~ The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen ~
Miss Mariah Aubrey, banished after a scandal, hides herself away in a long-abandoned gatehouse on the far edge of a distant relative’s estate. There, she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how–by writing novels in secret.
Captain Matthew Bryant, returning to England successful and wealthy after the Napoleonic wars, leases an impressive estate from a cash-poor nobleman, determined to show the society beauty who once rejected him what a colossal mistake she made. When he discovers an old gatehouse on the property, he is immediately intrigued by its striking young inhabitant and sets out to uncover her identity, and her past. But the more he learns about her, the more he realizes he must distance himself. Falling in love with an outcast would ruin his well-laid plans.
The old gatehouse holds secrets of its own. Can Mariah and Captain Bryant uncover them before the cunning heir to the estate buries them forever?
~ Plot ~
Wow … that was a coincidence!
That basically sums up the whole plot of The Girl in the Gatehouse. It was perhaps a little too neatly knitted, which was annoying and predictable. I didn’t have to finish the book to know how it was going to turn out … but I did anyway.
Also, a lot of the circumstances in the book seemed to come from Jane Austen books, especially Mansfield Park and Persuasion. I almost wondered if she was impeaching copyright laws. 😉
On the other hand, I really enjoyed learning about writers/writing/publishing books during the Regency era. Very interesting. However, not interesting enough to save the story.
Definitely not one of Julie Klassen’s best plots.
~ Writing ~
Definitely not as good as some of her other novels. Immature and awkward. It feels like Julie Klassen didn’t take as much time with this book as she has with others in the past.
~ Characters ~
None of the characters seemed as defined as I would have liked. Is Mariah timid or free-spirited? Is Captain
Wentworth Bryant temperamental or kind?
Everyone in this book seemed to be a mess of over-reactions and same-ness. I couldn’t really like anyone.
It’s annoying how the main characters are always dull while if there is an interesting character, he/she is a minor character of the villain.
The villain was the only well-developed character, and he was hateful … and not even in a good way!
~ Content ~
The main character is a “fallen” woman who was seduced by the man she “loved.” That happened a while ago, but we get the benefit of having Mariah write a story about it so we get a good idea what happened. Not at all detailed, though. Also, some suggestive-ish stuff and a couple kisses.
I don’t believe there was any swearing.
Fist fights and a sword fight, if my memory serves.
I’d give it “PG,” leaning towards “PG-13,” but not too heavily.
~ Overall rating ~
I’ve been going between two and three stars … and finally settled on two. This book was a big disappointment, especially since Julie Klassen has said it was her “favorite” of all the books she’s written.
~ About the Author ~
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Midwest Book Award, the Minnesota Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award, and been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.