Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, the words and opinions below are my own.
Julie Klassen is one of my go-to Christian fiction novelists. In a world where many Regency writers vie for attention, I know I can usually rely on her to provide work that’ll entertain me. Klassen is one of a select few who have taught me more about this particular era of my birth country’s history than any formal history classes did. Actually, the curriculum during my school years missed most of it and we gained a skewed perspective from BBC period comedies. I can also say that I am NOT a particular fan of Jane Austen. The 1990s BBC production of Pride and Prejudice gave me a slight appreciation of her work, but that’s it.
Is it strange that someone who isn’t a fan of Austen can enjoy novels inspired by the 19th century writer? In my case, I enjoy the stories rather than the art of the storytelling. The Bridge to Belle Island is a tasty whodunit, which begins with an apparently unconnected trial at the Old Bailey in London, and finishes in a Thames community far quieter than the bustling English capital. By the time I finished reading, something I might have done quicker than I did thanks to the intercession of real life, I had suspected several of the cast of characters – only to discover how wrong I was. I was tempted to re-read it to see what I’d missed. Klassen had provided the clues, but I’d failed to spot them.
This is a novel I can imagine being played out on screen, so long as it paid attention to Klassen’s descriptive settings, characters, and plot. I read the dramatic conclusion and saw it taking place in my head. I loved the ending. Yes, it’s a postscript, but it isn’t rushed. Instead, it matches the pace of the preceding pages, and contains the expected happy ending.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Publication Date: 03 December 2019