The lovely cover, an intriguing premise, and an author known for writing appealing historical fiction combined to entice me to read this book, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Although it’s the second in a series, it is can be easily read as a standalone book. I’ve read many of Julie Klassen’s stories, and I’m always impressed by her careful historical accuracy and knowledge of the time periods and customs of those times. It allows me to be fully immersed in the story.
Set against the backdrop of the Devonshire coast in 1819, A Winter by the Sea swept me away and kept me engrossed throughout. The characters are carefully drawn and realistic. This book spotlights Emily Summers and James Thomson, the Duke of Kent’s private secretary. When the Duke and Duchess of Kent come to Sidmouth for the winter, the Summers sisters are asked to house some of the royal couple’s staff while they are there. The other Summers sisters, especially Sarah, had fairly large roles in the tale and added depth and interest. I’m looking forward to more about them in the next book in the series.
Based on actual happenings, this tale is entertaining and informative. I enjoyed learning more about this piece of English history. The author’s note in the back of the book provided a look into the author’s research and was very much appreciated.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers through Interviews and Reviews. All opinions are my own.4.5 stars
"You will never guess. You are to have royal neighbors!"
Instead of winter providing a quiet respite from the continual demands of guests at their coastal English boarding house, the Summers sisters receive startling news; the Duke and Duchess of Kent, along with their baby daughter, have decided to winter in a neighboring residence and have requested lodging for three of their male staff at Sea View. While the extra income would be welcomed, word has it that the royal coffers are already over-spent. Additionally, James Thomson, the duke's private secretary, quietly catches the attention of Emily Summers with his kind heart, love of fine literature, and ease with words. Quite unexpectedly Emily's past revisits Sidmouth, leaving her no other option but to echo this plea, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all . . . . "
The author's conversational cadence lends an easy-going atmosphere through-out each chapter, even when, or especially when, the characters experience taught, awkward moments alongside tearful, fearful circumstances. Yet, my favorite line rises above all clatter and clamor to announce . . . " . . . kissing the man you loved wasn't like poetry. It was better".
Enjoy this journey along England's beautiful coastline with a family whose tight-knit relationships provide the strength and courage that they need to navigate this particularly unique "winter by the sea".
*I received a copy of this book from Baker Publishing through Interviews and Reviews. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 3.5 stars
A royal visit from a prince.
Master storyteller Julie Klassen has brought reality into this series by giving an account of a royal visit by baby Victoria and her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, to the Village of Sidmouth. I was fascinated by the details of the visit and the pomp associated with it. Ms. Klassen has woven her characters into the lives of the royals and their entourage in an engaging way. The Summers sisters and their mother are hosting several of the household staff of the Duke.
This book showcases Emily Summers and her aspiration to become an author. I was glad to see Mr. Gwilt from book one, had written a book about Parry the Parrot and that Emily was encouraging him to publish the work.
Ah Emily. She has been pining for Charles, an old friend from back home, who she has not heard from in over a year. However, when James, secretary to the Duke, boards with the Summers at Sea View, Emily takes particular notice. She will have to seek God’s will and search her own heart for answers to her confusing emotions.
This was a sweet, engaging story with many interesting details and some exciting and tragic scenes. Especially helpful was a map of the village.
I am looking forward to book three from this English seaside village in 1819.
*A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Bethany House through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*5 stars and a solid faith thread.
Royalty comes to Sidmouth, bringing unexpected danger and the sweet possibility of romance. . . .
When the Duke and Duchess of Kent and their daughter--the future Queen Victoria--rent neighboring Woolbrook Cottage for the winter, the Summers sisters are called upon to host three of the royal family's male staff in their seaside house. But they soon realize they've invited secrets and intrigue into their home.
Meanwhile, Emily Summers longs to become an author. A local publisher offers to consider her novel if she will first write a Sidmouth guidebook for him. Emily agrees and begins researching the area with help from the Duke of Kent's handsome private secretary. But a surprise visitor from her past shows up at Sea View, leaving Emily torn between the desires she's long held dear and her budding dreams for the future.
Return to the Devonshire coast with the Summers sisters, where loyalties are tested, secrets come to light, and new love emerges.