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Customer Reviews for Bethany House The Girl in the Gatehouse

Bethany House The Girl in the Gatehouse

Miss Mariah Aubrey, banished after a scandal, hides herself away in a long-abandoned gatehouse on the far edge of a distant relative's estate. There, she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how-by writing novels in secret.

Captain Matthew Bryant, returning to England successful and wealthy after the Napoleonic wars, leases an impressive estate from a cash-poor nobleman, determined to show the society beauty who once rejected him what a colossal mistake she made. When he discovers an old gatehouse on the property, he is immediately intrigued by its striking young inhabitant and sets out to uncover her identity, and her past. But the more he learns about her, the more he realizes he must distance himself. Falling in love with an outcast would ruin his well-laid plans.

The old gatehouse holds secrets of its own. Can Mariah and Captain Bryant uncover them before the cunning heir to the estate buries them forever?

Average Customer Rating:
4.673 out of 5
4.7
 out of 
5
(55 Reviews) 55
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Rating Snapshot (55 reviews)
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54 out of 5598%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Review 1 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Another great book by Klassen!

Date:November 1, 2013
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Katt
Location:Minnesota
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I enjoy Klassen's stories and have now read all she has written. New book coming in January!
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Review 2 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:September 17, 2013
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Rynn
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I enjoyed this book. Although all of the books I have read by Julie Klassen have been good, this has to be one of my two favorites. The characters are believable and it was great to read a book about people looking for God's plan in their lives and the power of love and forgiveness. If you start this book, you won't understand why I love it unless you read it all the way through. I hope you enjoy it a much as I did.
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Review 3 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Good way to spend a Saturday evening...

Date:March 24, 2013
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The Quiet Eccentric
Location:Canada
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I read this book in an evening, so obviously it kept my interest. I've read quite a few of Julie Klassen's books, and this was probably one of the better ones.
This story was about love, forgiveness and finding beauty through hardships. I was certainly intrigued by the main characters, but I think it was all the secondary characters that really brought the story to life.
All in all, it was worth spending my evening on, but I don't think I'll ever read it again. I would recommend it to fans of Julie's and those who enjoy a "Jane Austen era" novel.
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Review 4 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Enjoyable happily-ever-after story

Date:February 6, 2013
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Debbie from ChristFocus
Location:Harrison, AR
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
"The Girl in the Gatehouse" is a Christian historical romance set in 1813 in England. This novel was a Regency romance, but it came from a slightly different viewpoint than the usual respectable heroes and heroines. The manners and propriety were there, but there were also a few stolen, private kisses. And the heroine is a girl who was tempted and mislead into "giving in" to the man she thought intended to marry her. Now she's now having to deal with the resulting disgrace.
The characters were engaging, varied, and acted in realistic ways. I liked how the ex-naval officers got bored with living like gentlemen and wanted more action. The main suspense was from relationship tensions, uncovering various secrets, and wondering if Mariah's books would do well enough to pay the rent. The end got a little complicated with the number of secrets exposed and righted. But it's a happily-ever-after sort of story even if there were some sad parts for Mariah before getting there.
The Christian element was about forgiveness. Mariah felt unworthy of God (so she didn't go to church) and unworthy of being loved. Bryant was kind toward Mariah and wanted to somehow remove the scandal attached to her name, but when he realized he loved her and that her past would affect him personally, it was a little harder. It was a natural issue for them to struggle with.
There were no graphic sex scenes and no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel.
+1point
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Review 5 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Woman With Resilience

Date:May 31, 2012
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Annette
Location:Texas
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The year is 1813 and early autumn. Mariah Aubrey and her former nanny Miss Dixon have said a tearful but swift goodbye to her parents and younger sister Julia. By carriage they travel for 2 days until they reach sheep country and then a village named Whitmore. Just outside of town lies the 17th Century English manor house named Windrush Court. Aubrey's aunt Fran, or as she is called now Mrs. Prin-Hallsey, has given permission for Aubrey and Miss Dixon to "take refuge" in the gatehouse. The gatehouse is small, dusty, and in "disrepair." The house is "built of Cotswold stone and has twin turreted towers." It takes much polish and scrubbing to make the house a home to be lived in. With the gatehouse comes a much needed mouser named Chaucer. Across the road from the gatehouse is the derelict poorhouse. It is an ominous and grim building. Mariah is a young woman in her early 20's. She has been forced to leave home because of something she was involved in that has now tarnished her reputation. Throughout most of the book the reader is only given hints at what had happened to Mariah. Meanwhile Naval Captain Matthew Bryant becomes the new renter of the manor house. He and Mariah become friends, yet each of them have a past they are trying to reconcile with.
I read this book immediately after finishing The Maid of Fairbourne Hall also by Julie Klassen. Both of these books I enjoyed reading immensely!
Mariah is a character with a different story than most of the characters I've read with a similar background or environment. It is true she was raised in a wealthy home with household staff that cared for her every need. But, she rises to her situation in learning those things she'd not been taught before, because she had been a "lady." I admired her resilience facing an unknown future with a well-known disreputable reputation.
The culture of Mariah's era was that a young woman had to maintain her reputation in order to marry well. There were no other options for a woman, you married and had children. A woman was provided for by her father and then by her husband. It really was a man's world. In Mariah's character and story I could better understand a young womans lack of choice and predicament.
I love England, all things England. I loved the description of the gatehouse and the manor house. I loved reading any bit of information about the countryside.
When I was first introduced to Mrs. Prin-Hallsey I did not like her repugnant attitude at all. Although as the story progressed I grew to like the mystery behind the "twinkle in her eye."
The Girl in the Gatehouse is less about Christian " fill-in words" and more about love and forgiveness displayed in action. I loved this point most of all. We are all fallen people in need of redemption, none of us are without fault--without sin. Mariah, like all of us needs the response from the Christian community of love and forgiveness.
Thank you to Bethany House and An Open Book for my free review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 6 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:May 26, 2012
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Army Mom
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Julie Klassen has written another excellent book. I loved the idea that heroines character, Mariah, even though she was banished from her home, she was determined to survive on her own. I also loved that fact that she and Matthew didn't fall for each other two pages after they met. Their relationship developed throughout the book and that was much more fun for me. This book was well written, well edited and absolutely worth adding to your library.
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Review 7 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fresh Voice and Unique Story!

Date:February 18, 2012
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Carrie
Location:Virginia
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Julie Klassen doesn't write like anyone else that I know. I love that she gives us fresh writing that is not constrained by formulas and rule-following despite her having been an editor herself! Her main characters and minor are vibrant and memorable. The romance was realistic and full of great tension.
Many of the other Regencies I have read all sound alike. But Klassen's fresh voice shines throughout the story telling.
Mariah Aubry is hiding in her relative’s gatehouse, with a view of a building nearby that houses a number of needy souls. And she has a secret – she’s a novelist (which I love because I write fiction!) Captain Matthew Bryant is too good for the conniving beauty who threw him aside for another wealthier man. But he has to struggle with his own demons as he charts a new course for his life. Within the gatehouse is something that will change their lives if they can keep it from her deceased aunt’s wicked stepson. Ms. Klassen does a great job of keeping the reader wondering about the hero and the antagonist and provides a wonderfully satisfying ending to the story.
Lovely job with the spiritual arc which is embedded well within the story line.
+2points
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Review 8 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great book!

Date:February 9, 2012
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Karen S Wolford
Location:Ohio
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Once again Julie Klassen has written an ecellent book. Her details enable you to feel like you are right there in the story.
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Review 9 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great book & great author.

Date:February 8, 2012
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Elisabeth Lutz
Location:Hackettstown, NJ
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I always enjoy reading books by Julie Klassen - she never disappoints me. And this book was exceptionally good.
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Review 10 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

A charming story for summer reading

Date:July 13, 2011
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April E
Location:KS
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Sent away by her family, with scandal nipping at her heels, Mariah Aubrey just wants to live a quiet, secluded life in the gatehouse at her aunt's estate. Alone, with only a servant-companion, she strives to create a new life for herself. When her expenses exceed her allowance, she attempts to secretly sell novels she has written under the pseudonym "Lady A".
Shortly after Mariah's arrival at the gatehouse, her aunt dies and the house is rented to a naval captain. Captain Matthew Bryant has become wealthy through his service in the Napoleonic Wars. Bryant is intent on proving his worth to the woman who rejected him before the wars as he sets up house on the estate. As Bryant and Mariah develop a friendship, they work together to help those living in the poor house, including the mysterious man on the roof. Life has surprises for both of them, as their plans do not turn out as they'd hoped.
Though I could guess well in advance that Captain Matthew Bryant and Mariah Aubrey would fall in love, I didn't expect the many twists that would appear in their story. The subplots add interest to the story, and it concludes with happy endings for (almost) everyone. I confess that I felt more as if I were observing from a distance than a participant. I found the book interesting, but not emotionally engaging.
I enjoyed revisiting England during the Napoleonic era while reading The Girl In The Gatehouse. The Girl In The Gatehouse was an enjoyable and relaxing "summer read".
This book was provided free in exchange for my honest reivew, by Bethany House Publishing.
+1point
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Review 11 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

•°o•:*¨¨*:•. MOST ENJOYABLE .•:*¨¨*:• o°•

Date:July 9, 2011
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Heather Guerrero, Homeschool Mom to 2Blessings
Location:CORONA, CA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I truly enjoyed this book. The friendship of Mariah and Matthew developed sweetly and naturally. The story immediately opens filled with mystery. There are wonderful characters throughout and various levels of faith portrayed in them.
The author describes some very interesting facts in great detail; such as how Mariah made a quill pen and how she made her own ink. Figgy Dowdy was a featured dish… it would have been nice if the author better described what that was. I learned online that it is an English pudding, which is a distant relative to the dish: Spotted Dick. Early in Naval history is was made from ships biscuits, dried fruit, pork fat and rum.
Tea was featured throughout, as is appropriate in England during that time. Along with Christian faith, I love reading about tea times woven throughout a book. It is lovely and relaxes any scene. I enjoyed that greatly. (The book notes that the author is a Jane Austen and Jane Eyre fan).
Another great aspect… this book made me laugh out loud several times, showing how clever the author can be.
Things I would appreciate: recipes in the back (a fun extra when an author cares to share them! And a glossary of old fashioned terms is most helpful, so that we may learn and grow our own vocabulary.
[Recipe I found online for Figgy Dowdy may be found at: http://www.traditionalenglishpuddings.co.uk/f1figgydowdy.html]
Things that ARE included:
*Discussion Questions for the reader to ponder or for a Book Club :)
*Author’s Notes regarding historical references and also that The Gatehouse featured on the cover is the actual Gatehouse the author pictured when writing the story. How interesting.
*Each chapter opens with a random quote the author wished to share; such as: “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book!” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. How appropriate! ;)
+1point
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Review 12 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Couldn't put the book down until I was finished!

Date:June 18, 2011
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Joyful Books
Location:Washoe Valley, NV
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The girl in the gatehouse
By Julie Klassen
“Banished from the only home she’s ever known, Mariah Aubrey hides herself away in an abandoned gatehouse on a distant relative’s estate. There she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she know how-by writing novels in secret.
When Captain Matthew Bryant leases the estate, he is intrigued by the beautiful girl in the gatehouse. But there are many things he doesn’t know about this beguiling outcast. Will he risk his plans-and his heart-for a woman shadowed by scandal?
Intriguing, mysterious, and romantic, The Girl in the Gatehouse takes readers inside the life of a secret authoress at a time when novel-writing was considered improper for ladies and the smallest hint of impropriety could change a woman’s life forever.”
~
REVIEW:
If you like Regency Era books then you will like The Girl in the Gatehouse. Have you ever made a mistake and then spent your life not blaming God for your problems, but rather feeling unworthy of God’s love? Often it is difficult to embrace forgiveness and get passed the bumps in our past. This book reminds the reader that life is about seasons. Life is about closing one chapter and moving on to a new. Making new choices is not always easy, sometimes the choice is made for you as your past is revealed, but then often comes forgiveness and healing.
I loved the book Girl in the Gatehouse. There were several characters with secrets in their pasts to solve and lives that intertwined. I loved the fact that the main character was a writer and the struggle of writing novels was part of the book. The Girl in the Gatehouse was a fun journey for anyone who loves a good “Jane Austen” influenced novel.
I received this book for free from Bethany House Publisher’s.
+1point
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Review 13 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Loved this book!

Date:June 16, 2011
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Laury
Location:Waynesville, IL
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Girl in the Gatehouse. Julie Klassen. 2011. [January 2011]. Bethany House. 400 pages.
I actually got to sit and read a book for pure enjoyment since school has been out! The Girl in the Gatehouse has been waiting for me and I for it. It was worth it!
If you are drawn to Jane Austin type books, this one is for you, but I, for one, am not - but still, I very much enjoyed it. I became engrossed in the character of Mariah Aubrey and her companion, Susan Dixon and the many characters that intercepted into their lives.
There were many plots and mysteries that slowly were revealed and knotted and untied throughout the book. It was fun to try to figure things out and it was fun to be wrong time and time again.
I liked the innocent romances, unlike the books that fall into our hands today. So nicely written, this book is a book within a book within a book, within a book.... you will figure this out as you read yourself.
I go and read bits and pieces of other people's reviews and they reveal too much of the books, if you ask me. I say, give you a hint and let you go read. I mean it - go get the book. Right now! It's just a click away on Amazon or Christianbooks.com. I highly recommend it. There are very good Christian analogies and values hidden along the way. Great summer reading out on the beach or hiding in your bedroom on a warm, lazy summer day. Of course, that's not where I'm writing this currently. Of course not!
Bethany House continually puts out wonderful books and I'm thankful to be able to get hold of this one. Are you still here? Go! Shoo! Go. Buy. the book! The Girl in the Gatehouse.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Bethany House Publishers' book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
+1point
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Review 14 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

This book is a great read.

Date:June 8, 2011
Customer Avatar
seabe
Location:Fallon, NV
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Writing stories was not an accepted activity for ladies in the early 1800’s. I’m well educated and I’m sure I’ve heard it before but didn’t realize this fact. I found it especially interesting that they didn’t think women should use their creativity in this area. It definitely reminds me of how lucky I am to live in this day and age where women are free to pursue almost any interest.
The main character, Mariah Aubrey, was well developed and was easy to fall in love with. She was mysteriously banished from her home and lifestyle to live in the gatehouse of Windrush Court belonging to a distant relative. Then there is Captain Matthew Bryant, who has come to Windrush Court to win back the love of his life. Both main characters, and most of the supporting characters are not exactly who they appear to be. I found the story to be very intriguing and was unable to put it down until I had finished it. I definitely would recommend this story to anyone interested in historical fiction.
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for writing a review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
0points
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Review 15 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent Book

Date:May 31, 2011
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Texas Reader
Location:Frisco, Texas
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is one of the best things I have read in a long time. I loved the storyline and the characters. I take the books I enjoy for my mother to read when I travel to see her. I will definitely share this with her on my next visit. It will also be one book I ask her to keep. I will probably read this book again within the next year.
0points
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Review 16 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

the girl in the gatehouse review

Date:May 28, 2011
Customer Avatar
beckie
Age:35-44
Gender:female
I have read and received "The Girl in the Gatehouse" by Julie Klassen for free from Bethany House. The girl would be Mariah Aubrey and woman who have been banned from contact with her family and sent to live with her uncle's widow in a gatehouse. Her neighbors on the estate would be a handsom gentleman Cpt. Bryant, Hugh a horrid cousin of sorts, and the people of the poorhouse. Her only companion is Dixon, her former nanny. In desperate need of funds, Mariah begins to write novels to earn her rent. In secret of course. She also has to figure out the mystery of the man on the poorhouse roof who is signaling passing ships (yes, I said ships), avoid her cousin, and try not to fall in love with the captain.
"The girl in the gatehouse" is written with the influence and the style of the original queen of chick lit, Jane Austen. With all the formalities of their time, the Windrush Court crew have some pretty rigorous rules to live by. What is proper has some pretty strict guidelines. Makes one wonder how there could ever be a pregnancy out of wedlock. I, however, have done my geneology and know that one can get knocked up in 1800 just as easily as one can in 2000. And Mariah had done just that. Not the knocked up part, but the rest of it. Which is what led to her scandal. She also had to keep a low profile about her writing. At a time when reading a novel wasn't exactly scandalous for a woman, it certainly was not encouraged. However, writing one was. She was a woman before her time. I like the book. I seemed to go a little long. But the appreciation for a being a woman in THIS time can not go unmissed.
+3points
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Review 17 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Captivating Story

Date:May 27, 2011
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An Avid Reader
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The Girl in the Gatehouse is the latest stunning novel from author Julie Klassen. As the story opens, we meet Mariah Aubrey and her companion, Miss Dixon. Mariah is being sent away from her home for reasons hinted at but unmentioned until later in the story. She and Miss Dixon take up residence in the gatehouse on the estate of a distant relative. With barely enough money to live on, Mariah begins to write novels in secret as means of supporting herself and Miss Dixon.
With secrets and plot twists, The Girl in the Gatehouse is an intriguing story. A poorhouse with a mysterious resident on the roof. The lease of the estate to Captain Matthew Bryant. A party which brings old acquaintances back into Mariah's life. All of these fit together to bring the story to its climax. Is there still a chance for love for Mariah, and maybe even for dear old Miss Dixon?
I found this book a difficult one to put down. The story never plods, but instead moves along at a rapid pace. As with any work of romantic fiction that I read, I always observe how much Christian content it contains. The works of Julie Klassen do not contain as much obvious Christian content, but it is still definitely there, running in an undercurrent beneath the words.
I would recommend The Girl in the Gatehouse to any reader of historical, romantic fiction, but especially to those lovers of Jane Austen's books.
I received this book free from Bethany House as part of the blogger book review program. The opinions expressed in my review are my own.
0points
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Review 18 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Mystery and Intrigue

Date:May 12, 2011
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HSCottage
Location:Raleigh, NC
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I loved this story. Mariah captured my heart from chapter 1.
I was captivated hearing about Captain Prince and who he really was. I was intrigued by what Mariah’s aunt had to say in her journals. The story really kept you guessing but gave you enough information to keep you interested. Not only is romance brewing of course for Mariah as the main character but also for her governess Dixon, by two gentlemen. There were lots of orphaned children running about, war heroes, and other interesting characters, and some characters not so likable.
The story is light and you get a lot out of the story with out being bombarded and weighted down with too many details, there are just enough details.
If you want a historical romance that is a light and easy read that you just can’t put down then try this book. I wasn’t disappointed and I hope you won’t be either.
I will be getting the rest of Julie Klassen’s books because I liked this one that much.
(I received this book for review from Bethany House for my honest opinion of this book)
0points
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Review 19 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

“Author's Writing Testament & Reader's Delight

Date:May 12, 2011
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Holly Weiss
Location:New York
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
September 1813. Take one abandoned gatehouse on an English estate adjacent to the village poorhouse. Insert one banished woman. Season with appealing secondary characters, a shipwreck and a manservant with a hook instead of a hand. Sprinkle in some 18th century home-produced plays and a strange man with a spyglass walking a rooftop. Sear with the heady longings of the hero and heroine along with an unexpectedly sweet courtship between two mature characters. Add echoes of Jane Austen. Simmer in exhaustive research about a hierarchical culture with liberal spoonfuls of social commentary, intrigue, and unlikely love. Toss in some unpredictable plot twists at the very end. Result? A delicious, noteworthy historical romance novel well worth your time.
Chapter 18 of The Girl in the Gatehouse begins with an Austen quote, “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything else than of a book!”
It is a happy thing to write a book review of a Jane Austen devotee on this, the 235th anniversary of Miss Austen’s birth. Unlike Miss Austen, who received little notoriety or respect for her writing during her lifetime, Julie Klassen is a RITA and Christy Award finalist. Ms. Klassen returns a third time to write expertly about the Regency period in English history. I have great respect for her work. In her author’s note, she states that The Girl in the Gatehouse is peppered with Austen-like characters. Her love of writing and authors pervade The Girl in the Gatehouse. Women who aren’t supposed to write publish anonymously. Journals are kept. Letters are written, read and re-read. Closeted writers abound, male and female alike producing stories, “theatricals” and novels. Ms. Klassen pens an engrossing read.
Well-paced and styled, The Girl in the Gatehouse introduces us to characters we care about even when our everyday tasks force us to lay the book aside for a time. Main character Mariah Aubrey has a safely-guarded secret and a predilection for helping others despite being tossed out on her ear by her father. We read only hints of her indiscretion until she bravely writes her own experience into her third novel. Mariah, however, seems a bit bland and placid through most of the book and then suddenly overwrought at the end. How curious that she waited so long to open her aunt’s chest.
Helpful discussion questions are included in the back of the book. Beautiful motifs embellish new chapter pages as well as quotes from various 18th and 19th century poets and authors, particularly women. Literature is revered in this inspirational historical romance, bookended ironically, with the phrases “the end” and “the beginning.”
Highly recommended to historical fiction and literature lovers or those simply looking for an enticing read.
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Review 20 for The Girl in the Gatehouse
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A Great Read!

Date:May 9, 2011
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Expelled from her father's house, Mariah Aubrey has no place to live except an old, musty gatehouse on her aunt's estate. The separation from her family is difficult for Mariah and she escapes reality by writing novels. When Mariah's aunt passes away, her cousin inherits the estate and starts exacting a rental fee. Mariah's writing and small allowance from her father barely cover the rent. Then Captain Matthew Bryant leases the estate with the intent of buying it. Draw together by their common ground, figuratively and literally, Mariah and Matthew develop a kinship that could lead to more than just friendship. However, rumors are rampant about Mariah. Will Matthew risk his reputation, his heart, and his dreams for the mysterious Mariah?
I loved The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen. I found the uniqueness of the individual scenes refreshing. One of my favorite scenes in the entire book was when Mariah and Matthew read a theatrical script by Simon Wells. So romantic and sweet. I also enjoyed that there was more to the plot than just the relationship with between Mariah and Matthew. The sub-plots about Captain Prince, Lizzy Barnes, and Mrs. Dixon enhanced the main plot and created a pleasurable reading experience. I would have liked to have seen more spiritual development. There were multiple mentions of the Mariah's and Matthew's spiritual issues that were never resolved later in the book. However, I immensely enjoyed The Girl in the Gatehouse and I heartily recommend it to anyone who is a fan of historical romances.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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