Review: Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

What a delightful and mysterious story this was! The author did a wonderful job of creating an interesting and gothic setting, filled it with main and side characters who had captivating back stories that were revealed slowly throughout the tale, and mixed them all together in the wake of the murder of a famous author. I had many theories as I read the book and the author definitely kept me guessing until the final reveal.

I loved the complicated back story that Rebecca and Sir Frederick had. Poor Rebecca had her heart broken as a young woman when Frederick, nearly ten years her senior, fell in love with a woman closer to his age who was beautiful and wealthy. However, the ensuing years of his marriage were not happy ones. I really felt for both of these characters. Frederick was a good man who had some very heartbreaking things that happened during his marriage. And Rebecca never got over her young love for him, even after she left the area and traveled as a companion. I so enjoyed watching their reunion and the way they fell back into a friendship that was finally able to develop into something more.

This was a wonderfully complex mystery, full of just enough shadows and complexities from the various characters’ pasts to keep the reader engrossed until the very end. I enjoyed this novel so much and was not ready to turn the last page!

(5 stars)

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.


Agatha Christie meets Jane Austenin this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother’s desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.

The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey’s cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past–including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick–magistrate, widower, and former neighbor–who long ago broke her heart.

When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something. . . .



Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. Her books have sold over a million copies, and she is a three-time recipient of the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award and has been a finalist in the RITA and Carol Awards. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.


About Brittany

As a homeschooling mom and avid reader, I get great joy through reading and reviewing books. I focus my reading and my reviews on Christian fiction, primarily Christian romantic fiction. I also review sweet, clean fiction. I hope you will find my reviews helpful in your decisions on what books to read.
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