Title: The Girl in the Gatehouse
Author: Julie Klassen
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Mariah Aubrey lives in seclusion with her secrets. Will an ambitious captain uncover her identity… and her hidden past?
Banished from the only home she’s ever known, Mariah Aubrey hides herself away in an abandoned gatehouse on a distant relative’s estate. There she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how—by writing novels in secret.
When Captain Matthew Bryant leases the estate, he is intrigued by the beautiful girl in the gatehouse. But there are many things he doesn’t know about this beguiling outcast. Will he risk his plans—and his heart—for a woman shadowed by scandal?
Intriguing, mysterious, and romantic, The Girl in the Gatehouse takes readers inside the life of a secret authoress at a time when novel-writing was considered improper for ladies and the smallest hint of impropriety could change a woman’s life forever.
With one devastating mistake, Miss Mariah Aubrey ruined her reputation and her hope of ever marrying a respectable man. Cast out by her family, she must now rely on the generosity of her aunt for a place to live — the abandoned gatehouse on the aunt’s estate. The need for an income causes Mariah to seek publication for her novel manuscripts, which would give her father another reason to disapprove of her should he find out.
Captain Matthew Bryant is determined to win the hand of the young lady who rejected him once before. While he may not have been born into a society family, his successful career in the Royal Navy and the prize money he received through it should be enough to finally convince both the woman and her father that Matthew is worthy of her. The girl living in the gatehouse of the estate he had leased, however, intrigues him and may threaten his ability to win the young lady he is determined to impress.
Ms. Klassen brings this tale to life with a colorful cast of characters, each of whom have their own secrets and add flavor to the story. Several subplots are woven throughout the book, such as the mysterious man who walks the poorhouse roof, but each adds to the conflict and motivation of the characters. Although this is a Christian novel, the Christian themes — such as forgiveness and loving your neighbors — are so well integrated into the story that they are inconspicuous much of the time.
All in all, The Girl in the Gatehouse is a wonderful story I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys Regency-era romance or historical fiction.