Review: The Sisters of Sea View, by Julie Klassen


book cover - woman wearing long dress and bonnet on a beach.

Some guests have come for a holiday, others for hidden reasons of their own . . .

When their father’s death leaves them impoverished, Sarah Summers and her genteel sisters fear they will be forced to sell the house and separate to earn livelihoods as governesses or companions. Determined to stay together, Sarah convinces them to open their seaside home to guests to make ends meet and provide for their ailing mother. Instead of the elderly invalids they expect to receive, however, they find themselves hosting eligible gentlemen. Sarah is soon torn between a growing attraction to a mysterious Scottish widower and duty to her family.

Viola Summers wears a veil to cover her scar. When forced to choose between helping in her family’s new guest house and earning money to hire a maid to do her share, she chooses the latter. She reluctantly agrees to read to some of Sidmouth’s many invalids, preferring the company of a few elders with failing eyesight to the fashionable guests staying in their home. But when her first client turns out to be a wounded officer in his thirties, Viola soon wishes she had chosen differently. Her new situation exposes her scars–both visible and those hidden deep within–and her cloistered heart will never be the same.

Join the Summers sisters on the Devonshire coast, where they discover the power of friendship, loyalty, love, and new beginnings.


Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.

Julie Klassen returns with the first book in a new trilogy set in southern England. The Sisters of Sea View introduces us to four women aged between 15 and 26, who reside with their mother in the Devonshire town of Sidmouth. My first impression of the siblings was that Sarah – the eldest – was the practical one, while Georgiana – the youngest – did her best to be helpful. The twins, 21 year old Viola and Emily, didn’t care to be servants, but Emily found her niche. I didn’t care for Viola at first, but she did grow on me. Much of the narrative focused on Sarah and Viola, with the reader getting a clear idea of their thoughts and feelings regarding their activities. Emily received a small plotline, but Georgie was mostly a background character.

During the story, the three elder sisters learn to conquer certain fears they each have. I don’t think it’s a spoiler, however, to say that not everybody got a happy ending. While the book title implied a focus on the four sisters, only one received that. Who? I’m not going to say, but I was surprised by the direction the book took with regard to that element. There was also a family scandal, partly revealed, that resulted in a fall from society. I’m hopeful that there will be a redemption of it by the end of the final book.

This is a Christian novel but, while the characters attended church (it was the done thing and expected of them), not all had an unconditional faith. Viola expressed that she didn’t like God’s ways, especially due to her condition and the stigma attached to it, and Sarah struggled to accept His will after the loss of her fiancée who had planned on becoming a minister. Due to events in my life, I understood where they came from.

One of the highlights for me was a lighter (at first) scene in the book. A cricket match was held between the fishermen and a team of visitors to the town. I was delighted by the description of the 18th century version of the game. It all went a “bit pear-shaped” but thankfully no one was seriously hurt, including the dogs involved!

Julie Klassen excels at world-building. Her previous Tales From Ivy Hill (2016-18) trilogy is proof of that. I can only hope this On Devonshire Shores series matches up to it. So far, however, so good, and I eagerly await book two.


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 06 December, 2022

Book Information



author headshot

Julie Klassen ( loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. Her books have sold more than 1.5 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 St. Paul, Minnesota.

Julie Klassen’s website



“… a Regency feel…”

“The resort was very fashionable in the 1800s…”

“A beautiful Regency town…”

These are just a few of the statements I read about Sidmouth when I was researching the setting of The Sisters of Sea View. From what I found online, Julie Klassen looks to have nailed the location. The book includes a drawn map of locations featured, which can be lined up with any internet map of the town.

Sidmouth lies on the Jurassic Coast of southern England. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a dream location for paleontologists. There are a number of walking trails in the area, so you might even be able to walk some of the paths the fictional Summers’ sisters take in the book.

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