The Girl in the Gatehouse is an inspirational historical fiction romance set in Regency times and written by the Christy Award winning author Julie Klassen.
Mariah Aubrey is no longer wanted under the roof she's lived under her entire twenty-four years of life. A distant relative offers the abandoned gatehouse on her estate as a place for Mariah and her only companion - Miss Dixon, her former nanny. But when her relative dies not long after Mariah has begun to settle in comfortably, if quietly, the heir to the estate demands a rent for the gatehouse that is impossible with the small funds her father offered her reluctantly.
So, Mariah turns to a hobby she has always loved - writing. She finds she can support herself and Miss Dixon by publishing her novels, but she guards her anonymity carefully. Novel writing is not proper for ladies, and Mariah cannot afford any more scandal...
Matthew Bryant returns back to land after becoming a celebrated Captain during his term in the British Navy. With his prize money he decides to lease a grand estate and finds himself intrigued by the lovely and private girl in the gatehouse. But he has just moved up in the world and has plans that stem from his new standing - an outcast, however kind and beautiful, risks his future...
First off, let me just make it clear that I absolutely love Regency times. Jane Austen? Uh, yeah!!! I adore the clothes, the mannerisms, the estates - all of it! So I was a happy camper as The Girl in the Gatehouse began with a gentle, mysterious start that is soaked in unspoken, unrevealed scandal and intrigue, reverberating in period details.
Julie Klassen writes interesting characters that each seem to harbor secrets and a main character that is even-tempered and polite but forced to find independence. And when the attraction blooms between Captain Bryant and Mariah, well lets just say sparks fly!
The Girl in the Gatehouse is a tale of two broken hearts healing in a believable way. It's organic and heavenly simple. It's relaxing and easygoing, yet still has it's suspicions and mysteries - giving it an extra dose of entertainment. There is a feeling of home and of family, despite Mariah having neither in the traditional sense. Moment of true suspense make the day-to-day activities of 1813 all the more admirable.
This is a romantic and sincere novel that avoids the pitfalls of the cornier romances. Though I sometimes wished that the twists were a bit harder to see coming (though one of the later surprises did actually surprise me!), The Girl in the Gatehouse is a lovely, inspirational story set in a delicately mannered and beautifully detailed period with a wonderful, layered cast of characters.
Check out The Girl in the Gatehouse for a heartwarming, touching, and sweet Regency-era romance with touches of clue-finding mystery!
*I received a copy of The Girl in the Gatehouse from the Bethany House Book Reviewers program, which you can check out here. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.