The Tutor’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
Bethany House 01 January 2013

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?

The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems–and secrets–of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.

When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor’s daughter figure out which brother to blame…and which brother to trust with her heart?

This is my first Julie Klassen book – well over due, I know!

Julie has created an intricate and intriguing tale, set in the rugged peninsula of Cornwall.  Emma Smallwood has accompanied her father to Ebbingford, where he is to tutor the youngest two sons of a Baronet.  They are former acquaintances of the elder two Weston sons, who attended their academy in their youth. Emma is orderly, capable and always in control. But she also shows herself to have a caring heart.

At first, we don’t get much of an insight into Henry Weston, but throughout the novel we slowly get to know him, and by the end I realised I was madly in love with him. It was like how you’d expect to get to know someone in real life, and I thought this was brilliant.

The Tutor’s Daughter is full of mystery and had me frowning and guessing my way throughout, trying to figure out who was who and what the secret of the Weston family was.  There’s an air of suspense in this book too, and I found myself clinging for life along with the characters in one particular scene.

I really enjoyed this book – particularly liking the English setting.  From what I see from this book, Julie is a master plot weaver, creating a rich and inviting novel that I couldn’t put down.