Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen

The Bridge to Belle Island
Good Day!  Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen.  She worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer.  Julie is the author of Tales from Ivy Hill series.  Visit the Tales from Ivy Hill website for more information about this historical series.  Julie and her husband have two sons and live in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Visit her website for more information about her books, to read her blog and to join her email list.  Readers can follow her on Facebook.
This is Eel Pie Island, one of around 180 river islets – known as ‘eyots’ or ‘aits’ – on the Thames, born of the river’s meandering, 184-mile path from the Cotswold hills to the North Sea.
The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen has Benjamin Booker losing a court case in April of 1819 because he allowed himself to believe the lies fed him from a beautiful woman.  Ben promises himself and his mentor, Robert Hardy, that he will not let it happen again.  Percival Norris, a senior partner at Norris, Hardy and Hunt where Ben works, is killed.  He handled the Wilder estate and recently had a disagreement with Isabel Wilder which she followed up a harsh letter.  Ben is sent to Belle Island where Isabel resides to discover if she has left the remote place recently.  Isabel Wilder lives on Belle Island in the Berkshires where the family’s country estate resides.  She has not left the island ten years thanks to her fears.  Isabel is stunned when she learns about Percival’s death especially when she discovers the scene of the crime mimics a dream, she had the night before he was murdered.  Ben finds himself fascinated with Isabel despite his attempts to hold himself aloof.  When a second person is killed, the evidence once again points to Isabel.  Someone is setting her up and Isabel does not who she can trust.  The truth needs to be uncovered before Isabel is arrested for the crimes. 
River Thames Path Walk and Cycle - Interactive guide to the Thames Path National Trail with River Thames Maps
The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen is a fascinating historical novel.  I believe this is Julie Klassen’s best novel yet.  The story contains rich, developed characters.  The authors vivid descriptions made the characters come alive for me.  I enjoyed the depictions of their clothing along with the scenery and homes.  I thought Julie Klassen captured the time period.  It was fascinating to learn more about the Thames.  Living on Belle Island when there are heavy storms is like living in Florida when a hurricane approaches.  The water level rises subjecting the inhabitants to flee to the mainland and hope that their homes will still be there when they return.  The mystery was fascinating and fun to solve.  Someone with access to Percival Norris’s home must have done the evil deed and we get to follow the clues to discover which individual committed the crime.  The romance plays out slowly which I liked.  Ben is understandably hesitant to trust any woman and Isabel has her own reasons for distrusting men.  Julie Klassen’s writing is compelling and drew me right into the story. The pacing is languid which suits the time period and story. The Bridge to Belle Island has romance and mystery in Regency England which is a fabulous combination.  
15 Best Things to Do in Maidenhead (Berkshire, England) - The Crazy Tourist
The Bridge to Belle Island can be purchased here.  If you enjoy reading inspirational historical novels, you do not want to miss out on The Bridge to Belle Island.  Julie Klassen's next novel is An Ivy Hill Christmas:  Tales from Ivy Hill Novella which releases on September 1, 2020 (can pre-order here).  Thank you for visiting today.  I will be sharing my review of Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain tomorrow.  I hope you have a peaceful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Promenade dress, 1813. Repository of arts, literature, commerce, manufactures, fashions and politics. Ackermann
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