Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter - by Julie Klassen

Emma Smallwood has helped her father run his school for boys since she was but a young girl herself.  Once her mother dies, she can't bear to leave him as he loses vigor for life and their enrollment dwindles.  She sees a chance for change and hope when she receives a letter from Sir Giles Weston, the father of two of their former students, inviting Miss Smallwood and her father to come live on the estate and tutor the two youngest Weston men.  Once there, however, the tutors find their presence is not altogether welcomed and there seem to be secrets around every corner.  What is going on in the manor, and which Westons are part of it, and which Westons can be trusted?

I think that this book could have been a good suspense story.  Or a good romance story.  However, it tried too hard to be both, and didn't really succeed at either.  The suspense aspects of the plot were so drawn out that it lost the on-edge feeling, as it tried to fit the love story in between the revelations of the family's secrets.  And there were so many attempts to put the reader off track about who loved whom, that it was hard to really care about most of them getting together at all.  Characters' personalities shifted so drastically throughout the story that it was hard to relate to them.  There were several small things about the plot and story that bothered me as well; for instance, if Emma grew up right next door to an all-girls' school run by her aunt, why did she not attend classes there?

That said, I didn't dislike the book; I just didn't love it.  The writing style was good, I just felt the plot could have been a bit tighter.  I still cared about Emma and wanted to see how the book would turn out for her; I enjoyed seeing her come a bit out of her tutor shell and be willing to stand up for herself and do what she thought right.

I give this book 3 stars.

You can find The Tutor's Daughter HERE.
The author's website is HERE.
Ms. Klassen is also available on Facebook HERE.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers, in exchange for my honest review.

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