The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen
ISBN: 9780764210693 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781441261090 (ebook)
ASIN: B00A4BQ4N2 (Kindle ebook)
Publication date: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
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?
Emma Smallwood is a good daughter and an excellent tutorial assistant. As her father's teaching academy winds down, she seeks gainful employment for him with the father of former students. Emma has mixed feelings about traveling to Cornwall and the home of the Westons as Philip was a dear friend but his older brother, Henry, was a constant source of torment. Unfortunately the Smallwoods arrival at Ebbington Manor isn't all they had hoped. Although arrangements are quickly made for them, Emma and Mr. Smallwood are quickly put in their place by Lady Weston, who insists that they dine with the family steward. If that isn’t bad enough, the youngest Weston brothers seem to mirror the elder brothers with one being kind, Rowan, and one being more cold and taunting, Julian.
Emma seems to be the victim of multiple pranks during her stay at Ebbington Manor, including hearing music in the night, having her personal journal/diary stolen, and seeing mysterious hand prints in her room. Rowan and Julian want her to believe that there is a ghost in the manor, but Emma's common sense prevails and she investigates. She quickly learns that the music is being played by a lost brother, Adam. She also learns that all is not what it appears at Ebbington Manor. Her friendship with Philip seems to wan as she gets to know him better as an adult and she is pleasantly surprised by the faith and friendship afforded her by her childhood nemesis, Henry.
Ms. Klassen has provided a wonderful gothic romance with The Tutor's Daughter. Emma is an educated young woman in an age where excess education of gentle women is frowned upon by society. She is constantly mocked for being a "bluestocking" because of her desire to read and learn. In many ways The Tutor's Daughter is a coming-of-age story where Emma learns that you can't judge based on appearances (shades of Pride & Prejudice). Although Emma, and indeed all of the Westons and Smallwoods, attends church on a regular basis, Emma appears to do so out of societal custom rather than true belief. Her faith is greatly enhanced after a conversation with Henry Weston and a near-death experience. The Tutor's Daughter is a well-crafted historical fiction read but one that didn't keep my attention until the latter portion of the book. I ascribe this more to migrainus-interruptus than anything else. If you enjoy gothic romances, clean historical romances or a combination of both, then I highly recommend The Tutor's Daughter.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated 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."
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