Tuesday, December 21, 2021

SHADOWS of SWANFORD ABBEY by Julie Klassen, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"Calm down. Talk to her before you do anything you might regret."

As the town magistrate, Sir Frederick Wilford has been called upon to settle typical local disputes, but a murder; where to even begin? The Swanford Abbey hotel guests and employees are all under suspicion of course, but there's only one whom Frederick is hoping and praying is as innocent as he believes her to be.

When the very man who has caused her beloved brother so much angst turns up dead, Rebecca Lane is terrified to tell the truth about what she knows, and horrified to admit her half-truths. Especially to Sir Frederick, her childhood friend and admittedly the object of her girlish affections. Time has changed them both, for Frederick is now a widower and Rebecca has been under employment as a lady's maid. Is there room for more? "Thankfully God offers second chances."
This author has long blended history with an air of mystery, but this story takes the concept a step further and reads more like a crime novel, with its "who done it" creeping around every corner and invading every shadow. Utilizing a game of chess and a clever trap, the characters ultimately expose the true culprit while readers enjoy being thoroughly entertained in the process. And the bonus? A sweet romance between two long time friends.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 

BackCover Blurb:
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. . . 

Bethany House Publishers, December 2021
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook:


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