to her younger sister, Louisa. Even Abigail's best friend, Gilbert, the man she secretly thought she'd marry, is ensnared by Louisa's beauty. That being the case, Abigail accepts the fact that she will likely never marry, especially now that her family is facing financial ruin and she sacrificed her dowry to pay for Louisa's season. Abigail's family can no longer afford their stylish London townhome so she takes it upon herself to help find an affordable place for them (she feels guilty about the financial loss because her father made an investment based on her recommendation). They receive an offer they can't refuse: a twelve-month lease of Pembrooke Park on ridiculously generous terms, including a staff of five servants. No one had lived in the manor for twenty years. Abigail and her father enter the manor to find it had truly been abandoned. Everything was left as the family left in a hurry. If it weren't for the dust, cobwebs, and crusted teacups, you would've thought the family just stepped out for a minute.
Don't let the title fool you; Pembrooke Park holds more than one secret. Why was it abandoned? Where is the Pembrooke family now? Who is the mysterious executor of the estate and why are they letting the Foster family live there? Who keeps sending Abigail anonymous letters? And is there really a secret room filled with treasure? You get the feeling that everyone knows something that you, and Abigail, do not. Klassen does an excellent job of peppering clues throughout the novel.
Oh my lovely booknerds, I don't even know how to begin telling you how much I loved this book. First off, look at that gorgeous cover! I will admit that I often judge books by their covers (that's one of the ways I discover new authors). This cover screams "Read Me!!!" Actually, it's a regency novel and regency ladies know it isn't proper to yell so this cover truly says is, "My dear, I would be delighted if you would join me in the sitting room. I'll ring for tea." Is there anything better than a regency romance? I think not. This regency has both romance and mystery. What more could you ask for? I've been waiting for months for this book to come out and had to patiently wait to see if I got it for Christmas (which I did, thanks to my awesome brother!). This is Julie's longest book to date and by far her best. Considering how much I love The Silent Governess and The Girl in the Gatehouse, that is really saying something. It's one of those books where you tell yourself you're only going to read a chapter or two before bed (because you need to wake up early for silly adult things like going to work) and next thing you know it's four hours later and the only reason you put the book down is because your eyes refuse to stay open.
Obviously I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
P.S.- I know there isn't much detail about plot and I'm leaving out a ton of important characters but I just can't risk giving anything away. I just couldn't forgive myself if I spoiled the story for you.