Monday, February 16, 2015

Guest post: The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen


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Award winning historical romance author Julie Klassen tours the blogosphere February 16 through March 2 to share her latest release, The Secret of Pembrooke Park. Twenty five popular book bloggers specializing in historical and Austenesque fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, book reviews and excerpts of this acclaimed gothic Regency romance novel. A fabulous giveaway contest, including copies of all of Ms. Klassen’s eight books and other Jane Austen-themed items, is open to those who join the festivities.

Today's tour feature is a book excerpt from chapter 1 of the book.

Enjoy!

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by Julie Klassen
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Book excerpt: (from chapter 1)

March 1818

The jewel case lay open on the desk between them, the evergreen emeralds glittering against the black velvet lining. The necklace and matching bracelet had been passed down through the Foster side of the family. Her mother’s family had no precious gems to pass down. And soon neither side would.

Her father snapped the case shut, and Abigail winced as though she’d been slapped.

“Say good-bye to the family jewels,” he said. “I suppose I shall have to sell these along with the house.”

Standing before her father’s desk, Abigail gripped her hands. “No, Papa, not the jewels. There must be another way. . . .”

Nearly a year had passed since Gilbert left England, and with it Abigail’s twenty-third birthday. When she had predicted an uncertain future on the eve of his departure, she’d been more accurate than she would have guessed.

What had she been thinking? Just because she could run a large home and staff did not mean she knew anything about investments. She was the type of person who usually considered things carefully, investigated thoroughly before acting—whether it was selecting a new dressmaker or hiring a new housemaid. Abigail was the practical, behind-the-scenes daughter and had long prided herself on making sound, rational decisions. That was why her mother left much of the household management to her. Even her father had come to depend on her opinion.

Now they were facing financial ruin—and it was her fault. Little more than a year ago, she had encouraged her father to invest in Uncle Vincent’s new bank. Her mother’s brother was her only uncle, and Abigail had always been fond of him. He was charming, enthusiastic, and eternally optimistic. He and his partners, Mr. Austen and Mr. Gray, owned two country banks and had wished to open a third. Uncle Vincent had asked her father to post a large bond of guarantee, and under Abigail’s influence, he agreed.

The banks were at first successful. However, the partners made excessive, unwise loans, sometimes lending to each other. They sold one bank but struggled to keep the others afloat. The new bank had stopped business in November, and a week ago the original bank failed and the partners declared bankruptcy.

Abigail could still hardly believe it. Her uncle had been so sure the banks would thrive and had made Abigail believe it as well.

Seated at his desk, her father set aside the jewelry case and ran his finger down the accounts ledger.

Abigail awaited his verdict, palms damp, heart beating dully.

“How bad is it?” she asked, twisting her hands.

“Bad. We are not destitute, and you and Louisa still have your dowries. But the lion’s share of my capital is gone and with it the interest.”

Abigail’s stomach cramped. “Again, I am sorry, Papa. Truly,” she said. “I honestly thought Uncle Vincent and his partners would be successful.”

He ran a weary hand over his thin, handsome face. “I should not have allowed myself to be swayed by the two of you. I have seen his other ventures fail in the past. But you have always had a good head on your shoulders, Abigail. I thought I could trust your judgment. No, now, I don’t say this is entirely your fault. I blame myself as well. And Vincent, of course.”

Seeing her father so deeply disappointed and disillusioned—with her and with life—left her feeling sick with guilt and regret. Uncle Vincent blamed his partners and their risky loans. But in the end, regardless of who was to blame, the fact was that Charles Foster had agreed to act as guarantor. He was not the only person who lost money when the banks failed, but he lost the most.

Her father shook his head, a bitter twist to his lips. “I don’t know how I shall break it to Louisa that she is not to have her season after all. She and her mother have their hearts set on it.”

Abigail nodded in silent agreement. The London season was well-known hunting grounds for wealthy husbands. She hoped Louisa’s eagerness to participate meant she was not waiting for Gilbert Scott. If Louisa and Gilbert did have an understanding, Louisa had clearly kept it a secret from her mother, who was determined to give her youngest a spectacular season. At nineteen Louisa was at the peak of her beauty—or so their mother declared, insisting it was the perfect time to find her an advantageous match.

Her father leaned back in his chair with a defeated sigh. “If only there were a way to avoid selling the house, but as much as we all love it, it is too large and too expensive. The price of being fashionable, I suppose.”

Not to mention the cost of maintaining a Grosvenor Square style of living—behaving like nobility, though in reality they were only genteel, with no title or land. As a gentleman, her father had never in his life had to work. The family had lived on the interest from his inheritance. Money he had invested wisely—until now.

Once again, Gilbert’s suggestion that they not “shackle ourselves with promises” echoed through Abigail’s mind, and she straightened her shoulders in resolve. “Yes, Papa. We shall have to sell the house, but not the family jewels. Not while there is another option. . . .”

~end

Guest post created by Julie Klassen, author of The Secret of Pembrooke Park
© 2015. All rights reserved.

About the author:

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time.

Three of her books have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. She has also been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards.

Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Find out more about this book and author:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble | ChristianBook.com
Book Depository | Indie Bound | Publisher Page
Goodreads
Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter @julie_klassen and @Bethany_House

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by Julie Klassen
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READ more about this world...

The Secret of Pembrooke Park
by Julie Klassen
-Christian, Historical, Jane Austen theme, Romance
Amazon | Goodreads

In the spring of 1818, twenty-four-year-old Abigail Foster fears she is destined to become a spinster. Her family’s finances are in ruins and the one young man she truly esteems has fallen for another woman — her younger, prettier sister Louisa.

Forced to retrench after the bank failure of Austen, Gray & Vincent, the Foster family optimistically pool their resources for another London Season for her sister in hopes of an advantageous alliance. While searching for more affordable lodgings, a surprising offer is presented: the use of a country manor house in Berkshire abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to the imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left, the tight-lipped locals offering only rumors of a secret room, hidden treasure and a murder in its mysterious past.

Eager to restore her family fortune, Abigail, with the help of the handsome local curate William Chapman and his sister Leah, begins her search into the heavily veiled past aided by unsigned journal pages from a previous resident and her own spirited determination. As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?


--~ Blog Tour Giveaway ~--


Grand Giveaway Contest

Win One of Four Fabulous Prizes

In celebration of the release of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, four chances to win copies of Julie’s books and other Jane Austen-inspired items are being offered.

Three lucky winners will receive one trade paperback or eBook copy of The Secret of Pembrooke Park, and one grand prize winner will receive one copy of all eight of Julie’s novels: Lady of Milkweed Manor, The Apothecary's Daughter, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Tutor’s Daughter, The Dancing Master, and The Secret of Pembrooke Park, one DVD of Northanger Abbey (2007) and a Jane Austen Action Figure.

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on The Secret of Pembrooke Park Blog Tour starting February 16, 2015 through 11:59 pm PT, March 9, 2015.

Winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments and announced on Julie Klassen’s website on March 16, 2015. Winners have until March 22, 2015 to claim their prize.

The giveaway contest is open to residents of the US, UK, and Canada. Digital books will be sent through Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Good luck to all!

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Contest has ended - winner is here

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* post is courtesy of blog tour details: February 16 – March 02, 2015

* stay tuned for review on Feb 24

77 comments:

  1. I love Julie's books. Thanks for this opportunity. Hoping for a win!!!!!!!

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  2. I feel sorry for Abigail already! Looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for the excerpt and giveaway!

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  3. This book sounds great. I would enjoy reading it.

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  4. Congrats on the release Julie! The book sounds great and I can't wait to read it!

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  5. I love how selfless Abigail is. She reminded me a lot of Eleanor from Sense and Sensibility.

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  6. I've finished reading the book and truly enjoyed every page. I've given the book to my daughter who is enjoying reading it right now! Julie thank you this was truly superb.

    Vicki Beaufoy

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  7. Ah, the family jewels! I had forgotten that the novel began with Abigail's determination to keep the glimmering treasures. How very fitting given the book's discussion of what is truly valuable.

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  8. Excellent excerpt! Thanks for posting. Julie is a new-to-me author. Her books sound amazing.

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  9. I'm very excited to read this book!

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  10. I love the excerpt. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. I'm looking forward to reading this book.

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  12. The excerpt makes me wantt o read this book all the more. Excellent ! I am looking forward to reading this book, hopefully soon. Thankyou for ther opportunity to win !

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  13. Looking forward to reading this.....thanks for the giveaway!

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  14. I loved this book, and I am excited about this giveaway! I want to read more of her work!

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  15. I loved reading the excerpt. Julie Klassen's books are wonderful. Thank you for this fantastic contest!

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  16. Love reading the excerpt! Makes me want to read it even more.

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  17. Love this book! I lent my copy to a friend who loves watching Downton Abbey. I told her that she would love Pembrooke too!

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  18. This sounds like a wonderful book!

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  19. I would love to enter the giveaway!

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  20. Hey Julie I loved this book! I plan on making a stop at each blog.:) I hope you get a wonderful response!:)

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  21. I am so excited to read this book!!! I plan on reading it very soon!!!

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  22. Love the excerpt - very interesting!!

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  23. I love her books. I'm very excited about the blog tour! I'd love to win the package!

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  24. I'm so excited about the blog tour! Julie Klassen is one of my all-time favorites!

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  25. One of my favorite authors ;) would love to win a set of her books !

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  26. Excellent excerpt! I enjoyed this part as it introduced us to the characters and led us into why everything comes about!

    Many Blessings, Amada (pronounced: a.m.a.th.a)

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  27. Eek! This is exciting! :) I love Julie Klassen's books... and The Secret of Pembrooke Park especially! Was one of my favorites!

    (shantelle@truevine.net)

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  28. I'm very interested in these books.Thanks for this opportunity.

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  29. Oooh, intriguing! Would love to win!

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  30. I think I'm going to love this Blog Tour :) Finding and new blogs to love and interesting tidbits about a subject I really love.

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  31. I am new to Julie Klassen books but absolutely love the Secret of Pembrooke Park! Very mysterious and a sweet love story.

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  32. Thanks, everyone, for your comments! And thanks, V.V., for hosting me here!

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  33. I absolutely love Julie Klassen's books!! Reading this excerpt makes me want to read this one even more! She has instilled the love of everything Regency & thus my search for other authors who write about this time period. Thank you for a great opportunity to own some of your books, I'd love to see them sitting on my bookshelf! I'd pass them on to my friends to read as well. I'm going to enjoy each blog post on this contest. Blessings Julie!! And thank you V.V. for hosting a wonderful author!

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  34. Sounds like a great book - I'm really looking forward to reading it. Such a fun giveaway, too. Keeping my fingers crossed. ;)

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  35. Can't wait to read, Julie! Your books never disappoint!

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  36. This sounds intriguing! I am looking forward to reading The Secret of Pembrooke Park.

    pmkellogg56[at]gmail[dot]com

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  37. I can't wait to read this!!!!! Books have always been a huge part of my life and I can never get my fill!!!!!!!

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  38. This would make a great addition to our church library! librarybooks at religious dot com

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  39. Beautiful covers. Love these types of books.
    Sonja dot nishimoto at gmail dot com

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  40. Oh my goodness! Itching with excitement to read this one!!

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  41. How thrilling!! I cannot wait to read it! :)

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  42. Julie Klassen is such a wonderful author! I can't wait to read more of her books! :)

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  43. The beginning of the book reminded me of Austen's Persuasion. Lovely story!

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  44. Stop #2 on the blog tour; this is fun! :)

    One of the things I love most about Abigail is how smart and independent she is; it was unusual for men to allow women to counsel them with any kind of authority, and while the business venture did fail (thru no fault of Abigail's), the fact that her father recognized her wisdom and business savvy and valued it is truly special. We (still!) need role models like her!

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  45. And the journey begins! Julie, you certainly know how to hook a reader from the first page and not let go until ... well ... you never really do, because we keep coming back for more. :)

    Blessings,
    Andrea
    Proofreader/Editor/Writer
    andrearenee2004@yahoo.com
    writingtoinspire.blogspot.com

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  46. I must admit that I just recently found your books but I am really glad that I did. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Tutor's Daughter. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    Danielle C

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  47. There are so many of Julie's books I would love to have. I have tried to win different ones at different blogs. It really does sound good. This is sad that a good deed turned out so bad, but poor judgement doesn't help. The bankers should been much more careful. Please put my name in.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

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  48. I love Julie's books! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  49. I love the blue color in this book cover :) . Thanks for sharing an excerpt!

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  50. This is great. Have not read the Secret of Pembrook Park yet, but I am super excited for it and other novels in the future. :D

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  51. So excited to read this book - love Julie Klassen's other books!

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  52. Oh I love every one of Julie's books!! Thanks for the chance!
    Dezi A
    sethdezAThotmailDOTcom

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  53. I so want to win this! I somehow missed out on the tour and I LOVE Julie's books!

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  54. I'm enjoying following the tour and learning more with each perspective. Hope I win.

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  55. Thanks for the sneak peak! Can't wait to read the book!

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  56. Such a wonderful book! Love to read it! sonja dot nishimoto at gmail.com

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  57. Love all of Julie's books. Would really love to read this

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  58. Love all of her books I hope I win.

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  59. Exciting! I have yet to read Secret of Pembrooke Park, but the other books I read of Julie Klassen's we're amazing!

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  60. Thanks for sharing this wonderful book.

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  61. This excerpt makes me even more excited to read this book!

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  62. I love Julie's books. This tour is great fun.

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  63. I'm so ready to win this thing!! Let's get this show OFF the road. (;

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  64. I'm very excited to read this book!

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  65. This book sounds wonderful...I love Julie Klassen's stories.

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  66. Always a fan of Julie's books - can't wait to read it! truckredford(at)gmail(dot)com

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  67. Looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for the excerpt and giveaway!
    jandeplus3 (at)live(dot)com

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  68. What a great excerpt! With Gilbert and the loss of the family fortune, it is a great set-up for a wonderful book!

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  69. I love Julie and historical fiction. They make my giddy

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  70. Please enter me :)
    Sounds like a great book :)

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