Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Julie Klassen unlocks a tale of treasures in The Secret of Pembrooke Park

For fans of Jane Austen, finding modern day works with a Regency era setting is often a dubious selection at best but when the right sense of style and substance comes their way, much rejoicing is to be had.

Such merriment comes from Julie Klassen's The Secret of Pembrooke Park, in which it's heroine has many of the key ingredients for an Austen leading lady. Abigail Foster is the older sister who, at the age of twenty four,  is seen to be dangerously close to spinsterhood.

Her keen mind is respected yet some of the family's financial troubles of late come from a recommendation of hers' that she fears her father may never forgive her for. Faced not only with the need to retrench but to be able to provide her younger and more flirtatious sister Louisa with a proper season for husband hunting, Abigail and her father wind up accepting an unusual offer.

According to the representative of an anonymous distant relation, the Fosters have a chance at relocating to the estate of Pembrooke Park, which has not been occupied for many years, on very good terms. The house has been shut down and guarded against intruders, due to rumors about a possible murder as well as a hidden room of treasures awaiting to be claimed. Despite this strange arrangement, Abigail and her father feel they have no other better choice than to reopen the house and see what lies ahead for their future:



Upon their arrival, the house is indeed in shambles both inside and out. For some time, Abigail is left alone to sort out the mess and not before long, is able to arrange a very suitable household.

In addition to setting up home and heath, she makes friends with the Chapman family, whose gruff father Mac is the local land agent and his son William the new curate of the parish. While bonding with the Chapmans, who also have an elder daughter Leah who is sweet and loving yet fearful of letting certain secrets slip out, Abigail begins to find herself able to appreciate life again.

She had been somewhat heartbroken when Gilbert, a childhood companion learning to be an architect, appeared to have eyes more for her sister than her. However, in spending time with William Chapman, Abigail wonders if there is a chance of something more than friendship between them:


Yet, the mysteries surrounding the previous Pembrooke family residents, as well as the location of the hidden room, can not be ignored for long.

Some of that curiosity is stirred up by the arrival of an unexpected guest, Miles Pembrooke. A surviving son of the prior tenants, Miles claims not to want to dismiss the Fosters from the house, rather simply stopped by to renew his former memories of the place. His stay becomes extended, as his ingratiating manners and supposedly eagerness to connect with his relations sounds acceptable.

 However, the Chapmans suspect his true motives and not before long, Abigail notices his keen interest in searching about the house for that special room of wonders:



As Abigail and William team up to solve the numerous mysteries about them, can they discover the true mystery of their real feelings towards each other? Will finding that hidden room make their lives better or worse than they imagine?

There are plenty of questions but the pace of Klassen's writing allows you to reach the answers in good enough time. She develops her characters and situations with a solid amount of depth and flair that keeps you turning the pages in a thoughtful yet thrilling manner.

 Abigail, in particular, is an engaging heroine as her intelligence is well prized by at least two of her suitors(yes, Gilbert comes back into the picture) and her perceptions of who she meets along the way are not set in stone. In addition, certain characters who may seem to be easily set templates turn out to be more complex than one would imagine. All in all, this book is a marvelous adventure to behold.

This is the first time that I've read any of Julie Klassen, thanks to being part of the blog tour for this delightful book, and you can check here to find out how to win one of the lovely prizes being given away by the end of this tour. My thanks to Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose for inviting me to this party and to Julie Klassen, whose other works I will be reading in the near future.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park offers a lively heroine as charming as Lizzie Bennet and as clever and honorable as Anne Eliot or Elinor Dashwood. Yet, Abigail Foster is her own woman in her own right and one well worth the knowing, by readers and literary admirers alike. I hope that many of both will endeavor to make her acquaintance soon:



46 comments:

Kate said...

Thanks for the review. I love Julie's books!!!

Neha Patel said...

I'm so excited about the blog tour! Julie Klassen is one of my all-time favorites!

Mackenzie Carol said...

I am so excited to read Julie Klassen's new book!!! Thanks for sharing!

Amada Chavez said...

Love this book and Abigail is an awesome character! :)

~Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a)
Acts 16:31, John 3:16, Romans 3:23

Caryl Kane said...

So excited for the release of The Secret of Pembrooke Park. I can't wait to read it. :)

Christy Walker said...

I can't wait to read all the books that Julie Klassen has written... They all look so good!!!

Julie Klassen said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful review. I love all the film clips! Some are favorites of mine, plus I've not seen that version of Persuasion. I'm going to make a point to watch it soon. Thanks again!

Susan Heim said...

This sounds like such a wonderful book. I loved the other books by Julie Klassen that I've read, and can't wait to read this one.

amh1207 said...

The blog tour is a lot of fun and I am enjoying everything that I am reading.
~Amanda

Carrie Scharf said...

Thank you for the review. It soundss terrific!

Trixi said...

Thank you for hosting Julie on your blog today! She's my all time favorite author & I've read several of her books. Can't wait to read all the new ones & the ones I've missed! Great video clips, really enjoyed watching them. Thanks for the chance to win a great prize package!

Felicia said...

Thanks for the review. I like how you added the clips and photos of the movies!

Felicia said...

Thanks for the review, I look forward to reading this. I like how you added the film clips and photos!!

Rick Estep said...

This would make an excellent addition to our church library. librarybooks at religious dot com

LeAnne said...

I love books that are by Julie Klassen!

Sydney Anderson said...

Love eveything Jane Austen. Love everything Julie Klassen. Love how there are movie clips.

Sydney Anderson said...

Love everything Jane Austen!! Love everything Julie Klassen!! :D

Pam said...

Every review I read of The Secret of Pembrooke Park confirms that this is a "must read" for me. I love Julie's books.

tammy cordery said...

I love that you named her Abigail. If I had another daughter I would have named her that. Sounds like a great book.

Julianna Rowe said...

Thank you for the review! I just love that you included film clips and photos!! I have seen all of those movies too. This is one book that I cannot wait to read! - Juli
emeraldelena@hotmail.com

The Allen Family said...

Oh I love all of Julie's books!! Can't wait to read this one too!!
Dezi A
sethdezAThotmailDOTcom

Thinkin' Out Loud said...

Loved all the clips of movies on this post. I remembered each and every one of them.

Thinkin' Out Loud said...

Thanks for all the movie clips in this post. It made me remember all the shows I want to watch again.

Kym Thorpe said...

I'm having a lovely time on this blog tour, and am so looking forward to reading this book!

lpeps said...

I'm a HUGE fan of Julie's books! I've read almost every single one and can't wait for her new novel to come in the summer!

Lindsey Parker said...

Julie is one of my all time favorites!

atransparentmom said...

Comments weren't working when I tried yesterday! Thankfully, they are now (: Loving that blog tour. Fun to see all the different blog pages and their take on the book!

Andrea Cox said...

I'm glad you enjoyed The Secret of Pembrooke Park. Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors, and I've enjoyed collecting and reading her books. She's got two more coming out later this year, and I can hardly wait!

Blessings
Andrea
Proofreader/Editor/Writer
andrearenee2004@yahoo.com
writingtoinspire.blogspot.com

Heidi Robbins said...

I thought this was the best of her books! Loved it!

BSW said...

Loved the book!

aerykah said...

Julie Klassen is such a great author-- I love her books!! :)

Fallon said...

I love the post! The comments were great :)

Sasha Elizabeth said...

Awesome review! I would love to read it!

Sasha Elizabeth said...

Awesome review! I would love to read it!

Jennifer said...

Great review! I am enjoying all the different reviews of Klassen's books !

Shirley Strait said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for being part of this book tour. Julie is an amazing author.

alysasawyer said...

Love this book! I have added Northanger Abby to my reading list!

Sparks of Ember said...

The intrigue in this one just sounds too interesting!

Kalona Elaine said...

I love Julie's books and really want to read this latest one too :)

apple blossom said...

love Julie's books and I so love this book cover.

Kristin said...

I love Julie Klassen's books and look forward to reading this one! :)

eliza elliott said...

Always a fan of Julie's books - can't wait to read it! truckredford(at)gmail(dot)com

Christine A. said...

Great review. I have enjoyed a few of Julie's books and look forward to reading this newest one.

marcia vasquez said...

Loving your blog tour, its great learning about blogs I've never sen before.

Nicole Seay said...

Can't wait to read this!

Infuse said...

Anticipating more great JK reads and definitely appreciate your excellent post with video creativity!