The Secret of Pembrooke Park, by Julie Klassen

book coverPublisher’s Summary:

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister. 

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until 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 acquainted with the manor’s past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail’s attention. Hoping to restore her family’s finances–and her dowry–Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn’t the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?

My Take:

In 1800, the manor house of Pembrooke Park mysteriously became empty. Those who knew what happened to its occupants were sworn to secrecy, and it’s a secret they’ve kept for 18 years. The matter of who now owns the property is tied up in legal knots. Abigail’s father is distantly related to the Pembrooke family, which is why he is offered the home on a temporary basis. Abigail must bring the house to a habitable state while her father tends to his financial affairs and her mother fusses over her younger sister’s ‘season.’ Is Abigail the oldest daughter or a glorified housekeeper? It’s no wonder she constantly feels inferior to her sister. Abigail has position and status at Pembrooke Park, although there are times when she strays dangerously beyond the boundaries of propriety and risks ruining not only her character but that of the local curate also.

Pembrooke Park is a Mary Celeste of a house and, at times, the novel is creepy. Why did the occupants leave in a hurry? What are the mysterious sounds that Abigail hears in the middle of the night? It’s known that at least one person was killed in the house. Is this a supernatural tale? There is a romantic element to the novel, but I didn’t care much for the love triangle or for Abigail’s constant notion that her sister, Louisa, will steal away every potential beau. Nor did I care for Louisa or some of the other characters. I enjoyed The Secret of Pembrooke Park for the mystery. It’s the intrigue that kept me reading late into the night. I had many questions, the majority of which were resolved by the end. There are moments where I felt some events and resolutions were slight unrealistic, as though they were merely there for convenience. Overall, however, this was a satisfying read and one in which I was able to get fully invested.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary electronic Advanced Reader Copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was required.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary electronic Advanced Reader Copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was required.

Read an excerpt from The Secret of Pembrooke Park

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 02 December 2014

Page Count: 464

Read more on:   Julie Klassen’s Website   Bethany House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

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