Book Reviews

Book Review: Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

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. . . .

My Thoughts:

A cozy mystery set in the Regency era. Now, that’s an intriguing idea!

I have to be honest and say that the story lagged in the beginning for me. But once the expected murder took place, my detective brain was more than satisfied. I did really enjoy watching all the characters and making note of them as the story unfolded. There were several believable suspects to keep my eyes on.

My favorite aspect was the Abbey setting. Historically, it was really neat and I wanted to tour the grounds for myself. The story could have used a tad more of the suspenseful/Gothic flair considering the storyline and setting.

I appreciated the solid faith elements and characters who held a clear relationship with Christ.

The romance was sweet and safe, and I mean that in every good way.

Rating and Recommendations: I’m giving Shadows of Swanford Abbey 4 stars. I recommend it to those looking for Christian Regency or a new cozy mystery.

~ I received a copy from Bethany House. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one.

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