Friday, December 17, 2021

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen (Review)

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

This was a fun easy read, perfect for Regency mystery lovers to cuddle with on cold winter nights. Don't miss out on Klassen's latest release.


Title: Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen
Genre: Regency Romance, Historical Suspense, Inspirational Fiction
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (December 7, 2021)
Length: 416 pages
Format: Hardcover, trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook


Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother's desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.

The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey's cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past--including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick—magistrate, widower, and former neighbor—who long ago broke her heart.

When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something…

Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

From the first page to the last this was a great historical mystery with a touch of romance. Klassen succeeds in creating a great cast of characters, all with a past and their own personal dilemmas, enough to make us question if they are a suspect.

Rebecca, who has been working as a lady's companion, returns home, only to find her brother suffering from deep depression. To help him, she decides to stay at Swanford Abbey, where she is to perform a task for him. There, she meets Frederick again after years of being away. She had a crush on him as a teenager, but he broke her heart when he married. Now, he is a widower and Rebecca is no longer a besotted teen but does anyone ever forget their first love? Rebecca hasn't. And when they join forces to uncover who committed a murder, Rebecca's past comes full circle.

Although a murder mystery, I really enjoyed how the author explores the topics of mental illness, betrayal, revenge, guilt, and familial responsibility. She does this seamlessly, without weighing down the story, all within the mystery of a spooky medieval-abbey-turned-grand-hotel, which is a great setting for a who-dun-it mystery novel. It's well-written and engaging. Not a boring moment. 

This was a fun easy read, perfect for Regency mystery lovers to cuddle with on cold winter nights. Don't miss out on Klassen's latest release.


Author Julie Klassen shares her inspiration for Shadows of Swanford Abbey



Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. Her books have sold over a million copies, and she is a three-time recipient of the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing's BEST Award and has been a finalist in the RITA and Carol Awards. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

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  1. Thanks for your thoughtful review, Laura. Klassen is one of my favorite historical authors and I always look for to a new book from her. I loved the Gothic elements in this, her in-depth historical details, and her characterizations. I am glad you did too. Best, LA

    1. I've enjoyed every book I read from this author. Glad to have been a part of this tour!


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