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Shadows of Swanford Abbey

de Julie Klassen

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6214359,164 (4.35)Cap
Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance. When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother's desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey's cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past--including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick--magistrate, widower, and former neighbor--who long ago broke her heart.When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something. . . .… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 14 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Love story turns who-done-it half way though the book. Every character has a secret. ( )
  MaryRachelSmith | Jun 28, 2022 |
Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen was described as Jane Austen meets Agatha Christie, so of course I was interested.

The novel has a lovely Agatha Christie feel, as the major players are all bumping into each other in the same hotel, turning up clues and misdirections. But it’s more Gothic, since the hotel is a haunted former abbey. I also wasn’t waiting for Poirot to come in and ask the right questions. Our heroine, Rebecca Lane, must save herself, even if the abbey is exceptionally creepy at night…

There are several subplots happening at the hotel, even before we get to the central murder. Rebecca is trying to make contact with an author on her brother’s behalf, but almost immediately bumps into her employer, who claimed to be staying with friends, and bumps into Sir Fredrick Wilford, who she knew when she was a child. Fredrick has been led to the hotel by his brother, who may not be entirely truthful about his motives, either. And a ghostly figure keeps appearing, taking this from a typical whodunnit to a Gothic mystery.

Shadows of Swanford Abbey leans a bit more romantic than I was expecting from a mystery. It’s all done in a pining Regency way, not a steamy way. Our leading man had a terrible romantic experience in his past and isn’t sure he can get over it, even as he notices that our leading lady is all grown up. All our characters are aware of marriage as a business proposition and a social marker, even as they face their attractions and emotions. I think I tend prefer this style of romance to an easily-cleared misunderstanding.

I don’t want to reveal too much about Shadows of Swanford Abbey, because discovering and guessing is such a pleasure in a mystery like this, but I can at least say that I enjoyed how the characters’ personal subplots and backstories connected with each other and with the main murder mystery. There are some fun and memorable characters in this mystery — and someone that you just love to hate. I also really enjoyed the Gothic descriptions of the former abbey, which felt like an homage to the whole style of Gothic pageturners and the girls who loved reading these thrillers.
  TheFictionAddiction | May 8, 2022 |
Julie Klassen captivates me with her Regency, English settings and well drawn characters.
Lady’s companion, Rebecca Lane, and Sir Fredrick Wilford were childhood friends. They meet up again at the mysterious Swanford Abbey which has been made into a grand hotel. While staying there, a murder occurs. Sir Fredrick, as magistrate, officiates the investigation. Ms. Klassen did a great job of giving us plenty of suspects to choose from. To flesh out the story, we are treated to lovely descriptions of all things English. I especially liked Sir Fredrick and his use of a chessboard as a tool to figure out the would be culprit.
While Fredrick is sorting out his feelings for his dead wife, Rebecca is trying to help her brother navigate poor choices, rescue his living as an author, and regain his self respect. Then there is the person in a Nun’s habit who seems to pop up unexpectedly. Could this be the person who murdered Mr. Oliver?
An interesting character was Dr. Fox who seemed a humane doctor to the mentally ill. He was knowledgeable, godly and compassionate. I also like Lady Fitzhoward , the employer of Rebecca. She was a puzzle to figure out.
This story was suspenseful, complex and spoke of justice and forgiveness.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.* ( )
  paulashreckhise | Feb 12, 2022 |
“Shadows of Swanford Abbey” by Julie Klassen is a Regency mystery and romance novel. Ms. Klassen is the queen of inspirational regency fiction. Her newest addition is touted as Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen. In this story you will travel to an old abbey-turned-hotel, which is possibly haunted! Add in a murder and you have quite a story!

This book is more of a mystery novel than many of Ms. Klassen’s previous works. But do not worry, there is still a super sweet romance reminiscent of Austen’s “Persuasion” and “Mansfield Park.” I was also reminded of “Northanger Abbey” with the Gothic feel and the mystery aspects. Speaking of nods to great literature, there are many fun character names and situations that brought to mind Austen, Brontë, Dickens and Christie.

The atmospheric setting of an abbey that has been converted into a hotel is the perfect place for a murder mystery, as there are many guests gathered together. One gets to see characters from both “upstairs” and “downstairs”—people of all classes and walks of life. As one gets to know them, one wonders, what are their connections to one another? What could their motives be? Everyone seems to be hiding a secret of some sort. I feel the story lagged a bit in the middle, but it really picked up at the end. I also listened to parts of it as an audiobook and it was hard to feel the suspense and Gothic shivers because of the narrator’s chipper voice (but this is certainly no fault of the author’s).

The mystery keeps you guessing till the end! There are as many twists and turns as the old abbey and just when you think you have figured something out, new evidence and information is presented.

I highly recommend this book!

Content: I give this book a PG rating. Some examples of the content are:
a man is shown dealing with depression; a wife was unfaithful to her husband; references to liquor, opium and addiction; talk of women “entertaining” men at night in their rooms; a man is drunk and another high; descriptions of how the mentally ill are treated poorly with some asylums. Mental health does play a role in the story, and it is treated with sensitivity and respect.

Rating: I give this book 4 stars.

I want to thank Julie Klassen and Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255. ( )
  Meganleigh844 | Feb 3, 2022 |
Hair-raising Adventure!

Since the death of her father, Rebecca has worked as a lady's companion. Her brother, John, has struggled with mental problems for years. She returns home in 1820 to find him worse.

Rebecca checks into the newly renovated hotel to keep an eye on him. Formally, the hotel was an Abbey that was rumored to be haunted, and she avoided it while growing up. It doesn't help that she is put in room number 13.

She is surprised to find Sir Frederick staying there--the man who never knew he stole her heart. Another guest is Ambrose Oliver, a writer that John swears stole his first book, rewrote it as his own, and it became a best seller.

John has written a new book that he plans to use in an elaborate plan to expose Oliver as a thief, but he needs Rebecca's help to pull it off. In the midst of this scheme, Oliver turns up dead. Is John responsible for this? Should Rebecca try to help him by covering up for him?

As the magistrate, Sir Frederick is leaving no stone unturned to find the guilty party. Rebecca has always told the truth--especially to Sir Frederic--will that change because of John? She also swears that more than once, she has seen the ghost wandering the hotel.

This often feels like a well-done Victorian Gothic with lots of suspense and mystery. Twists and turns bring additional information, but adds confusion about what really happened.

You will be on the edge of your seat until you reach the very satisfying ending. The multi-dimensional characters will grab your heart and interest--the story is clean with a Christian viewpoint. I recommend this 5-star book to mystery lovers with a hint of romance.

Bethany House has provided Tickmenot with a complimentary copy of, Shadows of Swanford Abbey, for the purpose of review. ( )
  Tickmenot | Feb 3, 2022 |
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Miss Rebecca Lane quaked at the thought of returning to Swanford after more than a year’s absence, even though her heart had never really left.
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Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance. When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother's desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey's cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past--including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick--magistrate, widower, and former neighbor--who long ago broke her heart.When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something. . . .

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