Jane Austen is the oft-imitated author of books set in Regency England that have been loved since "Sense and Sensibility" was first published in 1811. There have been adaptations of Austen's work that includes zombies, time-travel and all other sorts of plot devices with varying degrees of success. One author who writes in the style of Austen is Julie Klassen. However, she creates her own characters and develops her own situations that satisfy Austenites who just can't get enough of the kinds of stories found in the pages of a Jane Austen novel. One imagines the characters in Julie Klassen's books might have been acquaintances with those found in Austen's imagination.
Klassen has written seven books set in the Regency period and in locations that were populated by the likes of Edward Ferrars, Anne Elliott and Emma Woodhouse. Three have won Christy Awards, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a work of Christian fiction. For readers who want more of the storylines and characters like those found in Jane Austen's books, Klassen's books are this reviewer's first choice.
"The Dancing Master" will be released at the end of the year. It is the story of a family who must start over when the son, Alec Valcourt, suddenly finds himself responsible for his mother and sister. He decides the family will move to Devonshire and he will provide dance instruction to the villagers. However, dancing has been forbidden in the small community because of a long-ago event.
"The Tutor's Daughter" was released in Jan. 2013 and takes place in Cornwall. Mr. Smallwood and his daughter move to Ebbington Manor to tutor the twin sons of Sir Giles Weston. The two older Weston boys once attended Mr. Smallwood's boarding school in Longstaple. Mysterious north wings and secretive villagers only add to the tension between the new Lady Weston and Emma Smallwood.
"The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" is the winner of the 2012 Christy Award for Historical Romance. Margaret Macy will do anything to avoid marriage to a dishonorable man. She is so desperate to get out of London that she masquerades as a housemaid in hopes that she can remain unmarried and claim an inheritance in one year. Unfortunately, she ends up being a housemaid at the home of two eligible bachelors who once courted her.
"The Girl in the Gatehouse" is also a Christy Award winner. It won in the Historical Romance category in 2011. Mariah Aubrey has a secret; one so scandalous, her only option is to move to the gatehouse on the estate of a distant relative. She supports herself by writing novels, an equally scandalous occupation for a woman of her time. When an equally intriguing man by the name of Captain Bryant leases the estate, neither of the two are sure they want to befriend the other.
"The Silent Governess" is the book for which Klassen won her first Christy Award for Historical Romance in 2010. Olivia Keene, while attempting to avoid her secret being revealed, accidentally overhears one that could change Lord Bradley's life. In order to be absolutely certain that his secret is not made public, he convinces Miss Keene to travel to Brightwell Court and care for the children.
"The Apothecary's Daughter" was published in 2008 and includes the mysterious disappearance of Lilly Haswell's mother, a father who doesn't want to discuss it and the opportunity to leave her small village behind to spend the season in London. But can she leave her mentally challenged brother in the care of a father whose apothecary shop is barely hanging on just so she can perhaps meet a wealthy suitor?
"The Lady of Milkweed Manor" is the book for which Klassen received her first Christy nomination. It is the story of Charlotte Lamb and the price she must pay for scandalous mistake she made. Even though she is a vicar's daughter, she chooses to hide herself away in the gloomy Milkweed Manor. But she is not the only one trying to avoid the secret's of her past; a former suitor is also residing at the manor in an effort to avoid secrets of his own.
Julie Klassen is just one of the amazing authors whose books are highlighted and reviewed by the Christian Fiction Examiner. To learn more about all genres of Christian fiction for adults, teens and children, subscribe to the Christian Fiction Examiner today.