Book Review: Shadows of Swanford Abbey

About the Book

Title: Shadows of Swanford Abbey

Author: Julie Klassen

Genre: Christian Regency Romance

Publication date: December 7, 2021

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Agatha Christie meets Jane Austenin 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.

My Thoughts

Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen is the perfect tagline for Julie Klassen’s newest release. Combining everything you love about the regency period with the twists and turns of a murder mystery provides a captivating read that will keep you on your toes until the very end. There’s no shortage of suspects, and even a ghost, who may or may not be more flesh than apparition. The mysterious Abbey turned hotel is the perfect setting for this intriguing tale, and I enjoyed every minute. Having a mystery that involves an author and a heroine who enjoys reading was the perfect combination for this lover of all things bookish.

The heroine Rebecca carries a significant burden of living her own life and worrying about her brother, whose distress she feels partly responsible for. She is a good and kind sister but must make a difficult decision for the best of all involved. Her lies may have put them all in greater danger and she weighs the truth against love of family. Which is more important?

The hero Sir Frederick is wonderfully protective of Rebecca. He, too, bears a heavy burden and regrets of the past. Both Frederick and Rebecca must release themselves of burdens that aren’t theirs to carry to move into a promising future. The lesson to be learned is that we are not responsible for the actions of others, and we cannot let their misfortunes or poor decisions control our lives and steal our joy.  

One of my favorite scenes is when Frederick is in the library and talks out the various suspects using chess pieces!

I highly recommend this book for readers of regency romances and for those looking for mysteries with little descriptiveness of the murder itself. Excellent book!     

About the Author

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. She worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. Three of her novels have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also won the Minnesota Book Award, the Midwest Book Award, and Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. Julie is a graduate of the University of Illinois. She and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota. Visit http://www.julieklassen.com and talesfromivyhill.com for more information.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Shadows of Swanford Abbey

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