Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review: The Girl in the Gatehouse

Publisher: Bethany House
Genre: Fiction; Historical Romance; 1800s Era; Christian Fiction
Number of Pages: 391

     Mariah Aubrey has left the only home she ever knew, now takes her haunting secret with her, and Miss Dixon as her only companion. When Captain Bryant comes to lease the estate where the gatehouse she lives in resides, fear begins to eat away at her once more. Fear of being found out as a female author, writing being her only means of making a living. Fear of her past being discovered. Fear of losing the only home she now has. Fear that she will never be allowed a chance at love again.

Star Rating:

      3.5 stars (I liked it pretty well.)

Content Rating:

     PG (recommended to 13&up)

My Opinions:
     What I liked/loved - Don't get me wrong, this book was great. There was a good bit of mystery and questions that needed answered to pull you along through its pages. Julie Klassen also happens to be one of my favorite authors, having read four of her books that are this sort of fiction.

The regency era (historical fiction, really) with some romance mixed in is one of my favorite genres. Her two books The Apothecary's Daughter and The Silent Governess are on my favorite books' list.

The relationship between Mariah and Captian Bryant is not anything to worry about. Thankfully there are some sweet, charismatic moments for those romantics at heart. What historical romance would be complete without them?

There is just something about when a relationship unfolds slowly, and I get to have  those times when I hold my breath or sigh happily.

     What I didn't like/hated - However, this book did fall a bit short of my hopeful expectations. I knew some other reviewers had found it to be a bit slow and not one of her best works, but I tried to maintain a bright outlook as I read it. This book took me forever to finish though, and it was not until about halfway through that it finally started to really grab my attention.

I found it too easy to set it aside, and took a break or two to finish/read other books in between finishing this one (something I usually try to avoid). The conclusion was satisfying, and I did not regret spending my time on it, but I have to agree that this was not her best work- though still a good one. Maybe because it was confined to such a small area (no traveling really), it did not give my mind enough places to wander.

     This book is still worth reading, especially if you love historical romances with a bit more story to them... or if you would like to see what life for a female writer in the 1800s might be like... or if you love Jane Austen's book Persuasion. Sadly, it won't be going on my "favorite books' list" though. 

Content (For Those Who Wonder):
     Language - None.

     Sensuality - Some. There are some kissing scenes, and talk about a shady past (a girl was taken advantage of when she was younger as well as Mariah's fall, is made clear, but there aren't any disturbing or inappropriate details). There are a few "sensual" moments in referencing to Mariah's past, her feelings towards a man, and when a man embarrasses her in front of a small party. Though nothing is really inappropriate, and is suitable for most ages.

     Violence - Hardly any, Captain Bryant suffers from nightmares and guilt from his time at war, and we also hear the story of another captain's experiences. Nothing very gruesome or gory though.

     Other - No other content to note or worry about. But I will mention this is a Christian book, so mention of God, faith, etc. do make some appearances for any of those wondering. 

Check out this book on:  Amazon or Barnes&Noble!!

Have you read this book? Any related books? What were your thoughts?
I'd like to know! I am always open for new reading suggestions as well.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

WINNER for the 2013 Summer Reading Challenge

Sooo, I'll be quick and tell you who won! Right after this brief commercial break. . .

(I had everyone who completed the challenge listed on a document, in no particular order just how I happened to record them down, and then counted the total books read. I used to generate a random number. Whatever number book the random number correlated with was the winner! Just so everyone knows I tried to make sure it was random, but fair. I had no say over who the winner was.)


Yay, go Savannah!!! With 8 books read during this five week challenge, I guess it's no wonder she won! I am so glad that I had multiple people reading alongside me, it was a lot of fun and I hope to do it again. Would you like to know what some of you read for this challenge? Then keep on reading!

Savannah read:
Chosen by Ted Dekker
How do I love thee? by Nancy Moser
The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen
20 Duggars and Counting by Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar
The Silent Gift by Michael Landon Jr. & Cindy Kelley
Renegade by Ted Dekker
Black by Ted Dekker
The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

"My favorite book from this challenge was Black (first of the circle series) by Ted Dekker. Sometimes Ted's books can be a bit too dark and scary for my taste, but this one was not that way at all. I really enjoyed the suspense and uncertainty of the story, it kept me wanting to always read more. I hope to read the second book in this series as soon as possible." - Savannah W.

Jackson read:
Life After Art by Matt Appling
The Heir by Paul Robertson
Afloat by Erin Healy

"The 5 in 5 book challenge encouraged and motivated me to devote more time to reading. It came during a time where I was already quite busy with various projects I had going on, but I was still able to read over 3 books. Even though I didn't make it to the goal of 5 books, I'm still glad I joined in, because I read a lot more than I would have without the challenge. Just goes to show that most people have enough time to read, they just have to sit down and do it." - Jackson D.

He also started Amanda Bell by Jeff Minick, but didn't finish it before the challenge ended... Now Sarah didn't complete the challenge either, but she got some stuff read and listened to!

Sarah read:
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

"So, my battle plan to conquer the challenge was this genius scheme involving specific books with the difficulty level according to how busy my schedule was. Genius, yeah? Here’s more how it went:

  1. As an avid fan of both the movies and the BBC show, I’d threaten turning in my geek card if I didn’t read the original Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Great kickoff, right?
  2. Criminy. Barely halfway a week later. Why did I choose the 200 year old crime novel that requires more attention than a chemistry textbook? Cue frantic reaching for something a little lighter. Maybe involving kittens or rainbows or food.
  3. When in doubt, just blaze through that book you’ve already polished off 27 ½ times before! French Women Don’t Get Fat to the rescue. Phew. 2 weeks, 2 books.
  4. Forgot about that 10 day mission trip. Time to break out the killer thriller (The Bride Collector). Maybe something intense will keep me up at night and practically read itself! Maybe not greatest idea in a foreign country.
  5. At least my excuse is good. I was too busy serving God! Got some great looks/comments on the plane ride, e.g. “The Bride Collector? Is that about Mormons?” and “Wow Sarah, are those meat hooks on the cover?”
  6. And my cousin flies in for the week! Went to B&N and successfully blew enough time reading sections of roughly 43.2 dozen books to have read just one. (Flower Arrangement Recipes! Wait: Artemis Fowl graphic novel?! I’ve always wondered what Divergent was about… Hold the phone! The Making of Downton Abbey! Crafting With Cat Hair—yep, gotta check it out…)
  7. Maybe the Great Gatsby movie might count….?
  8. Aha! Little Critter’s Big Book of Kid’s Stories is over 200 pages!
  9. Last day? I give up—and give in to the audiobook (The Tipping Point)! Not only did I make half a scarf listening to it, I got a fascinating discussion prompt about the steep decline in New York’s crime in 1996! Just ask my friends, though—they did not find it as interesting as I did.

This was how it went for me, but I know this has got to be close to what happens to you readers! That book that’s a bite more than you can chew…that one you’re slightly embarrassed to admit you read since it might be thought of as a few reading levels below you…that over-read go-to…that quarter-read one that practically owns a bookmark…
Readers unite!
There’s always next summer.
And we can borrow the book the winner gets with the gift card, right? :) " - Sarah M.

Haha, at least all of you who didn't finish the challenge can feel better knowing I didn't either! Be on the lookout for some book reviews headed your way. . .

Stop by again some time soon!