Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?
The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her....
When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?
I don't usually write a review of a book the same day I finish reading it because I like to take a little time to mull it over, to figure out what I think of it. Not this time. This time, I needed to get my impressions down while they are still so vivid in my mind and before I get swept up into another adventure. That is a sign of how much I liked this book.
Based on the blurb, I thought I was going to like it, so I jumped right in, eager to see if my instincts were right about it. At first, I began to wonder about this as the book started out a little slow - at the academy - and I wanted to get to the good parts, which I knew would take place once father and daughter arrived in Cornwall. I almost gave up, at first, because I feared my interest would wane before they even left for their journey, but I persevered and I'm so glad I did. For once Emma Smallwood and her father reached the family seat of the Weston family, the story really began to pick up and had me reading well into the night to see how it all turned out!
I have to say, I loved the characters in this book. Good or bad, they were drawn with such an expert hand, I couldn't help but have a reaction to them. Emma and Henry Weston were so finely matched, you couldn't help but to root for them and hope that they would end up together in the end despite all of their travails, differences, and reasons why they should not. Henry's brothers were deliciously ambiguous, so I often found myself wondering if they were good or bad. That just added to the plot, heightening the tension to wonderful degrees because it always keeps you guessing. Are they behind the mysterious events occurring at the Manor? Or do they know who is? Perhaps most important, will they do anything to stop them before someone gets hurt?
I'm not going to tell you. If you rally want to know, and trust me, you will, then you have to read this book for yourself. With shades of the great classics that came before it - indeed, this is my idea of what Jane Eyre would've been like if penned by Jane Austen - The Tutor's Daughter is a must read for anyone looking for a new classic in a similar vein. So whether you're a fan of Jane Austen of Charlotte Bronte, or both, you will soon become a fan of Julie Klassen once you read this wonderful book.