Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Review Day: The Secret of Pembrooke Park

            Welcome to the very first ever Review Tuesday, although I will not actually be calling it that. I just wanted to let all of my lovely readers know that I will be (hopefully) posting a book review every Tuesday. And, for the time being, the reviews will be a wonderful trip through my personal library as I share with you many of the novels I have bought over the years. All of the pictures will be photos that I will take of my actual books, and, once I finish, for the time being of course (my library is constantly growing) I will possibly take a picture of my shelves in their entirety. We shall see.
            Another thing before I get to the review: every book, movie, or song that I even so much as mention on this blog will be added to my Amazon store, which you can find on my pages bar at the top of the page. So, if you find after reading one of my reviews that you must purchase the book, you can easily find it through my store. There’s also quite a few of my favorites on there, so if you’re ever looking for something good to read, you can always head on over to see what I would suggest. Now, for the 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?

            I had been anticipating reading this novel even before its release date (Dec. 2014) and, although I had to wait this long to finally read it, it exceeded every one of my expectations. So much so that I finished all 456 pages in one day, less than six hours to be exact. And it was WONDERFUL. I give Julie Klassen a hearty round of applause.
            Abigail Foster is a sensible, thoughtful woman who dreams of matrimony, only her visions have recently been dashed. Finding her family facing financial ruin, she carries a large measure of guilt as she knows it is mostly her fault. With much determination, she attempts to repair what has been lost. Along the way, she finds herself torn between rumors of treasure, mystery, and multiple men vying for her attention. Will all be well in the end? You have to read to find out!
            I found Abigail often struggled with her worth, as she constantly compared herself to her younger sister, and found herself lacking. I love how she finally comes to realize how valuable she is, to God and to those who love her. I have always said that a book isn’t really worth reading if the characters haven’t changed for the better by the end of the story, and I am extremely glad to report that in this novel, they do.
            So, without further ado, I give The Secret of Pembrooke Park all five possible bookshelves (my ranking instead of stars) because it kept me hooked through every page, is a novel I will absolutely be reading again, and was well worth purchasing.
            Happy reading!

Purchase your own copy here.

All credit to the above italicized synopsis goes to Julie Klassen and her publishers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

                I finished Mansfield Park for the first time a couple of days ago, and I have to say, once again Jane Austen didn’t disappoint. Although I knew that, as always, she wouldn’t, having seen the movie previously, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy the story. By the way, I would not necessarily recommend the movie (a 1999 British adaptation) unless you do not have any little eyes watching with you but do have the remote handy so you can do a bit of skipping. There are a few questionable parts (hence the PG-13 rating) but it is overall a pleasant film, if you don’t mind the fact that it speeds through the book fairly quickly and might leave you wondering what’s going on.
                Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Mansfield Park, and would absolutely read it again. It was a refreshing tale, which for once left you wondering if there would in fact be a ‘happily ever after’. Not very many books are like that, so I was extremely pleased to find one that was, especially since it was set in 19th century England.
                Fanny Price, the second oldest of nine children, gets sent to live with her wealthy aunts and uncle at the age of ten because of her family’s dire economic straits. Though she is a kind, gentle, obedient girl, she is constantly reminded by her extended family of the fact that she is not of the same social standing.
                This book, in keeping with Jane Austen’s usual work, examines an aspect of morality. You just have to read it to find out which one!
                Speaking of reading, I just opened my first Amazon Store! It’s so exciting! You should definitely check it out! I will constantly adding some of my favorite books, and will always have any book I review listed there. If you’re ever looking for a good read, you should hop on over and pick one out!

                Happy reading!  

Credits to the photo of the book go to Amazon; I'm not sure where the photo with the quote is from because I found it on Pinterest.