Friday, February 8, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter By Julie Klassen Book Review

// T h e   T u t o r ' s   D a u g h t e r //
B y   J u l i e   K l a s s e n
{ R e v i e w s   B y   B e t h a n y  & M a d i }

The Tutor's Daughter// B o o k   D e s c r i p t i o n //

"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?"

// P u b l i s h e r // Bethany House

// P u b l i c a t i o n D a t e // January 1st, 2013

// N u m b e r o f P a g e s // 416

// S o u r c e // Bethany: Library :) Madi : Review Book

// R a t i n g //  Bethany: 5 out of 5 stars Madi: 5 out of 5 stars

 // B e t h a n y ' s   R e v i e w // 
Out of all six of Julie Klassen's books, I've read four, and by far, The Tutor's Daughter was for SURE my very favorite and the most clean of the ones I've read. I was very impressed with it and thoroughly enjoyed every page! Some of Julie's other books were for older girls as they had some mature content that I really didn't care for, but this book pleasantly surprised me in the fact that it was very clean. I especially appreciated how the romance level was very low, and how the author chose to save the romance for the end, so that you can enjoy the story without it being overly romantic the whole time. I've recently come to have a great appreciation for books that have a balanced amount of romance, as so often this is the main focus of a book and kind of drowns out the actual story, not to mention put wrong thoughts in your mind from time-to-time, but this one had the perfect amount and was well-balanced.

Another thing I enjoyed was the suspense! It was such a page-turning book, and very exciting! I really liked how Julie accomplished getting a very healthy dose of suspense in the story without involving any deaths, murder, crimes, etc, that are so often found in suspense novels. Their were also many twists and turns that I never saw coming, and kept the story from getting dull. Right when I thought all the questions were answered, there would be something else that would come up that I never saw coming!

As for the characters, I loved them all from the start, well... maybe not all of them....Henry for one, wasn't exactly my favorite male character to begin with.... *Shows knowing grin to those who had read The Tutor's Daughter and remember Henry's famous speech concerning a dance he would perform at Emma's wedding.....* The main character, Emma, however I did love from the beginning. She is a very likable character and I loved how she kept a journal and was very orderly, oh and she LOVES books - that we have in common. ;) After reading that part, I was like, okay, I really like this character now. New best friend. She's my favorite. :)

But anyways, this book had a very wonderful moral of not judging "a book by it's cover" so to speak, as we see clearly how someone can change drastically for the better; as well as the other side of someone's character getting worse with age. I'd say which of the two brother's was my favorite, but that would basically give the book away so I won't tell you, but if you've read the book, I assure you that you will know, as we will most probably agree.

Another thing I was very enthused about was all the history packed into this book! In the author's note in the back after the story, I was surprised to learn that some of the characters, as well as the places, were all true and actual people and places-most of them so accurate down even to the names! I love books with a well-written story, but to get history in there as well...I'm all for it, and wasn't disappointed with this one!

Another favorite thing in this book was the level on Christian values involved. At the beginning of the story, Emma wasn't on speaking terms with God after her mother's death. However in the story a certain male character gets to share Christ with her and she renews her faith and lives her life more profitably in the end. I loved the scene were this took place, it's one of my favorite parts in the whole book!

The only thing I didn't really like in this story was their were a few little scenes that got, well, to be a bit more than I'd have written. But it really depends on what you are used to. Their is one scene where Henry makes a certain comment sarcastically early on in the book, as well as a few other little things such as two of the main characters unexpectedly being in each others presence at night in their nightclothes due to an "emergency" involving blood. As well as a disturbing image that was painted on one of Emma's missing journal pages that was stolen. They weren't at all a deal breaker or anything so bad that you'd not to read the book because of them, but I didn't really care for them. Romance-wise this book was very clean, and the farthest it ever went was some kissing. Total I think there were three kisses towards the end. While they were a bit descriptive, they weren't at all inappropriate, but again, it all depends on what you are used to. Girls who would most enjoy this book the most would be those who love Christian historical fiction, with a bit of romance mixed in, with a regency era style.
// M a d i ' s   R e v i e w //
This book was amazing! I have only read one other book by Julie Klassen (The Apothecary's Daughter), but this book made her one of my favorites. It was so . . . original! Not the same old historical fiction I'm used to. It was suspenseful, and I definitely kept me on my toes.

  • It had SO much suspense
  • It kept you on your toes. Just when you think you have figured out "Who Dunnit", Klassen throws in something else that makes you re-think everything. Totally unpredictable. Who likes a predictable book anyway? That takes all the fun out of it!
  • Their was JUST enough romance. Enough to compliment the story, but not so much that it's overbearing. I think it was really cute how she kept getting "secret admirer" letters. Classic!
  • I loved how Emma and the family of her employer have a past that goes all the way back to Emma's childhood. It's so sweet how that all comes together.
  • Phillip and Henry. These characters are the ones that made me fall in love with this book. They were total gentlemen. Well, at least they were as adults. 
  • It was clean. No inappropriate dialog or anything like that.
I really can't think of anything off the top of my head. It was a really good book.

Bottom line: Read it. It's sweet, suspenseful, it's historic, and you never know what will happen on the next page.
Madi received a free copy of The Tutor's Daughter from the publisher for the purpose of writing a review. She was not paid to do this review and all thoughts are her own and 100 % honest.