Book review for The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen
There are three types of books. The first type is boring, dry, and can sometimes be painful, depending on the writing style. Usually people don’t put themselves through the torture of reading these kinds of books. The second type is just so-so, mundane, and will only interest those who either have a deep love for books or are mundane themselves. J Then there are books that sweep you into the intricately woven plot, make you feel like a part of the story, and force you to feel sympathy or pity for the broken heroine. The characters pull you into the story, into their world, and bewitch you into never leaving. You must, of course, but you feel like you’re dying until you return. The Girl in the Gatehouse, a historical fiction written by Julie Klassen, is undoubtedly one of those books.
Mariah Aubrey is sent away to live in the gatehouse on her aunt’s large estate for something she did- something scandalous. She is ripped from the luxury she is so fond of, and must support herself and her companion by writing novels-under a false name, of course. At the same time, Matthew Bryant, a dashing navy captain, rents the estate with the intent of impressing a certain young lady who has rejected him. Matthew and Mariah are attracted to one another, but Mariah’s secrets and Matthew’s pursuit of another woman get in the way of love.
I’ve read all of Julie Klassen’s novels, and enjoyed them all, so I know this one was going to be enthralling. But I must say, this is her best work yet! I love the way she weaves the story and adds more and more to the plot until you think she can’t add any more. I also love how she creates her characters. Sometimes I read book and the characters seem all the same, so ordinary and boring. But Julie makes each of her characters unique and interesting in their own way. Mariah is probably my favorite character. She’s ashamed of her past, and wants to break free of the guilt but doesn’t seem to know how. She is constantly questioning her judgment, because she trusted a man once and he took advantage of that trust. I think she’s my favorite because she loves to write. I had that in common with her. I really felt for her when she was ridiculed by Matthew’s “friends.” I wanted so badly to jump into the story and lend her my shoulder to cry on. I wanted to let her know that life would go on, that this wasn’t the end of the world. But Julie didn’t assign that part to me; she gave that job to Matthew. J Matthew was very cute…yes, cute. His pursuit of Isabelle was so boyish it was funny. I ached when he talked to Mariah about being rejected by his father. I don’t know what it feels like to try to prove myself to a parent, but I got a taste of it as I read.
Lastly, the cover. Is. Amazing. The lush green grass, with the cold stone gatehouse in the background, and the yellow and lavender of Mariah’s dress is really eye-catching. Not that the cover of a book really matter. Not that I judge books by their covers, or anything. Ahem. J I could go on and on about what an awesome read this is and such, but I’ll just leave it at this: The Girl in the Gatehouse is now on my “favorites” list (which is quite long, by the way) and I suggest you go pick up a copy if you haven’t so that you may experience the joy and emotion of reading a truly well-written book.
Quick Contents Review:
Profanity- None (maybe one use of the British word “bloody”)
Sexual- Minor (Mariah writes about her fall- nothing graphic but only implications. Mariah and Matthew kiss a couple times. One of the sisters, Amy, was forced to be a prostitute when she was younger.)
Reply from the author:
Wow. What a great review. I can see that you are a gifted writer already. Will you be posting your review anywhere online for others to enjoy? It was such a pleasure to read and I'm delighted to know how much you liked the new book.
As far as your other questions: Yes, I grew frustrated at times. I remember being angry with myself at 25 for not having written "The great American novel" yet. :) But in hindsight, I'm not sure anyone would have wanted to read what I might have written back then. I believe God's timing is perfect and I'm so glad to be living out my dream of being a writer now in my forties--even though, like you, it is something I wanted from a young age.
You're 16, Shelby, and you already sound wiser than I was at your age. :) Keep reading all the good books you can. Write all you can. Learn all you can. But trust God for the timing. You'll get there!