Thursday, June 23, 2011


Mariah Aubrey is The Girl in the Gatehouse in Klassen's newest novel.
Mariah has been sent from her home in disgrace. An aunt offers lodging in an abandoned gatehouse on her English country estate. Forced to support herself, Mariah finds she can earn a small living by writing novels--as long as she conceals her identity as the author.
When her aunt dies, the estate is leased to a ship's captain who has his own secrets and ambitions. In addition to the captain, The Girl in the Gatehouse is filled with memorable characters, all of whom add richness and color to Mariah's life.
I'm a Julie Klassen fan. The Girl in the Gatehouse is her most Austen-like novel to date. Abounding with romance, secrets, and misunderstandings, it is a delicious read.
Be sure you have some time set aside when you sit down with The Girl in the Gatehouse. You won't want to stop reading until you've turned the last page.

Monday, June 13, 2011

THE DAUGHTER'S WALK, by Jane Kirkpatrick

As soon as I knew Jane Kirkpatrick had written The Daughter’s Walk, I put it on my to-read list. When I read Linda Lawrence Hunt's nonfiction history of this amazing journey, titled Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America, I felt the story cried out to be fictionalized. Kirkpatrick was just the author to accomplish the task.
In 1896, Helga Estby accepted a wager from a group of people connected with the fashion industry to walk from Spokane, Washington, to New York City within seven months. Helga wanted the money offered in order to save her family's farm from foreclosure.
She took her eighteen-year-old daughter, Clara, with her. The sponsors of the walk were promoting a new style of garment, called a reform dress. The women were to wear this shorter, uncorseted dress, with leggings, for the duration of their walk in order to generate publicity for the radical fashion.
But what of the daughter? This journey was not Clara Estby's idea, nor was she an entirely willing participant. Kirkpatrick spins The Daughter’s Walk from Clara's point of view, and in so doing gives the reader a full description of everything the women encountered along their sometimes treacherous journey.
Set in a time when women were just beginning to stir from the constraints of Victorian mores, The Daughter’s Walk also provides a look at a period that's thankfully in the past. Fans of historical fiction with a strong basis in fact will thoroughly enjoy The Daughter’s Walk.