Sunday, April 14, 2013

Review: The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

The Tutor's Daughter
by Julie Klassen
Release Date: January 1st, 2013
2013 Bethany House
Ebook Edition; 412 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-764-21069-3
Genre: Fiction / Historical
Source: Review copy from publisher

4.5 / 5 Stars

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?

My Thoughts
The Tutor's Daughter is another delightful novel by Julie Klassen, an author whose novels I absolutely adore.  With a wonderful combination of suspense, romance, and intrigue, this novel kept me up late reading into the night as I had a difficult time putting it down.  As with most of her novels, the intrigue built up slowly, but definitely has a way of gripping you with complex and intriguing characters, and as the action picks up, it is certainly difficult to put down.  

One of the things I've always rather enjoyed about Ms. Klassen's novels is that they are clean fun, but intriguing nonetheless.  I've always thought this author was rather good at giving the reader exactly what they want, a novel that has a mixture of romance, a touch of menace, with a cast full of characters who are hiding something, and this is what I have always found interesting.  While at first I was worried that the plot would turn into a 'ghost' story, I needn't have worried as what happened was delightful, even if I figured it out before it happened.  One of the themes running through the novel was the difference between the upper class and the servant class, and the differences were often made abundantly clear in a variety of scenes as Emma and her father were quite often put in their place.  It was quite clear that the author wished to demonstrate how the upper classes treated the lower classes during this time period, and I thought this novel certainly highly those differences quite well.  I often felt bad for Emma on numerous occasions as well as Henry as he was often reminded of the way he was supposed to act towards her.  

The wilds of Cornwall was a perfect setting for this story and I enjoyed the many descriptions of the both the environment as well as the history.  In fact, I wish more discussion of the shipwrecks has been made as I find that to be quite fascinating and would have liked to have learned more.  The dark and wild weather that was constantly surrounding the characters sort of suited the story and I love settings like that.  

The Tutor's Daughter is another one those Klassen novels that I felt was quite well done and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  While I did not enjoy quite as much as The Lady of Milkweed Manor, it was still a delightful romp, full of mystery and romance.  The only thing I find after having read all of her books, is I am finding them somewhat predictable in nature, and the twists and turns aren't quite there as much for me anymore as I am getting used to her writing style.  I also thought the first third of the books was a bit slow compared to the rest of the book.  Otherwise, if you are looking for a fun and enjoyable romance, with a bit of mystery thrown in, you will definitely not be disappointed in Ms. Klassen's newest novel, with her signature-style ending, one that is both satisfying and ties up all the loose ends.


  1. I liked but didn't love this book-I saw the Jane Austen and Jane Eyre connections and appreciated that Klassen put some twists on this or else I would have written it off as too predictable.

  2. I love her books too. I always know I will not only get a good but learn something too.

  3. This is on my TBR list. Having lived in Cornwall for many years, I'm always anxious to read anything set there.

  4. Excellent review. I'll have to track down her work, see what I think....