Tuesday, April 26

The Girl in the Gatehouse... just like Jane Austen!

I fell in love with Miss Julie Klassen's writing voice upon finishing the first sentence of "The Girl in the Gatehouse."  So reminiscent of Jane Austen, this book could've been written by her... if it had been written 100 years ago and if Miss Austen would have had more mystery in her books.  I've tried other wannabe-Austen writers, but this is the only book that held my interest for more than a paragraph.

I love literary classics and, as you can tell by now, Jane Austen is one of my favorite classic writers along with Louisa May Alcott.  There are also hints of Alcott's influence in this book, too.  If you read it, you'll find the conclusion very reminiscent of an event in "Little Women."  Julie Klassen goes a step above Jane Austen, who didn't write faith into her books (with the exception of, perhaps, walks to church on Sundays).  "The Girl in the Gatehouse" is a story of God's love for us, redemption, and grace.  It's a timeless tale, and one we all need reminding of.

The heroine, Mariah Aubrey, is incredibly likable, witty, and sometimes feisty.  She's actually based on a minor Austen character of the same name.  The reader likes her almost instantly even though she has obvious, unlikeable flaws.  We see Mariah's character change and we see how God is working even her mistakes out for her own good and, as the pages turn, we see Him drawing her to Himself.  Oh, and the mystery!  This book is so wonderfully full of it and the way it all comes together in the end is both enchanting and exciting!

When it comes to fiction, I'm hesitant to review something by an author I haven't read before.  I have a high standard when it comes to books, especially fiction books. If a book doesn't speak to my heart on numerous levels, I feel it's a waste of time in a world that speeds by too quickly to be wasting that precious commodity!  Julie Klassen's "The Girl in the Gatehouse" is not only written exceedingly well, but it's a gem of a book.  My only reservation is that it's so hard to put down!  I've got a new favorite author and that hasn't happened since I discovered George MacDonald 2 years ago (his books are also the perfect combination of mystery, Jesus, romance, and history).

Now, if you head over to Amazon, you can read the first few pages of "The Girl in the Gatehouse" by using their "Look Inside" feature.

This book was provided to me by the wonderful people at Bethany House in exchange for a thoughtful and honest review!


  1. So glad to know you enjoyed the book. Thanks for the thoughtful review!

  2. Rarely have I experienced historical novels that not only hook me as a reader as soon as I open the cover, hold my attention throughout, pull together a plausible ending with a thorough resolution of the major story lines, and last but not least transport me through time and space smack dab into the middle of the people, events, and era of the novel.