Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?
The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems–and secrets–of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.
When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor’s daughter figure out which brother to blame…and which brother to trust with her heart?
With shades of Austen and Bronte, Ms. Klassen has written this sweeping tale set in 19th century Great Britain. This novel gives you those delicious social class problems that only regency can give you and gothic settings reminiscent of Du Maurier. Emma Smallwood is a woman the reader will come to know well and love. I really like how Klassen tries not to let you know who the hero will be in the end, so I won’t give away his name, but frankly, after meeting him you can’t but love him as well. The Weston family—boy do they give Emma a run for her money with their mysteries and interesting ways. She stayed with that family far longer than I ever would. Spiritually, Emma has to learn to surrender to God; that she can’t control every thing and every situation, and that ultimately you just have to trust God to work out situations. This novel has quickly become one of my favorites by Ms. Klassen, and I look forward to reading it again and again. Highly Recommended.
**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in any way.**