Wednesday, November 26, 2014
The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
Regency romance with murder, mystery and hidden treasure!
Abigail is the trusted, sensible daughter, Louisa the pretty beguiling one. Members of the privileged, they live in 1817 London. That is until Abigail's recommendation that her father invest in her Uncle's bank - which failed. Knowing that they will have to find another place to live within their reduced means, they receive an invitation from the solicitor on her father's side of the family to come and live at Pembrooke Park - which has been closed up for about 18 years. Since they have found little else that suits them, Abigail and her father go to take a look. They find it will be a grand manor - when cleaned up - and learn that there is also a mystery about the place. Stories of a hidden treasure in a secret, hidden room within the house. Perhaps a chance to rebuild some of their financial loss. As it is their best option, Abigail moves in and prepares the house for her family. It's surely her imagination what sounds like ghosts or someone creeping around at night throughout the nearly empty house.
William is the handsome parson of the Pembrooke Park church. His father, Mac, had served the previous owner of the manor and now is the parish clerk as well as land agent for nearby Hunts Hall. William's sister Leah is beautiful, but elusive. As much as Abigail could use a friend, Leah is polite but somewhat reclusive and keeps her distance. William is drawn to Abigail, but knows he doesn't have a chance with her.
There is so much to learn about Pembrooke manor and the people who lived there before. Their history is entwined with the area - from servants to nobility. Including an old friend of Abigail's whom she thought she would marry but now seems more interested in her sister. There are new neighbors who are a part of London's society and familiar with them all. Add a mysterious Pembrooke cousin who used to live at the manor who shows up just after it has been restored and manages to become their guest. And then there are the unsigned letters sent only to Abigail with brief insights as to what had once happened there.
There are balls, intricate romances, feelings of unworthiness, old secrets and a mysterious hooded stranger roaming about. There's a race to discover the treasure and old wounds uncovered. And lots of danger lurking just about everywhere. This is a long read, and difficult to put down. It's also full of faithful lessons and the truth of where our treasures lie. If you're not already a fan of Julie Klassen, you will be after reading this!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Baker Publishing Group, Bethany - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”.