Tag Archives: Julie Klassen

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Quote Freebie!

24 May

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I read all parts of a book. That’s right — the prologue, the afterword, even the copyright page 😉 . I also read epigraphs — any quotes that the author chooses to begin the story. Many authors choose scripture or a quote that gives some insight into what their book is all about. I like to keep them in mind as I delve into the stories. Today I am sharing those quotes from random books on my shelves. In the cases of the author using several quotes, I randomly chose just one. Lots of genres represented — enjoy!

For more bookish quotes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Epigraphs — Quotes That Authors Chose to Begin Their Stories

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Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. Man ate of the bread of angels.

Psalm 78:23-25

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I speak of peace, while covert enmity

Under the smile of safety wounds the world

William Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part 2

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“I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind, but now I see.”

John Newton

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I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

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Love is not consolation. It is light.

Simone Weil

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Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 82:3-4

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Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.

Isaiah 52:2

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For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

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There’s a bit of magic in everything

And then some loss to even things out.

Lou Reed

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It is necessity and not pleasure that compels us.

Dante, The Inferno

Top 10 Tuesday — Coming Home to A Small Town

8 Mar

No, I cannot forget from where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be
— John Mellencamp

I wasn’t raised in a small town, although the Orlando area wasn’t huge before Disney. I would never say I had a small town upbringing, but I have lived in small towns all my married life. I love a small town, and I think it was the best environment for my children growing up. Is that why I love stories set in small towns? Maybe.

This week TTT is featuring favorite literary tropes. One of my favorites is a character that returns to their roots and discovers truths about their lives. Although the small town mystery/suspense novels I have on the list may make them regret their decision, at least for a while. 😉 I’ve included recent novels I have read — historical romance, women’s fiction, mystery/suspense, contemporary romance — something for everyone. I hope you find a small town to love too.

For more favorite tropes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Coming Home to A Small Town

After She Falls by Carmen Schober

The Cedar Key by Stephenia McGee

Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Inn on Hanging Hill by Christy Barritt

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Barritt

The Secret Place by Camille Eide

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

The Sound of Falling Leaves by Lisa Carter

Sunrise by Susan May Warren

Book Review: Shadows of Swanford Abbey

24 Jan

I love a good mystery and I love a good romance set in Regency England. I got both in Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen. This book kept me guessing until the very end — another plus! Recommended.

Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother’s desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.

The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey’s cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past–including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick–magistrate, widower, and former neighbor–who long ago broke her heart.

When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something. . . .

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her novels have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Minnesota Book Award, the Midwest Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit http://www.julieklassen.com and talesfromivyhill.com for more information.

My Impressions:

With nods to Agatha Christie and Jane Austen and other notable classic writers, Shadows of Swanford Abbey is a page-turning historical novel that has its own unique blend of mystery and romance. Julie Klassen has penned a very enjoyable book! The mystery, that I kept guessing at until the end, was what hooked me, but I loved the atmospheric setting and the likable characters. For Rebecca Lane, the return to her home village is filled with memories, mostly poignant, as she longs for better times and circumstances. A brother with issues keeps her on edge, while an old crush brings back feelings long buried. There is a great tension in this book, both in the romantic relationships and in the twisting mystery. I felt an urgency to find out whodunit and if Rebecca would get her happily-ever-after. This kept me reading and reading! Characters are not all they seem — enhancing the plot and giving readers some things to think about. There are themes of forgiveness, lost chances, and personal responsibility. Fans of the Regency era will enjoy the historical details. I especially liked learning about the legal rules of the day and the treatment of those with mental illness. Swanford Abbey provided its own character with hidden passages and ghosts — a great place to stage a murder. 😉 And for book nerds like me, the references to classic lit were fun.

Shadows of Swanford Abbey should appeal to a variety of readers with its historical, romantic, and mysterious plot threads. I heartily recommend it.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — Most Recent Additions

11 Jan

2022 is in full swing and I have some new books that have hit my shelves! The following books are the newest to take up residence. Many are review books — NetGalley copies and ARCs, so you’ll see my impressions in the coming weeks. I have also included 2 cookbook/entertaining books that I received for Christmas and am having so much fun with! Yes, I do have interests outside of reading fiction. 😉 Hope you find one that piques your interest.

For more bloggers’ recent acquisitions, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Newly Acquired Books

A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz

Jane And The Year Without Summer by Stephanie Barron

The Lady of Galway Manor by Jennifer Deibel

Life Flight by Lynette Eason

Malicious Intent by Lynn H. Blackburn

Medical Mystery by Richard Fabry

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

Sunrise by Susan May Warren

Baker Bettie’s Better Baking Book by Kristen Hoffman

Spectacular Spreads by Maegan Brown

Top 10 Tuesday — Winter TBR

14 Dec

I have scaled back my reading a bit in the past 2 years, due both to design and circumstances. My 2021 reading goal is 100 books. With 18 days left, my list stands at 90. I don’t think I am going to make it. 😉 Oh, well — life! Even with reduced time to read, I still plan to read some really great books. Today’s TTT list includes a variety of genres, which I like. I enjoy mixing it up a bit. I hope you find a book to love too!

To find out what other bloggers are reading this winter, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books on The Winter TBR

After She Falls by Carmen Schober

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

A Heart Adrift by Laura Frantz

A Light on The Hill by Connilyn Cossette

Saving Mrs. Roosevelt by Candice Sue Patterson

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews

Sunrise by Susan May Warren

Top 10 Tuesday: 2016 Releases I Didn’t Read (But Should)

10 Jan

My TBR pile has reached staggering heights since I started blogging. Is it possible to have too many books? I think the problem is really not enough time to read — stuff like laundry and work just keeps getting in the way! In an effort to read what is on my shelves in 2017, I am practicing saying no to shiny new books. We’ll see how long that lasts. 😉 In the meantime, here is a list of the books that were released in 2016 that I failed to read, but really, really plan to. Can we put a freeze on 2017 releases until I get caught up?

For other bloggers woefully behind on their reading, check out The Broke And The Bookish this week.

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2016 Books That I Need to Read

The Cottage by Michael Phillips

Delilah by Angela Hunt

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

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The End of Law by Therese Down

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hall by Julie Klassen

Lead Me Home by Amy Sorrells

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The Shattered Vigil by Patrick Carr

Sins of The Past by Dee Henderson/Dani Pettrey/Lynette Eason

You’re The One That I Want by Susan May Warren

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Have you read any of these 2016 releases?

Which one should I read first?

Book Review: The Painter’s Daughter

14 Apr

Unknown-1Sophie Dupont assists her father in his studio, keeping her own artwork out of sight. In private, she paints the picturesque north Devon coast, popular with artists–including handsome Wesley Overtree, who seems more interested in Sophie than the landscape.

Captain Stephen Overtree is accustomed to taking on his brother Wesley’s responsibilities. Near the end of his leave, he is sent to find his brother and bring him home. Upon reaching Devonshire, however, Stephen is stunned to learn Wesley has sailed for Italy and left his host’s daughter in serious trouble.

Stephen feels duty-bound to act, and strangely protective of the young lady, who somehow seems familiar. Wanting to make some recompense for his own past failings as well as his brother’s, Stephen proposes to Miss Dupont. He does not offer love, but marriage “in name only” to save her from scandal. If he dies in battle, as he fears, she will at least be a respectable widow.

Desperate for a way to escape her predicament, Sophie finds herself torn between her first love and this brooding man she barely knows. Dare she wait for Wesley to return? Or should she elope with the captain and pray she doesn’t come to regret it?

61+q3qQE98L._UX250_Julie Klassen loves all things Jane — Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her novels have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. Her book, The Silent Governess, was also a finalist in the Minnesota Book Awards, ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards, and Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit http://www.julieklassen.com for more information.

 

My Impressions:

Julie Klassen is a favorite with fans of historical romance, especially novels set in the British Regency era. The Painter’s Daughter is an example of why.
With period details, complex characterization and plot lines that will keep the pages turning, this novel also presents a strong message of Christ’s sacrifice. I loved this book — you will too!

Sophie Dupont, the shy and modest daughter of a talented painter, finds herself in love and in trouble. Seemingly deserted by her child’s father, Sophie’s options for a future are limited by the moral code of her day. Hoping she is choosing wisely for her child, Sophie embarks on a marriage of convenience. But secrets have a way of coming out . . . .

The reader is transported back to early 19th century England via Klassen’s meticulous eye to detail. From fashion to furnishings to manners, all aspects of life in the years of England’s Regency are revealed effortlessly. Characters, both major and supporting, are well-drawn. I came to care about timid and tender Sophie, impulsive Wesley and brusque Captain Overtree. The emotions and motives described run the gamut of the human experience and are just as relevant today as in the past. Although Sophie’s situation would be handled very differently in today’s world, the plot was always believable. The third person account is partly told in remembrances by the characters allowing for a natural unveiling of their past histories. With a marriage of convenience, a contentious love triangle and sizzling scenes, The Painter’s Daughter gives fans of romance more than enough to savor. Captain Overtree’s strong faith is used to point to Christ’s love — he is an excellent example of sacrifice and unconditional love.

Beautifully detailed and historically accurate with complex characters, The Painter’s Daughter is a highly recommended read. A good bet for book clubs that like historical fiction too.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(Thanks to Bethany House for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR List

15 Mar

I can hardly believe it is Spring already! But the time jumped ahead and the azaleas and pear trees are blooming outside my window, so it must be true. Today’s theme for Top 10 Tuesday hosted by The Broke and The Bookish is Spring TBR List. I have lots of fabulous books on my list — including biblical fiction, mysteries, romantic suspense and historical romance. What are you reading in the days ahead?

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Spring 2016 TBR List

Annabel Lee by Mike Nappa

Bathsheba by Angela Hunt

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

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A Fool And His Monet by Sandra Orchard

The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer

Lydia’s Song — Katherine Blessan

The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen

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Picture Perfect Murder by Rachel Dylan

Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham

You’re The One That I Want by Susan May Warren

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That’s what I’m reading.

How about you?

Book Review: The Dancing Master

10 Jan

210709Finding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch’s daughter. Though he’s initially wary of Julia Midwinter’s reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul–and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master–a man her mother would never approve of–but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec’s help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village…and to her mother’s tattered heart?

JKlassen-117Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–”Jane Eyre” and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She is a three-time Christy Award winner and a 2010 Midwest Book Award winner for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

My Impressions:

The Dancing Master is the third novel I have read by Julie Klassen, and while not my all-time favorite (The Girl in The Gatehouse), it is still a good choice for fans of Regency fiction. Filled with entertaining characters, a quaint setting and echoes of Jane Austen and the Brontes, The Dancing Master is a good book to spend the cold winter nights with.

A duel, betrayal of affections and the loss of loved ones has caused Lady Amelia Midwinter, the benefactor of many in the small town of Beaworthy, Devon, to ban dancing. Afraid to lose her patronage, local citizens and businesses have followed her lead for twenty years. Alec Valcourt comes to the quiet village to restore his family honor and to reestablish his profession of dancing master. Met with discouragement and sometimes open hostility, Alec pursues his dreams and Lady Amelia’s daughter, Julia.

The Dancing Master deals with a variety of themes — secrets kept, betrayal, grudges and regrets. Many of the characters struggle with duty versus following their dreams. The two main characters are Alec Valcourt and Miss Julia Midwinter, but I was immediately drawn into Lady Amelia’s character. She is a puzzle. Seen as stern and aloof by everyone, including her daughter, Amelia has kept her warm, loving nature well hidden. I think she wants to do what is best for Julia and Beaworthy, but has let a broken heart and broken dreams color all she does. There are also some good minor characters that add flavor to the story — Miss Tinkle the baker, the dissenter/ranter Thorne family and even the despicable wrassling champions Felton and Joe. For Jane Austen fans, there are lots of hints of her books, from the dialogue to the character nuances. I was reminded of Emma, especially, while reading The Dancing Master.

Klassen includes a strong thread of faith in the novel as well. While there is much to regret and some characters struggle with self-worth, God’s redemption and love is shared throughout. So if you want a Regency novel complete with the manners and customs of the day and a story that includes a strong faith message, then check out The Dancing Master.

Recommended.

For other reviews, click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse for my review copy. All opinions are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

Best-selling author Julie Klassen will be hosting a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway and a live webcast event (1/23) to celebrate the release of her latest novel, The Dancing Master. Filled with mystery and romance,The Dancing Master brings to life the social graces of ladies and gentlemen hoping to make a “good match” in Regency England.

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One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 23rd. Winner will be announced at the “All Things Jane (from Austen to Eyre)” Live Webcast Event on January 23rd. Connect with Julie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Julie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, Jane Austen and Jane Eyre DVDs, fun “Jane” merchandise, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of The Dancing Master and join Julie and friends on the evening of January 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)

DON’T MISS A MOMENT OF THE FUN; RSVP TODAY BY SIGNING UP FOR A REMINDER. TELL YOUR FRIENDS VIA FACEBOOK OR TWITTER AND INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE 23RD!

Book Review: The Tutor’s Daughter

23 Jan

210693_w185Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor’s Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast–a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions–where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

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? 

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JKlassen-117Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

My Impressions:

In her biography Julie Klassen says she loves all things Jane — Jane Austen and Jane Eyre. If you do too, then you should pick up a copy of her latest Regency-era novel, The Tutor’s Daughter. Emma Smallwood is a little stiff when it comes to her personal life, yet she comes alive with passion when surrounded by her books. She has lived a quiet life helping her father in his boys’ academy and has suffered from the loss of her mother and subsequent loss of trust in God. In order to bring her father out of his 2 year decline since her mother’s death and to combat the failing finances of his school, Emma contacts the father of former pupils and embarks on a new adventure to the wilds of Cornwall. Whispers of Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice surround the shadowy Cornwall estate and its inhabitants. But The Tutor’s Daughter is not a remix of old classics, it is a fresh look at human nature and God’s provision.

I especially enjoyed the historical elements of The Tutor’s Daughter — from the running of a great estate, to the class distinctions, to the history of ship wrecks off the Cornish coast. Traveling with Emma, brings the early 19th century to life for the reader. The characters also bring spice to the story. The mysterious goings on will satisfy those who like suspense and intrigue, and the romance will appeal to those who devour historical romance novels.

The Tutor’s Daughter is another great read of 2013.

Highly Recommended.

(I received The Tutor’s Daughter from LitFuse in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read other reviews, click HERE.

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Julie is celebrating the publication of The Tutor’s Daughter by giving away one of the new Paperwhite Kindles, Downton Abbey (season 3) and hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook (January 31st).

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One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Paperwhite
  • Downton Abbey, Season 3
  • A Julie Klassen library (The Tutor’s Daughter, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 30th. Winner will be announced at The Tutor’s Daughter Author Chat Party on January 31st. Connect with Julie, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be gift certificates, books, and season 3 of Downton Abbey!

So grab your copy of The Tutor’s Daughter and join Julie on the evening of the January 31st for a chance to connect with Julie and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)