Author Julie Klassen shares her inspiration for
Shadows of Swanford Abbey
Touted as “Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen”, this Regency/Gothic novel is a real page turner!
Julie Klassen is one of my top favorite authors who first introduced me to Regency romance and I fell head-over-heels in love with this genre. I've read just about everything she's written! She has a way of immersing you into her settings and making you feel like you're right in the middle. Her atmospheric prose and vivid descriptions come to life for me every time.
Shadows of Swanford Abbey is a slight deviation from her usual writing but still has her unique author's voice. She introduces us to Sir Fredrick Wilford and Rebecca Lane as her main characters. They grew up knowing each other but with a decade between them; Rebecca has always had a secret crush on Fredrick. So after years away and a chance meeting while staying at the Abbey-turned-hotel they have the opportunity to reacquaint themselves. You can feel the underlying sizzle of attraction that's still there between them. For this story however, the murder of a famous author takes precedence and trying to find his killer and motives for doing so occupies Fredrick's time and energy. Plus, you have the mystery of a shrouded figure in black that is rumored to haunt the hotel. Perhaps it’s the ghost of the long ago buried Abbess herself? With all these things culminating, it makes for a book impossible to put down!
While not my favorite book by Klassen, it definitely kept my interest as I wanted to know how both the murder was solved and a hinted-at romance developed. I'm more of a Jane Austen romance fan than an Agatha Christie mystery fan.
*I received a complimentary copy and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions expressed her are mine alone. *
I have always enjoyed Julie Klassen novels. They are usually very character driven and somewhat detailed. At the end of the story, you feel like you really know the characters. I had heard this story was a bit different than her normal style so I was looking forward to seeing how it was different and if I would like the change or not.
I really liked both Frederick and Rebecca and how they had been friends since they were young. I also liked the murder mystery aspect of the story and the role that Fredrick and Rebecca played in solving it.
I did struggle to get into this story, but once the murder happened, I got more invested and I enjoyed trying to figure out who did it and why!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
"A brilliant Agatha Christie-esque whodunit by reader favorite Julie Klassen. Set in the creepy atmosphere of an old abbey, Shadows of Swanford Abbey will keep you guessing until the very end. There's plenty of danger, intrigue, and—yes—romance to delight Regency-era lovers of all ages. Truly a don't-miss read!"—Michelle Griep, Christy Award-winning author of Once Upon a Dickens Christmas
“If you enjoy historical fiction with equal blends MYSTERY (suspense) and ROMANCE, then I recommend Shadows of Swanford Abbey with you wholeheartedly without any reservations. This may just be my FAVORITE Klassen novel yet.”—Becky Laney, Becky’s Book Reviews
again Julie Klassen has delivered an intriguing book with all kinds of mystery
and a few ghosts added in made it all worth the midnight oil I burned because I
didn't want to put it down!”—Lori Parrish, Red Headed Book Lady
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance.
When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother's desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.
The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey's cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past--including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick--magistrate, widower, and former neighbor--who long ago broke her heart.
When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something. . .
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. Her books have sold over a million copies, and she is a three-time recipient of the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award and has been a finalist in the RITA and Carol Awards. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.