Well aware that her father’s boarding school is ailing financially in 1812 Devonshire, Emma Smallwood reaches out to a baronet that previously educated his sons with them. Two sons that Emma shares childhood memories of – one fondly, one not so fondly. Knowing that he has two younger sons perfect in age for her father’s services, she writes to him in the guise of her father – determined to salvage their life’s work.
In response, they receive an invitation to move to the baronet’s cliff-top manor for a year to school the young men at home. Since her father had also been frighteningly out of sorts since her mother’s illness and death, they accept – hoping for a fresh start.
When they arrive they find themselves in the midst of a enigmatic display of shock at their presence.
The strangeness doesn’t stop there.
Late in the night Emma hears someone playing the pianoforte, yet when she mentions it no one else acknowledges a similar experience. And she has a distinct feeling that her bedroom is being entered when she’s asleep or not there…
Amidst the Cornwall coast where shipwrecks are commonplace and strong principals are held by the locals, Emma finds herself enmeshed in peril, mystery, and romance.
The Tutor’s Daughter was wonderful!!! This has a true Regency feel to it.
I loved the slow, but constantly intriguing, unfolding of the mystery, romance, and character development. The era felt real here, not forced or unnatural. There was a genuine simplicity, gentility, and romanticism that wasn’t marred by people acting in a way not proper for their time. It was spellbinding!
A moody, atmospheric environment encapsulates The Tutor’s Daughter. The salty sea air, beautiful but dangerous cliffs and disturbing recounting of many shipwrecks that have plagued the area is riveting.
Plus, our main character Emma is compassionate, smart and wholly worth rooting for. I felt she belonged in her time, but wasn’t a whimpering ninny either. Thank goodness!
Nothing felt rushed, and there are some excellent surprises and suspenseful moments. I really, really enjoyed it and relished the story!
*I received a copy of The Tutor’s Daughter 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.