Agatha Christie meets Jane Austenin 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: I enjoyed this Regency style mystery, since it was a blend of two of my favorite genres, historical fiction and mystery. I loved the chance to travel to Swanford Abbey, a beautiful place with a mysterious feel to it, partially due to the rumors of it being haunted. When Rebecca finds herself back in her hometown, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place with wanting to help her brother figure out how to publish his manuscript. When her clandestine activities put her in a difficult situation, she must figure out how to truly help.
I thought that the author did a wonderful job of writing many layers into this story, with the murdered victim being a man who has a lot of enemies. Add to that plenty of suspense, historical tidbits, and a sweet romance, and this story was a winner!
I received this book from Bethany House. This is my honest review.