Combining elements from classics like "Jane Eyre" and "Pride and Prejudice", Julie Klassen weaves together an original yet somewhat familiar Regency era romance in her inspirational/historical novel "The Tutor's Daughter". The story is about Emma Smallwood, the daughter of a tutor in an all boy's school. When her mother dies Emma finds herself worried not only about her father's health but for the family's dwindling income as well. She is shocked when her father accepts a job as a private tutor at an estate by the sea. Even though she is a person of routine she accompanies him and is reunited with two brothers that she knew from her youth. One is dashing, well mannered and has had her eye for several years. The other one used to tease her so horribly that she has trouble seeing past it enough to recognize the strong, levelheaded man he has become. She barely has a chance to set foot at the manor before she senses something is wrong. Someone is hiding something.
To be totally honest, I had trouble getting into this book. I felt like I had read it before, it mirrored the classics so closely. The over use of terms like "she wagged her eyebrows" irked me and I started picking apart the story and plot. Once I pushed past the first quarter or so I began feel more sympathy for the characters and I enjoyed the similarities between Henry Weston and my childhood favorite, Mr. Darcy. The storyline twisted in a way that made it unique and the mysterious secrets kept my mind turning over the possibilities. The element of danger grew and the romance blossomed in a satisfying fashion. I didn't really like Emma at the beginning of the book but as she grew in boldness and in faith I found her more agreeable.
While this wasn't my favorite book I would recommend it to fans of Regency romance. I think my problem was that I prefer the classics when it comes to this genre. That and perhaps I couldn't relate to the neat and orderly Emma...
I received a free copy of this book to review from Bethany House Publishing.