It’s not too often I discover an author and fall so hard that I literally seek out every single book they’ve ever written and read each one. But that’s Julie Klassen for me. Most of her books are Amazing. Some are a little on the meh side, but I honestly enjoy reading them all! I definitely recommend this author if you dig England’s Regency era. She’s so hysterically knowledgeable, and the way she details her characters and scenes just makes her books so fun to read!
Julie Klassen is obviously a christian author, but she’s not at all “preachy” like Karen Kingsbury or Francine Rivers (not that there’s anything wrong with that…), so I totally feel like these books are for everyone and anyone.
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Lady Of Milkweed Manor just happens to be my favorite of all Julie Kassen’s books. It’s an especially emotional read if you’re pregnant and/or have a new baby. I mean really with the tears though, I was a bit ridiculous (to be fair I had a nursing infant at the time of reading it)!
Charlotte is the daughter of a wealthy vicar, but when she gets pregnant she’s basically thrown out of her home to live in a manor for such young women. It always bothers me a little bit to read about these kind of situations. Where men can do pretty much whatever they want, especially with women. Then the woman is left to deal with the consequences and the shame. But unfortunately that’s how it was (and still is sometimes). With this book though, I liked the characters and the story enough that I felt it was well done.
There are friendships and love stories, but the main love story is a complex one. And the ending YOU GUYS! It’s so emotional and unconventional but so good! One of my favorite endings ever. 5/5
I love how The Apothecary’s Daughter story line includes some more complex characters, such as a young lady with a fatal illness and a brother who has a sort of learning or mental disability. All solid and lovable characters. The book also addresses London’s society of the time, and how it affected women in particular.
Lilly is an apothecary’s daughter, and as such she has special skills and knowledge for medicine and treatments. However, this is considered lower class to her wealthy aunt and uncle, and they invite her to come live with them in prestigious London. Although she enjoys her time there, family troubles at home bring her back to the town she grew up in.
It feels like most of Julie Klassen’s protagonists are strong woman with good character, but this book does emphasize a female’s limitations when it comes to work and what’s acceptable for a woman to know and do. It must have been terribly disheartening to hear phrases like “If only you had been born a boy!” But at the same time, I think it took a certain type of strength to flourish during that particular era. 3.5/5
I confess, I thought I wouldn’t like The Silent Governess after reading the prologue. But then it does get interesting. It’s a bit more of a whodunit mystery, and a pretty good one.
Olivia Keene is a super smart girl, but sometimes smarts can get a girl into trouble. And now she’s thrust into a precarious situation with a dangerous secret and forced to flee her home. What’s worse, she unintentionally discovers Lord Bradley’s secret as well, so it’s interesting how they’re sort of at the mercy of each other. But there are links here that she wasn’t previously aware of, and it’s fun to read as all the pieces fall together. 4/5
The Girl in the Gatehouse is the first Julie Klassen novel I ever laid my oculars on, and it opened a whole new world of captivating stories for me.
I love this main character because she’s a writer. So that automatically makes her my bff. Mariah, outcasted because of a scandal, is sent to live at the gatehouse of a distant relative. But she bravely manages to find her way, and still gets a love story of her own. This is another book that tackles the issue of English women in the 1800s and their roles, and how sexism affected them. I find the topic maddening and fascinating at the same time!
I adored the details and the passionate storytelling. I’d never read anything like it before, which is exactly how I got hooked! 5/5
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is right in the middle for me. Definitely not my favorite, but still very good!
To avoid marrying a despicable and greedy man, Margaret runs away under the disguise of a maid. She needs to work and stay hidden until her birthday, when she’ll receive an enviable inheritance. The only problem is, she’s never worked a day in her life. And keeping her secret is a struggle when conniving and determined men are searching for her. To complicate matters, she ends up getting hired by former love interests.
I really empathized with this character and her plight, and I felt connected to her as she learns and grows and finds herself, along with her freedom. Though the end did drag on a bit, I still think the book deserves a 4/5.
The Tutor’s Daughter is a good book, but to me it isn’t especially memorable.
Emma travels with her widower father to Cornwall, as he’s taken a tutoring job there for a baronet’s four sons. Here (in this somewhat creepy house) she meets old acquaintances and new friends. Or are they? But I love how there’s emphasis on living life to the fullest, even when I comes to just tea cups. 🙂
What I really appreciate about this book, and all of Julie Klassen’s books, is the descriptive locations. She’s so talented in really taking you there with your own mind. And the history of the setting is so fleshed out that it just makes me want to go visit and see it for myself! 3.5/5
I would probably say The Dancing Master is my least favorite out of all the Julie Klassen novels. It’s a good book, just maybe not that great.
It’s about Alec, a dancing master. As a result of some unfortunate circumstances he moves his Mother and sister to a new town, only to discover that dancing had been banned a long time ago. But he meets Julia, the matriarch’s beautiful and flirtatious daughter, and slowly uncovers the truth about Devonshire’s secrets. But in Julie Kassen’s books, everyone has secrets, and they all come out eventually!
These characters are different, I give the author that much. I’m just not sure I like them as much as all her other many characters. Though maybe it’s refreshing to read about someone with a little more flaws. Aside from the plot being slightly stretched, it’s still a decent book. 3/5
FYI, The Secret of Pembrooke Park is long. But I liked it (of course).
Abigail is a lovely, if not practical young woman, though she’s not as alluring as her younger sister. When financial hardships threaten her family, they have an opportunity to move, and let an abandoned manor. But this home has secrets and mysteries, and there’s even some drama about a hidden treasure.
The love story is charming as always, but my favorite thing about this book is the character development. Especially the way Abigail finally learns her value and even sticks up for herself. 4/5
What’s intriguing about Lady Maybe is the mystery aspect of it, but it’s so different than all of the other mysteries in the way that it’s written. I don’t want to say too much about it because it really is an enjoyable book to read. I love the way the story and the characters develop and grow. It really made me think about some of the things that people do and their reasons for doing them. A bit heartbreaking at times, but overall a very lovely read. 5/5
The Painter’s Daughter is a story about a girl and two brothers. Sophie, being a painter’s daughter and loving art herself, falls in love with an artist, Wesley, who is visiting the area. However, he takes off very abruptly, leaving young Sophie pregnant and alone.
When Wesley’s brother Stephen comes looking for him, he finds Sophie and offers to marry her. So she won’t be disgraced, as it were.
She agrees to marry him out of necessity, and they return to his parent’s estate. As it happens, they actually end up falling in love. But secrets have a way of making themselves known, and old boyfriends have a way of reappearing, expecting the girl he left behind to be waiting for him. Everything unravels… but gets tied back up in a nice bow at the end.
P.S. An extra point for addressing the topic of slavery. 4/5.
Can we just take a minute to appreciate the fact that there’s actually a cat in this one? I love dogs as much as the next person, but cats have a special place in my heart, and in my opinion there aren’t enough authors that do them justice!
This is another one of Julie Klassen’s lengthier books, and to be honest I really didn’t mind. It’s a story about a widowed woman who’s late husband left an entire coaching inn business to her. It isn’t long before all kinds of struggles heap upon Jane, her mother in-law Thora, and other friends and citizens of Ivy Hill.
I feel like there are a lot of little things that happen, as the author really takes you through the process of trying to save a family business. If you like super dramatic, over the top thrilling stories, this book may not be for you. For me, it was a nice read to escape with for a bit at the end of the day.
Although I would say it definitely has a happy ending, there were still some loose ends that needed tying up. One of the romantic triangles DID get resolved, but all of the others were left dangling. But since this is a series, I trust the characters will continue to develop and achieve happy endings. 3.5/5
I’m just such a fan of Julia Klassen’s writing. In her books I always feel completely immersed in the regency era of England. She really knows her stuff, all the nuances and cultural quirks. I love it, I’ve literally read all of her books and *cue Ariel voice* I want more.
Coming soon! Squeal!