The Tutor’s Daughter

Written by Julie Klassen
Review by Tamela McCann

Emma Smallwood works with her father at their small male academy, content as long as she has her beloved books to keep her company. But when the last student leaves, her father accepts a position as a private tutor to the younger brothers of two former students, moving them both into the rather mysterious Ebbington Manor. There Emma must deal with the two eldest Westons, whom she knew years before when they were at her father’s academy—kind, friendly Phillip, and his older brother, Henry, who was often her nemesis. Emma is not long in residence when odd events begin to occur, including the disappearance of her journal and mysterious music played late in the night. As she investigates, danger begins to surround her, as do her growing feelings for the now changed and intriguing Henry.

Julie Klassen does a very credible job of summoning an Austen-like atmosphere, capturing Emma’s rather priggish attitude ably and building an atmosphere of foreboding with characters possessing mercurial emotions. The first mystery is revealed approximately midway, and while it is not entirely unexpected, it does throw a delicious wrench into the storyline. Though there is nothing new or unique in The Tutor’s Daughter, the plot moves along at a good clip and the characters are believably written, foibles and all. The slow build of feelings between Emma and Henry holds the reader’s attention well, and most of the characters are shown to be multilayered rather than simply good or evil. The reader should be aware that there is an inspirational bent to the story, but it is neither heavy-handed nor distracting. The Tutor’s Daughter is an excellent Regency-era novel that will have you turning the pages to see what happens next.