Giveaway, Review, and Download: The Girl in the Gatehouse

Renee Ann Smith —  April 9, 2011 — 42 Comments

Update: Winner of this sweet story is Tracy! I’ll be emailing you soon!

“When my mother and father forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”~~Psalm 17:10

This verse kept running through my mind as I read Julie Klassen’s historical novel, The Girl in the Gatehouse. In the story, Mariah Aubrey stumbles into disgrace and, as a result, is harshly rejected by her autocratic father. He banishes his heartbroken daughter from their home—with only a brief good-bye for her mother and sister—and hides her away in a relative’s gatehouse. It is there, in a quiet corner of a country estate, which happens to be across the street from the poorhouse, that she builds a new family from the eccentric and endearing characters who come her way—servants, orphans, outcasts, and even a handsome Navy captain.

In writing this story, Julie Klassen was inspired by Jane Austen as she created her main character, premise, and a few scenes, and I know many of you are Jane Austen fans. However, I sometimes find an Austen novel a bit cutting in its treatment of a character’s weaknesses. Also, it seems to me that Austen often portrays the secondary characters as either scoundrels or fools.

So the tone of The Girl in the Gatehouse reminded me more of one of my best-loved authors: Louisa May Alcott. Mariah is a secret author, like Jo March in Little Women. She is rejected by proper society, like Phoebe from Rose in Bloom. Mariah and her friends perform the theatricals she has written, as do Jo March and her sisters. And the gatehouse world is peopled by unconventional folks who charm and entertain—as are Louisa May Alcott’s warm, homey novels.

(Follow this link to download a copy of Rose in Bloom for your Kindle for $.99, or at this link, it’s free in several formats.)

I loved how Mariah was pulled into the lives of the poorhouse inhabitants and soon became enmeshed in their troubles more than her own. And I would have a difficult time choosing a favorite out of the droll characters she comes to love. Would it be the tough old sailor who uses his spyglass to look into her garden from the roof of the poorhouse? Or maybe the boys who stretch a rope across the road to catch a girl for kissing Friday? Perhaps sweet Miss Amy with her love of scarlet knitting thread and gentle words of wisdom . . .

And since I’m a suspense lover, any novel that combines charming characters, an inspirational thread, dashes of romance, plus a mystery will always win me over. I enjoyed piecing together the mystery along with Mariah and was surprised at how—without any dead bodies to be found or deranged killers on the loose—it kept me turning pages.

Did you also read and review The Girl in the Gatehouse? If so, link up your review here at Edgy Inspirational Romance.

I’m always happy to find a modern-day novelist who carries on the tradition of great authors from the past. How about you? Who are your favorite authors from years gone by, and who have you found to bring you similar stories today? I’d love for you to share any suggestions with me in the comments section.

Follow this link to view Julie Klassen’s Amazon Author’s Page so you can pick up this book or one of her other novels. The paperback versions of her books are $5 and $6. The Girl in the Gatehouse is $7.68 for your Kindle.

***Thanks to Bethany House Publishing for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

Christian Fiction Book Club News: The next book club meeting is on May 21st to discuss the book Words by Ginny Yttrup. Joy, who began this online book club, has the whole schedule listed in this post. I’ve read two of the upcoming novels–Digitalis and The Preacher’s Bride–and they were GREAT!!

Here’s the book blurb for Words: Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn’t speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary. Sierra Dawn is thirty-four and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter’s death, the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself. Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word-Jesus Christ. You can read the reviews and purchase the book at this link.

And, finally, the Giveaway: I’m giving away my copy of The Girl in the Gatehouse to one fortunate reader! All you have to do is let me know that you wish to be included in the drawing when you comment. I’ll announce the winner on Monday!

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

42 responses to Giveaway, Review, and Download: The Girl in the Gatehouse

  1. The Girl in the Gatehouse sounds like an excellent book. I didn’t choose to read it because the blurb seemed less than enticing. Your review is much more beguiling.

    I shall be joining the group for Words, by Jenny Yttrup. Last month both my mate and I had surgery, and then I got the flu — which he also had to copy! That man … 😉

  2. I want to be included! It sounds like a wonderful book!!

  3. Oh, now that you mention it, I totally agree, this book did have a Little Women feel to it! Good call.

    I’ll have to check out Roses in Bloom too.

    I find it amazing that parents regularly just shunned their kids in those days, sending them off when they did something wrong. I can’t even imagine.

    • I agree about the shunning . . . even parents who have to resort to tough love aren’t supposed to pretend their kids don’t exist! I was glad this main character found so many other folks who needed her.

  4. i would love to read julie klassen’s latest novel…i enjoyed her previous books…and i loved the verse you selected that introduces the reader to this novel…thanks for the chance to read it, renee. :)

  5. No need to enter me in the giveaway, but I did want to congratulate you for finaling in the Genesis!! I’m so excited for you and others!!

    • Thanks, Julia! It was so timely because I was going through a season of asking God if I should continue down this path. So even if I don’t make it to the finals, this lets me know I’m headed in the right direction. And that has me grinning really big today!

  6. Great review! It has been fun to read everyone’s different opinions about the book. And by the way, I love love love your posting for new FREE kindle downloads. Thanks so much!

  7. Unfortunately today there are still a lot of cast off children — children of drug abusers & alcoholics, those abused by “stepfathers”, etc. But now it is the parents’ sins that are causing their children to be cast off.

    Enjoyed your post. No need to enter me in the drawing.

  8. I’ve heard so much about this book….am anxious to read it so please enter me!
    Thanks!!!
    jackie.smithATdishmailDOTnet

  9. Great review. I’d love to be included in the giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity.

  10. Enter me in the drawing!! Looks like a great book.

  11. Definitely would luv the book Renee Ann! thx for the offer and the great review. also, appreciated the link for Rose in Bloom “)

  12. It does sound like a very interesting book. It is almost like a fairy tale with a princess hidden away from the world.

    CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

  13. It was a great book! I like your comparison to Louisa May Alcott…it fits! Excellent review.

  14. Oh wow did you bring back the memories with that book cover of Rose in Bloom!!!! I read that ages upon ages ago in school and had completely forgotten about it until now. I MUST go find that book and buckle down and read The Girl in the Gatehouse LOL! I’m glad you liked it. :-)

  15. Sounds a great giveaway! I’d love to be entered.

    Please count me in. Thanks.

    avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

  16. This looks like another great book! Thanks for sharing about it on NOBH! I would love to entered into your giveaway! Thanks! Tracy

  17. I would love to be entered to win this amazing book. Thanks for this chance.

    ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  18. me me me … hehehe.. sounds like a great book! I want to be included in the giveaway =D

    http://www.theblogforbrides.com
    http://www.journeyofawoman.wordpress.com

  19. I would love to be included in the giveaway if its not too late. This sounds like a wonderful book.

    sasie9 [at] gmail [dot] com

  20. Love the blog. Found you on No Ordinary Blog Hop. I am now following you. Stop by for a visit some time.

    blessings,
    Jacqui
    http://www.homesteadbountyblessings.com

  21. Another great review!
    :)
    (not an entry)

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