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The Secret of Pembrooke Park

Julie Klassen
The Secret of Pembrooke Park
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Abigail Foster fears she will end up alone, 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 ... Read More

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Abigail Foster fears she will end up alone, 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...

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Product Details:
Page Count: 464
Released: 12/2014
  • Product type: Book
  • Format: Softcover
  • Release Date: Nov 4, 2014
  • UPC: 9780764210716
  • Volumes/Discs: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Publish Date: Dec 2, 2014
  • Language: English
  • Audience Age Maximum: 0
  • Audience Age Minimum: 0
  • BISAC: "FIC042030"
  • ISBN: 0764210718

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Recommended by PennyMindingMom on 2/11/2015

Grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up and travel back in time with author, Julie Klassen, as she transports you to Pembrooke Park and the mystery that surrounds it.

Abigail Forrester has lived the life of the rich until a poor business investment renders her family bankrupt. Unable to afford their current home, Abigail and her family are forced to find more affordable accommodations. At the suggestion of their solicitor the Forrester's rent Pembrooke Park Manor, an estate that was left vacant eighteen years ago for reasons unknown.

With the help of William Chapman will Abigail be able to solve the mystery that surrounds Pembrooke Park Manor and find the love that she so earnestly desires at the same time?

The author weaves a tale of mystery and romance with a Christian theme set on the backdrop of England in the 1800's. She uses vivid imagery and believable characters to capture your attention. The book is not short on plot twists and intrigue. Although some might find the size of the book daunting, it the perfect read for a snowy Canadian winter day. For someone looking for a book with romance, suspense, mystery and a family life that is center on God, "The Secret of Pembrooke Park" is the book for you.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishers as part of a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen by Tina on 1/16/2015

The Secret of Pembrooke Park***** by Julie Klassen

Abigail Foster is not only the eldest daughter but the practical daughter in the Foster family. She had high hopes of making a match with long-time childhood friend, Gilbert Scott. However, it seems that he may be leaning toward her younger sister, Louisa. On top of everything, the Foster family are facing financial ruin in which Abigail feels partly responsible for. As they await the sale of their home, Abigail and her father seek out a more affordable place to live. Unexpectedly a solicitor, Mr. Arbeau, brings an offer for them to stay in a distant family member's manor house, Pembrooke Park, that had been abandoned eighteen years ago. Abigail and her father travel with Mr. Arbeau to Pembrooke Park to see if it is a place they could make a temporary home. Of course, the home will need lots of work before they can live there, but Abigail is up for the challenge. They meet Mac Chapman, former steward of the manor and his son Will, who is the local curate and learn that there is rumored to be hidden treasure in the manor.

I have been a long time fan of Julie Klassen and this book is one of her best. It captured me from the first page to the last. I love the regency feel to the story and enjoyed how the characters developed. Abigail faced many challenges that she met head-on and has a heart for others. I enjoyed Mac, who is rather gruff but has a good heart. His son Will is another strong character that I watched closely. Secrets abound about the manor and the supposed hidden treasure which brings treasure seekers. Unsigned letters with possible clues to the hidden treasure bring more questions to Abigail as she searches for answers. I love how faith and forgiveness is woven into the story along with deception, dangers, murder, mystery, romance and what a treasure truly is.

~I received a copy of this book from TBCN for my honest review~

Julie Klassen writes another winner by Stacey on 1/15/2015

Abigail Foster is the daughter every parent wants to brag about: responsible, honest, dependable, and remains within the rules of society. Her entire life she has understood what her role in life was and she hopes that by following the rules she will be rewarded with a good marriage. When the one man available to her appears to turn his attentions elsewhere, she suddenly feels her world shift. Life becomes even more uncertain when her father invests in a bank which leads to even more bad news.

Abigail handles each downturn in their circumstances with enough grace that even Jane Austen would be proud. Just so you know, Jane Austen is a pretty high standard. I grew to like Abigail more and more from page one. She is a resourceful and self sufficient woman, especially given the time era. We don’t read a lot of books from this era where women are given as much freedom as Abigail, but that is part of what shapes her personality. She is very much a loner. She doesn’t mind the time spent with books or taking long walks. In that sense she reminds me a bit of Elizabeth Bennett. I don’t think she wanted to be like that, but it was life circumstances which shaped her.

When she meets William Chapman her heart slowly begins to open to new possibilities. I appreciate that Julie Klassen doesn’t write it as love at first sight. It was a friendship that slowly blossomed into something more, but in the beginning Abigail isn’t sure if she can trust him. After all, someone is sneaking about the house at night and she thinks it could be him. Distrust colors her opinion of her new acquaintances, as she learns about her new home. The tension and mystery kept me up turning pages well past my bedtime, in fact, more than once I thought I had it figured out only to discover a new twist.

I loved how Klassen handled the secret room and treasure. She weaved together a story of mystery and love, but slowly unwrapped each part. Leading us on a journey, not rushing us, but allowing the reader to savor the time period and experience the characters. It was an experience I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

I was provided with a copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review.

This is a longer novel bringing in several characters necessary to the story. by Kathleen E. on 1/10/2015

Saturday, January 10, 2015
The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen, ©2014

Julie Klassen's novels are extremely intriguing with the well-documented history that glides you in as if you were walking with them! The Secret of Pembrooke Park will indeed be a treasure you will hold dear to your heart from the beginning to final page turn. How would you endeavor to keep it all together after you felt you had caused your family's demise, however earnest your advise began? Abigail Foster is such a woman. Entrusted with preparation for her family, Abigail settles within the estate attempting to overcome the quizzical expectations of those around her. Owning a nearby cottage, Mac Chapman as groundskeeper/overseer and his family are to be reckoned with as she lives her life before them. Trust? Mac Chapman, the former steward and protector of Pembrooke Park is all of these things. Sitting idle for eighteen years, the manor has been a question of secrecy with speculation of a private room hidden away with its treasures. Mac has guarded this domain with his life until suddenly the executor beckons a family to be admitted to this distant ancestral home. Suddenly. A solitude life to bring staff scurrying to provide; changes brought in that will upend their world as they know it... or reveal it.

Abigail's father while attempting to straighten out their banking ventures, does not immediately make Pembrooke his domicile. Her mother and younger fair of face sister, Louisa, remain in London occupied with the current season, hoping to secure a good match to supply Louisa with the means she has hoped to become accustomed. Especially, with their new situation.

There is mystery and intrigue as Abigail begins receiving journal entries that seem to spy on her recent actions as if someone is following her days. Within a short lapse of time, a second relative is on the scene. Curious as it has been unoccupied, that another person elects to join the Foster family in residence at Pembrooke.

As parish clerk, Mac offers suggestions to his son, William, as he fills in for the rector. The church is visible from the courtyard, within the walled grounds of the estate.

Behind the house, lush green vines with white flowers climbed the manor walls. In the rear courtyard, a terrace overlooked a neglected rose garden, overgrown topiaries, and a lily pond.
--The Secret of Pembrooke, 51

How I want to begin here, with a walk around the lovely sounding hidden from view grounds with Will and Abigail as they begin their acquaintance. Abigail, the older sister in her family, is expected to be the practical one. I am eager to learn of Will's siblings, as the oldest, with a brother and two sisters. Especially Kitty, as she begins to visit Pembrooke to play with the dollhouse in the room Abigail has selected as her bedchamber. Leah, the oldest sister, is quiet and reserved around strangers and is more sheltered. Getting to know this family is very interesting. I like how Abigail finds her way and others are open to befriend her. Clearly, with them all being used to living apart, it is endearing and lively to watch them making acquaintances, to friends.

I, as always, look forward to Julie Klassen's novels. I like the descriptive detail within her historical writings. This is a longer novel bringing in several characters necessary to the story. You will not be disappointed in how they are all drawn together, although they each think they are living separately.

***Thank you to author Julie Klassen and Bethany House for this copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

A Mystery That Keeps You Guessing! by BookJunkie on 1/2/2015

Author Julie Klassen is in my opinion an expert at intriguing the reader from the beginning of the book and "The Secret of Pembrooke Park" was no exception. The author always brings this astounding air of mystery around the entire book, to a point where you're not sure what is going to happen next. I also never would have guessed all the mystery and secrets that Pembrooke Park held. Ms. Klassen did an amazing job at keeping the reader guessing and even at the end my guesses were not all correct. The book really was a good reminder that not everything in life should be about money, for we can't take the earthly possessions with us. Abigail had real life troubles which is what made her real to me, she was always feeling the need to live up to her younger sister's beauty and she really didn't believe in her worth, she thought herself to plain. Though in the end she realizes that her worth and everyone else for that matter, is not found in earthly treasures but in God, family and friends. I really loved this. William, is the local curate for the church and I loved some of his sermons, though they were short, they have a large impact. I liked both main characters. They loved and accepted each other as themselves and not for who they were not. But, I do have a couple things that I have to say about this book that I didn't care for so much. At one point in time when William and Abigail are speaking to each other and she explains how she knows another young man, William says "Shall I make passionate love to you to make him jealous?" which I take word for word from the book, page 183. She deeply blushes at this and he asks her to forgive him because it was such a cavalier thing so say, she responds that it did shock her and that it wasn't very parson like of him but goes on to say "I admit the notion is not without appeal but I shouldn't use you in such a manner." to this he responds "I promise you, Miss Foster, it would take very little acting ability on my part." She then thanks him for restoring her fragile feminine ego. This all being said on page 184. Though this was partly in jest it was the part that wasn't in jest that made me feel slightly uncomfortable considering they were only then developing feelings for each other, only friends. There was also one other part I didn't quite like, at one point Abigail accidentally catches William leaving from his swim in the river in which he doesn't have a shirt on, there are multiple mentions of her eyes roaming to his chest, arms and stomach. Though that just made her seem most life like because she was trying to control such thoughts but none the less, it also made me just a bit uncomfortable. I just felt like I should mention these couple things in detail because I wouldn't really suggest this book for younger readers personally but I went into detail so you could decide if you yourself would like to read it. But I must add another good note before I end my review, I didn't want the book to end for sure! I picked it up to read the last couple chapters and that was the thought that ran through my mind. I was attached to the characters without a doubt. On that note, I give this book three and a half stars. I truly really liked the book but because of the couple awkward moments I had to lower my star rating from a four to a three and a half. I do recommend this book to anyone who loves a good secret/mystery book, regency romance or a book with a good message. I just wouldn't recommend it to a younger reader. I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are mine.

One for the Keeper Shelf!! by Babbling Becky L on 12/18/2014

I just recently read a quote to the effect that a good book is one that when you get to the last chapter, you read slowly because you're sorry the book is at an end. This could truly be said about the characters that Julie Klassen creates in The Secret of Pembrooke Park. I found myself easily identifying with Abigail, feeling her pain when the family loses their fortune and then moves to a mysterious manor. William Chapman, the curate, and Gilbert Scott, the architect make for strong opposing suitors. Leah is a case study with her fears and secrecy.

Speaking of secrets. I would almost contend the book is misnamed. There is not ONE, but MULTIPLE, secrets that are a part of Pembrooke Park's history. Will Abigail discover what they are before she and her family are run off the property or hurt or killed?

The book starts a little slow, but once the stage is set and the action commences, that slowness is easily forgiven.

A couple of quotes:
"One might open the book idly, but one never knows what treasure one might find." -William Chapman about the Bible
"Good from bad, God excels at that." -William

This is a story of fear, of rumors, of love over-protecting, and love releasing and of choosing to live by faith. This is one for the Keeper Shelf!!

I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for an honest review.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park was Captivating by Robin on 12/1/2014

The Secret of Pembrooke Park
Julie Klassen

Book Summary: Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister. Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until 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 acquainted with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure. This catches Abigail's attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances--and her dowry--Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house. Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past. As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

Review: This was a long book to read and yet I could not put it down. I read it until 1 AM and than finished is quickly in the next day. I loved all the characters. Even the one who was causing the mayhem was great. I do not like to give away secrets but the were many twists and turns that I was waiting for them at the edge of my seat for them to be revealed. I loved Abigail mostly because her growth and wisdom were sincerely well written and believable all in one. No matter what I would want Abigail to be my friend. She was kind and forgiving. The secret room was the hook that held me until the end. Sometimes I just wanted to climb in the story and search every room till I found it. Who cares about a treasure of goods, a secret room is worth it weight in gold alone. Secret passages too, although this story did not have secret passages. The men in Abigail’s life were great. All of them. They ebbed and grew in many ways that provided a dynamic storyline and kept me going while the mystery stewed in the background. The time flew and the story was well written. I will definitely read this story again someday.
I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.

Regency romance with murder, mystery and hidden treasure! by Robin Willson on 11/26/2014

Abigail is the trusted, sensible daughter, Louisa the pretty beguiling one. Members of the privileged, they live in 1817 London. That is until Abigail's recommendation that her father invest in her Uncle's bank - which failed. Knowing that they will have to find another place to live within their reduced means, they receive an invitation from the solicitor on her father's side of the family to come and live at Pembrooke Park - which has been closed up for about 18 years. Since they have found little else that suits them, Abigail and her father go to take a look. They find it will be a grand manor - when cleaned up - and learn that there is also a mystery about the place. Stories of a hidden treasure in a secret, hidden room within the house. Perhaps a chance to rebuild some of their financial loss. As it is their best option, Abigail moves in and prepares the house for her family. It's surely her imagination what sounds like ghosts or someone creeping around at night throughout the nearly empty house.

William is the handsome parson of the Pembrooke Park church. His father, Mac, had served the previous owner of the manor and now is the parish clerk as well as land agent for nearby Hunts Hall. William's sister Leah is beautiful, but elusive. As much as Abigail could use a friend, Leah is polite but somewhat reclusive and keeps her distance. William is drawn to Abigail, but knows he doesn't have a chance with her.

There is so much to learn about Pembrooke manor and the people who lived there before. Their history is entwined with the area - from servants to nobility. Including an old friend of Abigail's whom she thought she would marry but now seems more interested in her sister. There are new neighbors who are a part of London's society and familiar with them all. Add a mysterious Pembrooke cousin who used to live at the manor who shows up just after it has been restored and manages to become their guest. And then there are the unsigned letters sent only to Abigail with brief insights as to what had once happened there.

There are balls, intricate romances, feelings of unworthiness, old secrets and a mysterious hooded stranger roaming about. There's a race to discover the treasure and old wounds uncovered. And lots of danger lurking just about everywhere. This is a long read, and difficult to put down. It's also full of faithful lessons and the truth of where our treasures lie. If you're not already a fan of Julie Klassen, you will be after reading this!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Baker Publishing Group, Bethany - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”. http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.htm

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