Is there hope for a scandalous, ruined woman? Especially in the early 1800’s? For The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen, the answer is yes! Sent away by her father to live in the gatehouse of her wealthy aunt’s estate, Mariah feels abandoned and has resigned herself to a life of isolation and rejection. To make ends meet, Mariah writes novels in a male-dominated publishing world. Finding success, she no longer despairs about her situation and begins to reach out to those in need at the poorhouse nearby. When a handsome naval captain rents her aunt’s estate, she begins to fall in love with him. Certain that she has no hope, she struggles with her feelings for him and those relating to her failure.
The Girl in the Gatehouse is a sweet, gentle story that includes a full cast of vibrant characters. Many of these characters surprised me with their depth and complexity. They inform Mariah and the reader that everyone has a story and what a person’s life looks like now is not necessarily how he or she has always lived.
The plot moved along just as I had hoped for an historical novel about this time period; it felt like I was living in the early 19th century. I also appreciated how the pace was tempered so that Mariah’s past transgression was revealed over the length of the book and not given all at once. It left me wondering whether it was just gossip or a real scandal that had landed Mariah in her present condition.
I was intrigued by the numerous mysteries woven into the fabric of the story. I am usually able to figure out these types of things fairly quickly, but there was one mystery that had me stumped until the end. Bravo!
The Girl in the Gatehouse is a charming story of love, loss and redemption that was hard to put down. It was a delightful Austen-esque read that is sure to appeal to fans of this genre and even introduce new readers to historical fiction.
I give this book 5 stars out of 5.
I received this book free from Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.