Book Review

Review: The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

Nancy Drew novels were some of my favorites growing up. Every week I would probably check a couple out from the school library and the public library. Our church even had them in their library and would usually get them from there. As I got older, I would spend my allowance on them. I loved the books. The mysteries were always so fun to try to unravel as Nancy would find clues or some clues would find her. Not to mention, some of the mysteries took place in some old mansions that sounded amazing!

The more pages I turned in The Secret of Pembrooke Park, the more I felt some of my childhood love of Nancy Drew creeping into my mind. While quite different then those detective novels, Klassen still wrote a novel about an old manor that has seen a number of secrets over the years. The main character stumbles into the web of them and tries to sort them out.

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**I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**

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?

For anyone who adores Julie Klassen’s novels, they will adore this one. In fact, this one has probably become my favorite now. It has everything I could hope for in a novel. There are wonderful historical details, a mysterious plot, wonderful love story for the heroine, and beautiful prose telling the story.

Both the major and minor characters in this novel are extremely well developed–and I as I turned the final page, I was sad to say “farewell” to some wonderful friends that I had made. But what truly made the characters wonderful was that the way their lives were intertwined and connected and how they interacted with one another. They all had motivations and setbacks.

The mystery in the novel was exciting to unravel. So many times I thought I character was about to give something away that I’ve been very curious about, but then they would hold back. Anticipation and curiosity were constant companions while reading this novel. Plus, the deeper into the story I read, the more twists and turns awaited me.

Here is my warning to those who plan to pick this book up: you will not want to put this one down. I hardly did, and I always picked it back up as soon as I could.

I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to add to the discussion by leaving your thoughts in the comment section.

For more on the author or this book, please check out the following links:

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