Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The Tutor's Daughter
Bethany House, 2013
Adult Historical Christian Romance
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I had read an earlier title by Klassen (The Girl in the Gatehouse) and was primed to enjoy another title from her, having liked her homages to Jane Austen. As an Austenite, I am always happy to read other books with references to the time and even events of Austen's plots. Additionally I liked the title's hint at something involving education while also including romance obviously.
Let's start with a wide view of this book. Emma, the titular tutor's daughter, wishes to help her widowed father regain a connection to the outside world. Thus she writes to the father of former pupils and he is contracted as a private tutor for his two youngest sons, bringing Emma along as an assistant. Before too long, all the sons of the family are at the manor in addition to the lord, lady, lady's ward, and servants. But there are many mysteries within this house...can Emma unravel them all, including which of the charming brothers is worth her heart?
Readers of the book will notice distinct plot plots akin to those of beloved novels Sense and Sensibility as well as Jane Eyre. Sure enough, Klassen references her love in the author's note at the end. Fear not-though on the surface, there are similarities but they play out vastly differently. I especially liked the plot that reminded me of Jane Eyre specifically because of the differences that helped to shake up this otherwise pretty predictable story. Sorry for not being more specific but I'm trying to avoid spoilers.
I guess there's also a bit of Pride and Prejudice as the tutor's daughter Emma had a very negative first impression of Henry that caused her to hold a grudge but this reunion allows him the opportunity to demonstrate maturity. I found Emma a little bit too perfect, lacking the rough edges that allow you to feel like you could be the character or like you know someone like her. I guess maybe she's a little rigid in her opinions but she doesn't have that indefinable spark for me.
One last element to mention is the Christian elements. I personally didn't find them to be very present at all but that is how it is classified and someone who is not Christian may find it to be too much. Emma does not have much faith but through some circumstances in the book, as well as her love interest, she does develop more faith.
Overall: Leisurely paced historical chaste-romance novel-definitely great for fans of Klassen's other work!