Friday, January 25, 2013


Story Description: 
Baker Publishing Group|January 1, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-8007-2039-1 
Charlotte Farrow, maid in the wealthy Banning household on Chicago’s opulent Prairie Avenue, has kept her baby boy a secret from her employers for nearly a year.  But when the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Banning’s decide the child’s fate.  Can she face the truth of her own past and open her heart to a future of her own?  Or will life’s tragedies determine the future for her? 
This compelling story set against the glittering backdrop of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition captures the tension between the wealthy class and the hardworking servants who made their lives comfortable.  Author Olivia Newport expertly portrays social classes while creating a story of courage, strength, and tender romance.
My Review: 
I didn’t enjoy this second novel as much as I did the first which was: “The Pursuit of Lucy Banning”.  I don’t feel it was written nearly as well as the first part and the story wasn’t all that attention holding either.  I was really quite disappointed however, I’m sure someone else will just love it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Story Description: 
Howard Books|October 9, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-4767-0354-1 
Faith, Family, Ducks – in that order. 
This book gives readers an up-close and personal behind-the-scenes look at the family in the exploding A & E show – Duck Dynasty.  This Louisiana bayou family operates Duck Commander, a booming family business that has made them millions.  You’ll hear all about the Robertson clan from Willie and what it was like growing up in the Robertson household.  You’ll sample some of Willie’s favourite family recipes from Phil, Kay, and even some of his own concoctions; and you’ll get to know the beautiful Robertson women.  You’ll hear from Korie about the joys and hardships of raising a family, running a business, and wrangling the Robertson men while staying fashionable and beautiful inside and out.  Discover more about the family dynamics between brothers’ Willie, Jase, Jep, and parents Phil and Kay.  You’ll even meet a fourth brother who isn’t in the show. 
The popularity of Duck Dynasty is skyrocketing, garnering a Wednesday-night top two finish in all of cable.  The book releases in time for season two of the show in October 2012. 
My Review: 
This was a great read and I learned so much about the Robertson clan that I didn’t know.  The men are all very well educated and no dummies when it comes to business sense.  I was quite surprised to learn that Phil is a very different man today than he was in his earlier years when he and Miss Kay married. 
The Robertson’s are a very religious family and base their business decisions and family decisions around God’s teachings.  They feel no matter if they win or lose, it’s because what God has planned for them and manage to take everything in stride. 
For anyone who loves to watch Duck Dynasty will also love to read this book.  It’s packed full of information that will blow you away in a lot of places.  I might just read it again so I can remember all the things I learned about this talented and prosperous family.  Now when I watch the show I’ll have a really good understanding of who everyone is and what makes them tick.  Highly recommendable for sure!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Story Description: 
HarperCollins (UK)|November 5, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-00-74877-9 
The social services are looking for a very experienced foster carer to look after Aimee and, when she reads the referral, Cathy understands why: it says that Aimee kicks and bites her mother that her mother is terrified of her, and that in rage Aimee strangled and killed four of their cat’s kittens.  Despite her reservations, Cathy agrees to take on Aimee – there is something about her that reminds Cathy of Jodie (the subject of Damaged and most disturbed child Cathy has cared for), and reading the report instantly tugs at her heart strings.  
When she arrives, Aimee is angry.  And she has every right to be.  She has spent the first eight years of her life living with her drug-dependent mother in a flat that the social worker described as “not fit for human habitation.”  There was no heating, no hot water, little food and no furniture.  Aimee is so grateful as she snuggles into her bed at Cathy’s house on the first night that it brings Cathy to tears. 
Aimee’s mother is aggressive and she is constantly causing a scene at contact, and makes sweeping allegations against Cathy and her family in front of her daughter as well.  It is a trying time for Cathy, and it makes it difficult for Aimee to settle.  But as Aimee begins to trust Cathy her behaviour improves and she starts to open up.  And the more Cathy learns about Aimee’s life before she came into care the more horrified she becomes. 
It’s clear that Aimee should have been rescued much sooner and Cathy promises to stand by her no matter what, but as Aimee’s journey seems to be coming to a happy end, Cathy can’t help but reflect on all the “forgotten children” that are still suffering. 
My Review: 
This was such a difficult novel to read.  The abuse that eight-year-old, Aimee suffered at the hands of her mother, her many drug addicted boyfriends, and her father was shocking to say the least.  This little girl had seen things, done things, and participated in things that no child should ever, ever have to go through. 
Aimee’s mother, Susan, is an extremely aggressive woman and often verbally attacked Cathy who received little help from the supervisor during the contact visits.  This certainly took its toll on poor Cathy.  No one should have to stand there and endure what she did. 
Cathy Glass not only has the ability to tell a story that keeps you glued to each page, but she has the patience of a Saint for fostering the children she does.  Aimee was an extreme case but through Cathy’s kind, compassionate, structured, and disciplined home, Aimee began to make huge improvements and for the first time in her life saw how a “real” family should function and how people interacted with each other appropriately. 
Once again Cathy Glass has totally blown me away with her story of Aimee and I’m so thankful that there are people like, Cathy who care enough about children like Aimee to take them in and give them some semblance of a normal life.  Kudos to you, Cathy for another well-written book.  Congratulations!

Monday, January 21, 2013


Story Description: 
Pajama Press|October 1, 2011|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-9869495-0-0 
A person doesn’t have to do anything important to get recognition anymore; it’s enough to know someone who does.  Parasitic fame, Casey was more than just a dependable camp counselor dedicated to her little buddies in Cabin Three.  She was a brilliant student looking forward to a scholarship and a future career in entomology.  Casey wasn’t the kind of girl who would be stuck in a town like Galloway the rest of her life.  She was really going places.  And nobody knew this better than Jess, Casey’s best friend.  So how could a girl like Casey be arrested for the murder of a young camper under her care…Jess believes her friend is innocent and that the real killer will be caught, but in the meantime, she finds herself the reluctant center of attention.  After all, she was also a counselor in Cabin Three.  Jess must know something…right?  Readers will be readily sympathize with Jess, whose life begins to spin out of control.  But award-winning author Deborah Ellis brings much more to the character of her complex and troubled narrator, who may not be entirely reliable.  As the events surrounding the final weeks of August are slowly unveiled, readers will begin to question the very nature of friendship and how one finds the moral courage to be loyal, no matter what the consequences.   
My Review: 
This is the synopsis from the back cover of the book: 
“When Casey is arrested for murder, best friend Jess tries to convince police investigators they’ve made a terrible mistake.  After all, she and Casey were camp counselors together and both responsible for little Stephanie, who disappeared under their watch.  But even though Jess has told the investigators everything she knows, they aren’t satisfied.  She’s getting sick of their questions; even Casey’s lawyer won’t leave her alone.  Jess has to wait for the middle of the night before she can find a little peace, riding her bike aimlessly through the darkened streets of their small town – planning her next move. 
In a fresh departure from her novels set in developing countries award-winning author Deborah Ellis brilliantly recreates the inner world of an emotionally confused teen who struggles to find the moral courage to remain loyal to a friend in need.” 
I enjoyed this novel, however, I prefer Ms. Ellis’ other books that are more non-fiction.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Story Description: 
Groundwood Books|August 22, 2011|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-55498-108-3 
There’s not much that upsets young Valli.  Even though her days are spent picking coal and fighting with her cousins, life in the coal town of Jharia, India, is the only life she knows.  The only sight that fills her with terror are the monsters who live on the other side of the train tracks – the lepers.  Valli and the other children throw stones at them.  No matter how hard her life is, she tells herself, at least she will never be one of them.  The she discovers that she is not living with family after all, that her “aunt” was a stranger who was paid money to take Valli off her own family’s hands.  She decides to leave Jharia…and so begins a series of adventures that takes her to Kolkata, the city of the gods.  It’s not so bad.  Valli find that she really doesn’t need much to live.  She can “borrow” the things she needs and then pass them on to people who need them more than she does.  It helps that though her bare feet become raw wounds as she makes her way around the city, she somehow feels no pain.  But when she happens to meet a doctor on the ghats by the river, Valli learns that she has leprosy.  Despite being given a chance to receive medical care, she cannot bear the thought that she is one of those monsters she has always feared, and she flees, to an uncertain life on the street. 
My Review: 
Valli lives in Jharia, India and spends her days picking up stray pieces of coal to cash in for money for food.  Coal fires have been burning under the town for nearly one hundred years.  Coal is in the air which comes up through cracks in the earth.  If you’re a man, you work in the mines or the pits, hacking at the coal with pickaxes and shovels.  If you’re a woman, you walk up the narrow steep trails with large heavy baskets of coal on your head.  Children pick up any stray lumps they can find. 
Valli has no friends other than her “cousins” and they throw rocks at the lepers who live across the railway tracks.  They think they are monsters who will eat them up.  One day Valli discovers that her “aunt” is not really related to her at all, but merely some woman paid to take Valli off her mother’s hands.  Valli decides to leave Jharia. 
She climbs into the back of a coal truck and buries herself beneath the black coal deciding to go wherever the truck takes her.  During one of the two men’s stops, they discovered Valli in the back and took her to a woman they know who was known for taking in stray and abandoned children.  Once the woman was able to wash the layers and layers of black coal off Valli’s body and out of her hair, she soon discovered that Valli had leprosy and kicked her back out onto the street. 
Valli found herself in Kolkata, which is the capital city in West Bengal, India which used to be called Calcutta.  She slept on sidewalks, in doorways, in cemetery’s, and other places she could find.  She begged for money for food or tried to impress tourists with a few words in German and English that she had learned.  This was usually enough to garner her a few rupees. 
One day she meets Dr. Indra who takes Valli under her wing at her hospital.  She cleans her up and explains to her that she has leprosy but Valli has no intentions on staying in any hospital with other lepers.  After Dr. Indra bandages her raw and oozing feet, Valli returns to the streets where she meets up with some rather interesting adventures, eventually making her way back to Dr. Indra. 
This was a beautifully written book that is written without the usual “fear” that we all feel when we even so much as hear the word “leprosy”.  Deborah Ellis was able to explain, in layman’s terms exactly what the disease is, how one contracts it, and what the cure is.  
Note:  Leprosy is caused by a bacterium that destroys the nerves in the cooler parts of the body, especially in the hands, feet, skin, and eyes.  It can begin to show itself as white or discoloured patches on the skin.  If it remains untreated, it starts to take feeling out of hands and feet.  People become unable to feel pain, and they can’t tell when they become injured.  Their injuries lead to infection and permanent damage. 
Leprosy is one of the oldest recorded diseases in human history.  It is now curable with medications, surgery, and skin grafting.  However, because of its ability to disfigure, it is a disease that has been much feared and misunderstood.  In many communities, people with leprosy are still cast out of mainstream society because the community doesn’t understand that leprosy is hard to get and can be cured. 
Kudos go out to Deborah for penning such a beautiful story and for donating all royalties from this book to: The Leprosy Mission of Canada at

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Story Description:
Scribner|November 9, 2012 | Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4516-1748-1 
Over five years in the writing, The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel. 
In 70 C.E., nine-hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert.  According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived.  Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman’s novel is a spellbinding tale of four extraordinarily bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom has come to Masada by a different path.  Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death.  Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by what they have witnessed.  Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and an expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow solider.  Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power. 
The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege.  All are dovekeepers and all are also keeping secrets about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and whom they love.  The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s masterpiece. 
My Review: 
I have read a lot of novels about ancient Jerusalem during this era but I must begin this particular review with one word – WOW!!  I was completely entranced with Alice Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers which took place during the Roman siege during the first century abbreviated as C.E. which stands for Common Era.  Common Era refers to the years counting forward from the birth of Jesus.  C.E. has mostly replaced the old use of A.D. in an effort to appease non-theological references and non-believers. The use of Common Era is a more accepted practice now. 
The Jewish war was written around 75 C.E. by a man named Flavius Josephus who was a Jewish historian. 
Masada was a desert fortress situated at the top of a rock cliff at the western end of the Judean Desert and overlooking the Dead Sea.  Masada is the Hebrew word for fortress. 
Hoffman delivers a breathtaking account of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E.  In 73 C.E. the Roman Governor Flavius Silva marched against Masada with the Tenth Legion.  The Romans quickly built camps at the base of Masada in preparation to lay siege to it.  They built massive walls and constructed a rampart, then built a huge ramp, moved the battering ram up the ramp and breached the wall of the fortress. 
The story is told through the voices of four different women: Yael, Revka, Aziza and Shirah.  Each of these women had secrets about where they came from, who they are, who their fathers were, and who they love.  Each of the women’s stories bound them together throughout the novel emotionally and symbolically.  The change in each woman’s story flowed effortlessly and leant to the dynamic retelling of this sad and tragic period in history. 
The dramatic end to this story will rip your heart out and leave tear-stains on your pages as you turn them.  The title The Dovekeepers has a symbolic meaning throughout the story. 
I’ve read a lot of Hoffman’s work and I believe this to be her very best.  I believe this will become a classic in the future and a novel that will be talked about in book groups, people’s living rooms, in the news and will be a bestseller.  I for sure will be touting the merits of this book to anyone and everyone who will listen.  Kudos to you Ms. Hoffman!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Story Description: 
HarperCollins Publishers|October 16, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-44340-861-5 
For sixty years, Lloyd Robertson lived his dream of working in broadcasting bringing us the major events of the day.  The longest-serving TV news anchor in Canadian history, first on CBC and then on CTV, Robertson remains one of the most accomplished journalists of our time.  His career is truly the story of Canada over the past half century, as he told us about key events like the moon landing, JFK’s assassination, Trudeaumania, Terry Fox’s run, the Montreal Massacre, 9/11, and the royal weddings. 
In The Kind of Life It’s Been, Robertson shares the inside story and the insights he has gained over his long career, from breaking into the business in his hometown of Stratford, Ontario, to joining the CBC to his highly public departure for CTV to his career as senior editor of CTV News.  Filled with fascinating and often hilarious anecdotes about Robertson’s career, this book captures the essential tales of our time and is a must for any Canadian interested in the inner workings of a frenetic newsroom. 
My Review: 
Who doesn’t love Lloyd Robertson?  Lloyd’s memoir will fill you up and leave you feeling satisfied as if you’ve just sat down and finished a long, well-deserved homemade turkey dinner.  No one has been in broadcasting as long as our dear Lloyd and he has the credentials to prove it. 
I was somewhat surprised to learn of his mother’s problems and his father’s older age, he certainly didn’t have much of a childhood and I felt he was lonely a lot of the time but always managed to find himself something to do.  He was self-motivated from the word go and it’s not at all surprising he became so very successful. 
The Kind of Life It’s Been is a riveting story about a man who truly is Canada’s voice!  Lloyd is a man who is not only known and loved in Canada, but around the world!



Story Description: 
Random House of Canada|March 6, 2007|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-679-31328-1 
Set during Burma’s military dictatorship of the mid-1990’s, Karen Connelly’s exquisitely written and harshly realistic debut novel is a hymn to human resilience and love.  
In the sealed-off word of a vast Burmese prison known as the cage, Teza languishes in solitary confinement seven years into a twenty-year sentence.  Arrested in 1988 for his involvement in mass protests, he is the nation’s most celebrated songwriter who resonant words and powerful voice pose an ongoing threat to the state.  Forced to catch lizards to supplement his meager rations, Teza finds emotional  and spiritual sustenance through memories and Buddhist meditation.  The tiniest creatures and things-a burrowing ant, a copper-coloured spider, a fragment of newspaper within a cheroot filter-help to connect him to life beyond the prison walls. 
Even in isolation, Teza has a profound influence on the people around him.  His integrity and humour inspire Chit Naing, the senior jailer, to find the courage to follow is conscience despite the serious risks involved. While Teza’s very existence challenges the brutal authority of the junior jailer, perversely nicknamed Handsome.  Sein Yen, a gem smuggler and prison fixer, is his most steady human contact, who finds delight in taking advantage of Teza by cleverly tempting him into Handsome’s web with the most dangerous contraband of all: pen and paper. 
Lastly, there’s Little Brother, an orphan raised in jail, imprisoned by his own deprivation.  Making his home in a tiny, corrugated-metal shack, Little Brother stays alive by killing rats and selling them to the inmates.  As the political prisoner and the young boy forge a cautious friendship, we learn that both are prisoners of different orders; only one of them dreams of escape and only one of the achieves it. 
Barely able to speak, losing the battle of the flesh but winning the battle of the spirit, Taza knows he has the power to transfigure one small life, and to send a message of hope and resistance out of the cage. 
My Review: 
Wow, what to say about this book!  Unbelievably stupid?  Non-sensical?  Dumb?  I can’t believe people raved about this novel.  It must just be me but I found it very difficult to read interest wise and it didn’t sit well with my stomach reading the descriptions of breaking apart live lizards and eating them.  The spider didn’t do much for me either.  This one definitely gets a thumbs down from me, however, I’m positive SOMEONE out there will just love it.  It just wasn’t my cup of tea at all.


Story Description: 
Knopf Doubelday|January 10, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-385-51029-5 
The bestselling author of Drowning Ruth returns to the small-town Wisconsin she so brilliantly evoked with this gripping novel about love, marriage, and adultery. 
In the summer of 1963 a plot for revenge destroys a career, a friendship, and a family.  The consequences of the scandalous event continue to reverberate, touching the next generation.  Thirty years later, over the course of one day, Jon struggles to decide whether to end his affair or his marriage.  His wife, Ginny, moving closer to discovering his adultery, begins working for an older man who is mysteriously connected to their families’ pasts.  And Jon’s mistress is being courted by a suitor who may be more menacing than he initially seems.  As relationships among the characters ebb and flow on that July day, Christina Schwarz illuminates the ties that bind people together-and the surprising risks they take in the name of love. 
As in Drowning Ruth, Schwarz weaves past and present into a richly textured portrait of the secrets and deceptions that simmer beneath everyday life in a small Midwestern town.  With page-turning intensity and in prose at once lush and precise, she beautifully conjures the emotional labyrinth of a marriage on the brink of collapse and proves that no matter how hard we work to stifle them, the secrets of the past refuse to be ignored. 
Betrayal versus loyalty…lust versus love…infidelity versus honor.  Welcome to the complex web of Christina Schwarz’s dazzling new novel, So Long at the Fair. 
My Review
Just couldn’t get into this story at all either.  This is my day to blog about books I didn’t like or just couldn’t get interested in.  Surely someone else out there will love it.  You can read the synopsis above and decide for yourself.  The interesting thing is, I absolutely loved Schwarz’s “Drowning Ruth” but found this one blasé and disappointing.


Story Description: 
HarperCollins Publishers|September 10, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-06-220146-1 
In The Cutting Season, a riveting thriller intertwines two murders separated across more than a century.  
Caren Gray manages Belle Vie, a sprawling antebellum plantation that sits between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, where the past and the present coexist uneasily.  The estate’s owners have turned the place into an eerie tourist attraction, complete with full-dress re-enactments and carefully restored slave quarters.  Outside the gates, a corporation with ambitious plans has been busy snapping up land from struggling families who have been growing sugar can for generations, and now replacing local employees with illegal laborers.  Tensions mount when the body of a female migrant worker is found in a shallow grave on the edge of the property, her throat cut clean.   
As the investigation gets under way, the list of suspects grows.  But when fresh evidence comes to light and the sheriff’s department zeros in on a person of interest, Caren has a bad feeling that the police are chasing the wrong leads.  Putting herself at risk, she ventures into dangerous territory as she unearths startling new facts about a very old mystery-the-long-ago disappearance of a former slave – that has unsettling ties to the current murder.  In pursuit of the truth about Belle Vie’s history and her own, Caren discovers secrets about both cases – ones that an increasingly desperate killer will stop at nothing to keep buried. 
Taut, hauntingly resonant, and beautifully written, The Cutting Season is at once a thoughtful meditation on how America reckons its past with its future, and a high-octane page-turner that unfolds with tremendous skill and vision.  With her rare gift for depicting human nature in all its complexities, Attica Locke demonstrates once again that she is “destined for literary stardom” (Dallas Morning News). 
My Review: 
For some reason, try as I might, I just couldn’t get into this story at all.  I attempted it three different times but it just didn’t pique my interest or hold my attention.  I’d heard so much about this novel and was looking forward to reading it so much that perhaps I set my expectations too high.  Therefore I will leave you without a review but you have the synopsis of the book above to peruse.  I’m sure someone out there will just love this book!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Story Description: 
Random House|May 29, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-345-51832-3 
Lyrical, emotional, dramatic, and packed with Nancy Thayer’s trademark warmth and wisdom, Heat Wave tells the moving story of a woman who, after her seemingly perfect life unravels, must find the strength to live and love again. 
After her husband’s sudden death, Carley Winsted is determined to keep her two daughters in their beloved home on Nantucket.  To ease the family’s financial strain, she decides to transform their, grand, historic house into a bed-and-breakfast.  Not everyone, however, thinks this plan prudent or quite respectable – especially not Carley’s mother-in-law.  Further complicating a myriad of challenges, a friend forces Carley to keep a secret that, if revealed, will undo families and friendships.  And her late husband’s former law partner is making Carley confront an array of mixed feelings.  Then, during a late-summer heat wave, the lives of Carley and her friends and family will be forever changed in entirely unexpected ways. 
My Review: 
I absolutely loved this story.  Carley Winsted and her two daughters, Cisco and Margaret are grieving over the death of their husband and father.  He died suddenly of an undiagnosed heart condition in the prime of his life.  Cisco is bent on becoming a ballerina and throws herself into practising but she doesn’t have the build for it and her mother is worried how she is going to take the news once she is told.  As a pre-teen, Carley is expecting Cisco to crumble. 
Carley needs to either find a job or turn her in-laws beautiful old family home into a bed-and-breakfast to make an income for her and the girls to survive on.  However, Annabel, her rather stoic mother-in-law isn’t at all happy with that news but Carley goes ahead and decides to do it anyway.  She is gloriously happy and is really cut-out for the job. 
Carley’s best friends run into a bump when one of the other husband and wives gets together with another’s husband and throws a monkey wrench into the friendship.  Carley is the only one that knows what is going on and struggles whether to tell her best friend, the wife, the her husband is sleeping with another of their friend’s wives.  What will she do?  She knows it’ll cause hard feelings all around. 
Wyatt, her deceased husband’s best friend is causing Carley to have feelings she hasn’t had in quite some time and she’s worried because her husband hasn’t even been dead quite a year yet.  She questions whether she should be falling in love with someone so soon after his death.  Will she take up a relationship with Wyatt. 
Then something terrible happens to, Vanessa, one of her best friends, and everything in Carley’s world changes forever. 
Nancy Thayer has written a real story about real women.  She has an uncanny knack for taking real life situations and putting them in story mode.  This novel is completely believable and I actually know someone who several of these issues happened too.  I love her books and always highly recommend them.  Well done, once again, Nancy

Monday, January 14, 2013


Story Description: 
Baker Publishing Group|January 1, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7642-1069-3 
Award-winning Regency Romance from Bestselling author Julie Klassen. 
Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall Coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons.  But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts.  Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty?  Who sneaks into her room at night?  Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration? 
The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems – and secrets – of their own.  They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy.  She had been an awkward, studious girl.  But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her. 
When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor’s daughter figure out which brother to blame…and which brother to trust with her heart? 
My Review: 
Emma Smallwood lost her mother two years ago and her father, John, runs ‘The Smallwood Academy’, a school for boys.  Emma is the tutor who helps her father run the school, but they no longer have any students and can’t survive without any income.  Her father is very depressed over the death of his beloved wife and has no ambition whatsoever to try and find new students to enrol in his academy.  
A few years ago, two of the Weston family’s sons, Phillip and Henry, had attended the Smallwood Academy and Emma knows they still have two younger sons who she hopes will enrol in their school.  This prompts her to write a letter to Sir Giles Weston, a baronet, offering seats in their school for the two young boys.  However, Sir Giles replies and invites Emma and John to their mansion to privately tutor their two young sons at home. 
Once they arrive on the Cornwall Coast, the home of the Weston’s, all is not as it appears.  There are a lot of unexplainable things happening during the night and someone is playing tricks on Emma.  Each member of the Weston family seems very weird in their own way and the matriarch (step-mother) of the family is a stoic, snobbish woman who appears very untrustworthy from the beginning and the patriarch (Sir Giles) just seems to go along with whatever rules and demands his wife makes and not really paying any particular attention to what she is doing. 
Something is very strange about this entire family and their house and who and why is someone trying to scare Emma?  This family is hiding a secret of some sort and Emma intends to discover just what that secret is.  Why is there a room that no one is allowed entry too?  Why would someone steal Emma’s personal journal then finally return it with a page torn out?  That missing page is eventually slid back under her bedroom door with a terrifying and threatening drawing on it.  However, even with all this going on, Emma is falling in love with one of the Weston brothers. 
Will this person responsible for the drawing be caught before there are possible deadly consequences for Emma?  Will Emma discover the family secret and will the Weston brother realize that Emma is in love with him? 
Julie Klassen has written a superb story that will grab you in the beginning and not shake you lose until the very end.  I found it very hard to put this book down.  I’ve read other novels by Ms. Klassen but The Tutor’s Daughter is something special! 
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".