If you are a regency fiction fan, this is a book you need to read. I loved the feel of this story. It had hints of gothic, but not so much that it weighed the story down. I am not a huge fan of gothic fiction, so I was glad that it was not too heavy in this story. There is wonderful regency and so many secrets tied up in the large Pembrooke Park estate.
The author did a splendid job of truly immersing me in the time period and making the characters feel very real. My heart sighed for Abigail’s situation. It seemed that she always was pushed back to allow her beautiful sister to have the spotlight. I must confess that I did not like Louisa one bit! Time and again, Abigail showed that she had her heart in the right place, focused on God, in the way she dealt with her family members.
William is a great hero. A poor man of the cloth, he epitomizes the strong, God-focused man who would be a wonderful choice for Abigail. But, once again, others may get in the way of Abigail’s happiness. She lost the affection of Gilbert Scott to her sister. Will she also lose William’s attentions to her as well?
The secrets and mystery of this estate are handled so well in this story. The author hands out little tidbits here and there. I loved that I could not piece every single thing together until she was ready for me to understand the full picture. It really added to the book that the mystery remained alive until the end when everything came together.
The Secret of Pembrooke Park was a very enjoyable story and I definitely recommend it to readers of regency, gothic, and mystery. (5 stars)
My thanks to Bethany House Publishers who provided a complimentary copy of this book to me in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her–a longtime friend–has fallen for her younger, prettier sister.
When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, 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 to know something about the manor’s past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure.
Hoping to improve her family’s financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I worked in publishing for sixteen years (first in advertising, then as a fiction editor) and now write full time. Three of my books, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and The Girl in the Gatehouse also won a Midwest Book Award and The Silent Governess was a finalist in Romance Writers of America’s RITA awards.
I graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends. My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.