In general, I’m not a huge drama fan. I read for escape and I prefer those escapes to be happy. But…Julie Klassen is an exception to my do-drama rule. I love how Julie approaches some hard topics in her books that are mostly avoided in Christian Fiction. While this book doesn’t approach a “taboo” subject, Julie doesn’t shy away from the grit of real life. Here’s a summary:
Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her–a longtime friend–has fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, 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 to know something about the manor’s past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure.
Hoping to improve her family’s financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?
Oh, my gosh! This book is gripping! I listened to the audio version on a long car trip and there were definitely times that I was gripping the steering wheel. This novel is written in the style of the great gothic novels, but the story leaves you with a satisfying ending, unlike many gothic novels which are endlessly depressing. There are twists and turns, ups and downs, joy and heartbreak. All of the characters have to learn about forgiveness and redemption of both themselves and others.