Julie Klassen’s chilling and gripping novel, The Tutor’s Daughter, written in 2012, is a real page-turner that sucks the reader into its mysteries, twists and turns.
The novel takes place in Cornwall in 1817, a place famous for its mysterious shipwrecks. The story begins with Emma Smallwood, daughter of a tutor, who is determined to save her family financially after their school for young men goes bankrupt. Emma begins writing to her father’s former pupils determined for them to reopen their school again. To their surprise, a reply comes from Lord Weston, a former supporter of their school. Lord Weston writes about his younger sons needing tutoring before sending them to university. After no other replies, Emma and her father prepare to leave for the Weston estate in Cornwall for an entire year.
The novel can be described as a mystery or thriller novel as Emma and her father embark on their trip to Cornwall and are unwelcomed by the Westons. When Emma begins to settle in, strange things begin to happen. Emma hears someone come into her room and move around with her belongings. Another night, she hears someone playing the pianoforte only to find no one there.
When Emma tells of the mysterious happenings, no one believes her. Emma befriends Lady Weston’s ward, her orphaned niece Lizzie. Lizzie is a high-spirited 17-year-old who has a childish nature, but Emma enjoys her company. Lizzie tells Emma about the former Lady Weston, who mysteriously died years prior and still haunts the home. However, Emma does not believe her. The Weston’s older sons, Phillip and Henry, arrive and are surprised to see Emma. Henry and Weston both attended Emma’s father’s academy during their childhood. Phillip took a liking to Emma, but Henry was always cruel. Emma is surprised to see that Henry has changed, and they begin a friendship. Henry does not believe any of Emma’s mysterious experiences but slowly begins to believe her when they become a reality to him as well.
The novel is filled with romance, betrayal, mysteries and thrills. Klassen has a way of keeping her readers interested with her gripping twist and turns. Each of her novels has its unique mysteries, and she always has a way to fool her readers. This novel is highly recommended for readers who love thriller and mystery novels.
by Mikayla Rainey