Sunday, February 13, 2022

SHADOWS OF SWANFORD ABBEY by Julie Klassen, Reviewed by Winnie and Paula

Julie Klassen is a personal favorite when it comes to historical fiction. Her impeccable research sets the stage for an absorbing story, while her realistically-flawed characters are colorful, interesting, and engaging. Rebecca Lane and Sir Frederick star in this Regency tale with an accompanying mystery to be solved. Klassen keeps the reader guessing as to who the murderer is with many twists and turns. The various characters all add to the complex plot and story line.

Mystery, intrigue, suspense, and a dash of romance combine to make this a captivating read which should appeal to a large variety of readers.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishing. All opinions are my own.

Julie Klassen captivates me with her Regency, English settings and well drawn characters.

Lady’s companion, Rebecca Lane, and Sir Fredrick Wilford were childhood friends. They meet up again at the mysterious Swanford Abbey which has been made into a grand hotel. While staying there, a murder occurs. Sir Fredrick, as magistrate, officiates the investigation. Ms. Klassen did a great job of giving us plenty of suspects to choose from. To flesh out the story, we are treated to lovely descriptions of all things English. I especially liked Sir Fredrick and his use of a chessboard as a tool to figure out the would be culprit.

While Fredrick is sorting out his feelings for his dead wife, Rebecca is trying to help her brother navigate poor choices, rescue his living as an author, and regain his self respect. Then there is the person in a Nun’s habit who seems to pop up unexpectedly. Could this be the person who murdered Mr. Oliver?

An interesting character was Dr. Fox who seemed a humane doctor to the mentally ill. He was knowledgeable, godly and compassionate. I also like Lady Fitzhoward , the employer of Rebecca. She was a puzzle to figure out.

This story was suspenseful, complex and spoke of justice and forgiveness.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
5 stars and a solid faith thread 


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:



1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful story. I just loved how it all came together. Masterfully written!


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