It's the Regency era in England, and English propriety and repression are the social norms of the day. In The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen, Mariah Aubrey has been sent away from her family and her role in the local social circles. Why? Because of whispered scandals and gossip surrounding her. Mariah's father has decided that her "improper" influence may be too much on her younger sister, and he believes her continued presence with the family may be seen as condoning her actions. In the aftermath of this scandalous event, Mariah is sent to live in her Aunt's gatehouse several miles away, with her only companion being the Nanny she grew up with.
When her Aunt's home is let by the Captain Matthew Bryant of the British Royal Navy, it appears as though Mariah may find another friend after all. Captain Bryant is intrigued by the girl in the gatehouse, and marvels at her seemingly self-imposed exile. Bryant and Mariah form a friendship that Mariah can only pray is not hindered by whispers of her past. Her only outlet of emotions, and her only way of dealing with her past, is through her novel writing, which is seen as one of the most improper practices for a lady in Regency England. Determined to live life as a woman of propriety, while keeping her many secrets to herself, Mariah struggles to find happiness in her new life. When events unfold that may reveal the truth about her past and her novel writing, will the bonds she's formed with those around her hold strong, or will those she care about turn her away again, in attempts to save face and keep hold of their own good reputations?
There is one word I can think of to describe this book - absorbing. I became engrossed in Mariah's new life as an exile away from her family, and her gentleness and kindness in the face of such painful events encouraged me greatly. Julie Klassen, the author, has clearly researched the Regency period of England well, as she makes the reader feel like they are living right alongside Mariah in the pages of this book. I enjoyed seeing how Mariah interacted with the few people she becomes acquainted with after she arrives at the gatehouse. And, yes, the most interesting acquaintance is the one between Mariah and Captain Bryant - the scenes involving these two often left me short of breath! The greatest part about this book, though, is the redemption that occurs with more than one character. I love to see characters who see their faults - and their fall - for what they truly are, and strive to make themselves better as a result. This allows me to connect in a great way with the characters since I can relate to them so well. Klassen does an incredible job of making the characters and events believable - and relatable, especially considering the historical setting. I highly recommend reading this book - you will not regret it, and I think you will even learn a bit about yourself while reading this book!
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Bethany House (January 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0764207083
- ISBN-13: 978-0764207082
Legal Necessities: I received this book for free from the publisher.
Enter below to win my review copy of The Girl in the Gatehouse. This giveaway will run from today 1/29/2011 to 2/13/2011 at 11:59 pm EDT.