Friday, March 22, 2013

Review ~ The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen

My Review 

~4 out of 5 stars~

Emma Smallwood accompanies her father, former owner and headmaster of Smallwood Academy, to Ebbington Manor to privately tutor the two younger sons of Sir Giles Weston. The two elder sons, Henry and Phillip, had attended and received their tutelage from Mr Smallwood but since then the boarding school has gone asunder.

In this almost gothic-like novel, there is ample distress and mystery surrounding Ebbington Manor. The mood is weighty and dark much of the time. While the characters are likeable for the most part, it takes some adjusting to the time period to understand consequences to certain actions. The two young sons are teenagers and their behavior is quite bizarre at times. Aristocratic families certainly had a different way of dealing with their wayward young. What may seem too lenient to me today, was most likely considered appropriate action back then.

I thought Emma could have been a more dynamic character although she is the epitome of a well bred lady so perhaps she is portrayed just as she should be. From early on, though, I couldn't see what she saw in Phillip. He appeared too soft to me. I was routing for Henry the whole time. Was I disappointed? I'm not telling.

This book is teeming with intrigue and mystery. Strange cries and piano playing in the middle of the night, mysterious notes appear in Emma's room while she's sleeping, and so much more! When it seems so obvious who the villain is, the story line switches to focus on someone else and you are left hanging....and wondering....and plotting. Who is the villain?! I believe it almost drove me crazy that I couldn't be sure. I usually figure these things out by the half way point but I was absolutely in the dark until the very end and completely taken by surprise with who the villain turned out to be.

It's an enjoyable read but not my favorite of Julie's books. I was expecting more of an Austenesque type story and less Bronte. Maybe a bit more romance too. I still recommend it for fans of Historical Fiction because it kept me turning the pages to answer that one question: Who is the villain?

Bethany House provided a copy for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, just my opinion of the book, which I have done. 

Do you read Historical Fiction? If so, who is your favorite author, past or present?


  1. Great review and I really liked the bonus "preview".

  2. I'm intrigued! Will have to add this to my list.


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