Book Review: The Girl in the Gatehouse - by, Julie Klassen
Review By, Miguelina Perez
According to Miss Klassen, The Girl in the Gatehouse is “…something of a subtle ode to Jane (Austen), while having romance, mystery…” The “subtle ode” comes in the form of the heroine having to hide her passion for writing and society’s expectation of what a young woman’s role during Regency period should be. But, unlike any of Jane Austen’s depicted heroines, Miss Mariah Aubrey is not the conventional maiden, as a matter of fact, she is not a maiden, having believed herself in love and fooled into thinking that she would be married to the man she loves she gives herself to him in a moment of passion.
Her father believing that novels were to blame for her romantic notions and eventual downfall banishes her to live with an aunt in Whitmore. Like Jane Austen, Miss Aubrey hopes to supplement the small income her father provides through her writing. And like female authors of that period, Mariah struggles with keeping her identity a secret.
Throughout the entire novel Mariah spends it in angst over her mistake, but never so that she cannot help others in need or solve the mystery surrounding her and her new friends.
Klassen’s hero, Captain Matthew Bryant, is flawed in many ways. He sought fortune, prestige and property in the hopes of impressing the young lady who jilted him because her father did not think him good enough to marry his daughter. Bryant hopes that this time around since he possesses the qualities important to win the woman he loves, that he would succeed. However, these qualities are all of the materialistic kind, that is not to say he does not possess the qualities important to the makings of a hero for he is kind, brave, honest and loyal, indeed, but misguided nonetheless.
In their quest for love both Mariah and Captain Bryant alienate themselves from their families. The story moves slowly, but not in a way that distracts, if anything you are pulled into the reality of characters’ plight and their fictional world.
Miss Klassen’s novel is a sweet and touching story about making mistakes and forgiving oneself before forgiving others. We are human and to err is indeed a human trait and to forgive ourselves is being able to step above that humanity and achieve divinity. In forgiving ourselves we then forgive others leading us to find the peace and happiness that we deserve. It is not often we can read a story and walk away with such thought provoking ideals.
There are plenty of characters throughout the novel and because of her talent for storytelling you can’t help but get caught up in their pain, struggles, economical status, needs, and hunger for love.
While Miss Klassen reminds us that Jane Austen’s heroines remain pure in virtue and spirit, her Miss Aubrey remains pure in spirit and perhaps that is all that matters, especially in a society ridden with duplicity where its manners were concern.
The Girl in the Gatehouse is destined to become a classic and a must have for any personal library. I truly hope you enjoyed the review. For a copy of Ms. Klassen’s book, please visit Girl in the Gatehouse – Julie Klassen or click on the book cover.
Meet the Reviewer
Ms. Miguelina Perez is a writer, and jewelry artist. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of the District of Columbia. As a jewelry artist one of her lariats was showcased in the San Antonio Express-News. She has won several awards including a critical Writing award for an essay on the gender roles of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.
It was during her high school years at the school’s library that she first encountered her first romance mystery writer – Ms. Victoria Holt and then Ms. Phyllis J. Whitney. Her love of romance novels stems from those discoveries, especially the Romance mystery genre.
Several of her poems have been published in anthologies, and she was named “Poet of Year in 1995”. She finished her first book, The Vicar’s Deadly Sin – a Regency romance mystery, the first of a seven-part serial based on the Seven Deadly Sins.
Currently, she is editing the sequel to the Vicar’s Deadly Sin, “Angel’s Lust.” Her next project is a contemporary romance thriller called “A Hero of Her Own.”
You can find Miguelina's columns here at Pandora's Box Gazette on the 3rd Saturday each month. What did you think of this review? Are you excited to add this book to your reading list? Feel free to chat with Miguelina and post a comment below.