Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?
The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems–and secrets–of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.
When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor’s daughter figure out which brother to blame…and which brother to trust with her heart?
Oh, kick-start my heart… Klassen never disappoints. This book reminded me of why I fell in love with inspirational historical fiction to start. Complex characters, interwoven subplots, legends of ghosts and real-life conflicts that jump off the page.
This book is targeted to fans of Downton Abbey and I wish the producers of Downton would bring on Klassen for a consult — she could school them on how to write an engaging story full of drama and romance.
Klassen also skillfully weaves in a thread of faith that proved a timely reminder for me. Even if we don’t hear Him, God is speaking to us every day, in such simple things as a beautiful flower.
This book was a true escape into another time. I’d fallen in love with Emma by page one and every other character by the final chapter.
This is a novel of fine writing and masterful storytelling. Downton fans, historical fiction fans – everyone should read this book. And for that matter, every other Julie Klassen book. You will not be disappointed.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.