Character Spotlight: Julie Klassen’s Abigail & William with a giveaway

The secret of Pembroke HallMeet a practical woman and a curate in

Julie Klassen’s

historical romance

The Secret of Pembrooke Park

Bethany House

The Story

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter. She fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

Facing financial ruin, Abigail and her father search for more affordable lodgings, until a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll’s house left mid-play…

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquainted with the manor’s past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumors that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigail’s attention. Hoping to restore her family’s finances–and her dowry–Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eerie sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn’t the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks…or very real danger?

Introducing Abigail and William

Miss Abigail Foster

Brief physical description

Elaine Cassidy

Credit: Sophie Molins

Abigail is the practical, plain sister, with fair skin, dark hair, and brown eyes.


Elaine Cassidy in A Room with a View

Strengths and weaknesses

Abigail is organized, capable, and responsible.

She is also insecure, and feels less worthy than her prettier sister.

Quirk (if any)

Abigail is interested in architecture and loves to study and draw house plans. She values practicality over beauty and enjoyment.

Your inspiration for the character

I set out to create a likeable, empathetic character. I drew on some of what I love about Austen’s Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility) for inspiration.


Reverend Mr. William Chapman

Brief physical description

William Chapman has dark red hair and mischievous blue eyes. He is tall and well built. He stays lean and fit thanks to long country walks during which he composes sermons and visits outlying parishioners.

ResemblJJ Feildes… 

JJ Feild in Northanger Abbey and Austenland

Strengths and weaknesses

Mr. Chapman is a dedicated clergyman. He is also modest and funny and athletic.

He has a weakness for pretty women, noticing them perhaps a bit more keenly than a clergyman ought. He finds Miss Foster especially appealing and thinks other men must be blind not to notice her many charms.

Quirk (if any)

He is known for giving short sermons laced with humor, which the more staid among his congregation don’t appreciate.

Your inspiration for the character

I set out to create a clergyman who is godly but also a man’s man. No Mr. Collins here! He also has an ironic sense of humor, inspired by Henry Tilney in Austen’s Northanger Abbey.

Background to the story 

The book is set in a mysterious, long-abandoned manor. This aspect of the novel was  inspired by an abandoned house in the woods near my childhood home. I was fascinated to look upon its crumbling walls, the sagging piano, the tattered blue dress on its hanger, and the mason jars of home-canned peaches on its shelves. I tried to imagine what had happened to the people who once lived there, and why did they leave so suddenly, without their belongings? I found it very satisfying to weave this real-life mystery into The Secret of Pembrooke Park.

Thanks Julie!

Relz Reviewz Extras
Character spotlight on Emma Smallwood
Character spotlight on Margaret & Nathaniel
Character spotlight on Olivia & Lord Bradley
Character spotlight on Mariah & Matthew
Character spotlight on Lilly
Visit Julie’s website
Buy at Amazon: The Secret of Pembrooke Park or Koorong

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77 Responses to Character Spotlight: Julie Klassen’s Abigail & William with a giveaway

  1. i like the clothing and how people acted, more polite.

  2. I love the clothes and vocabulary the best, I think. And the manners of the gentry are intriguing.

  3. I think I like the dignity of it & the way that dignity was protected as much as possible.

  4. i love the clothes! Also their good manners.

  5. The manners of the era.

  6. Sybil Bates McCormack

    Awesome cover for a book by a superior writer. Thanks for the opportunity to participate in the contest. Blessings!

    • Sybil Bates McCormack

      Whoops. Hit the reply button too soon. I love all things Regency–the fashion, the language, the gallantry, the music–literally everything.

  7. What I enjoy about the Regency era are the manners that dictated people’s behavior and as a reading teacher, I love the language!

  8. I love their clothing and they way they interacted with each other.

  9. I’m still wondering about the ‘stiffness’ of the Regency Era-so much about impressions left and the correct things said. I do really like the dresses and the beautiful colors of fabric.

  10. I like the roles of men and women in the Recency era. Also, I LOVE the clothing! The era just seems rather romantic to me.

  11. Your cover to your newest books catches my eye and it is very beautiful. When I look for new and upcoming books to read, I always look for appealing covers and things that catch my eye.
    I love reading any type of Christian fiction , historical fiction and inspirational types of books. The cover always draws my attention to wether that book will capture my interest or be a great book over all to read.

  12. I like reading about the different classes in society at the time.

  13. I like the clothing, the manners, how men were men and women were women.

  14. I just love history!

  15. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’ve loved the Regency period since seeing BBC’s Pride and Prejudice version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. Maybe it’s the civility or the dancing, though I know both could mask a dark side, as well. Thanks for the post, and the giveaway!

  16. The regency era is one of my favorite times in historical fiction. I think it is because of the way that ladies were treated. It was okay for a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. The clothing is great also! Thanks for the giveaway!

  17. I think I liked the fact that there were rules in society. They could have gotten overbearing, but still, I like that! martha(at)lclink(dot)Com

  18. The clothing is lovely. I think the Regency period is also fascinating because it’s so unlike the way we live now.

  19. Wow–I think that the whole era fascinates me–the clothing, the behavior that was deemed acceptable, and the like. I’m always intrigued by what is acceptable behavior and what is considered scandalous. And I love when the characters pull a “scandalous” move! :-)

    • …that is, a funny, humorous move considered scandalous that would seem completely normal today. Ha, I didn’t realize how that sounded until after I posted the comment!

  20. What appeals to me about the regency era is how easy a scandal could be created. There were very strict social customs for courtships. Courtships and all social interactions were heavily regimented. You were constantly being watched.It could be created by peeling off a glove publicly , that would be scandalous. I like the time period, the era and mannerisms. Th story has to be strong and believeable.
    I love the cover of your book it really has intrigued me and drawn me in. I look forward to reading Abigail Foster and William Chapman’s story.

  21. Thanks, Rel! Always fun to do these spotlights!

  22. I admire their manners and stunning wardrobe.

  23. I have eagerly awaited the release of this book. I am stalking audible for the audio. Will there be one?

  24. I don’t know exactly…maybe it’s the properness, the manners…Honestly I don’t know but it has always intrigued me and i love to read those stories that have those qualities.

  25. I love the manners and the change in pace from our lives. It is interesting to see the differences between our world and theirs. I also like the seemingly distinct gender roles and yet in literature the characters constant pushing of those boundaries just like today.

  26. The atmosphere…customs, dress, manners, expectations, formalities.

  27. Lovely cover. I love the formality and clothing :)

  28. We have all longed for another time and another place!

  29. I love your story line, the characters sound interesting and make me want to get to know them better. I love the clothing, manners and the opportunity to win this book. Thanks for that chance.

  30. I love the romance and history combined…makes a very interesting book…:)

  31. For the educated and the gentry, it seems a more civil time. For the working class, I think things would actually be harder than today.

  32. I am eagerly awaiting to read this book. I love the Regency period and the idea of an abandoned mansion is intriguing. I love all of Julies books.

  33. The Regency Era brings to mind beautiful clothing, elegant homes and aristocratic manners. It also reminds me that some people, the working class, worked extremely hard and were sometimes treated unjustly.
    Thanks for a wonderful interview.

  34. the clothes of course! I also love the romance of the time

  35. The clothes, the speech, the manners, the customs (especially dancing!), and of course, the romance!

  36. I loved their way of speaking so formal and educated!!! I just love the simplicity of the era.

  37. I love learning little facts about that time. I also love seeing how people interacted in this time period. It makes for very romantic stories.

  38. I love Julie’s books. She is one of my favorite authors.

  39. I love the proper manners and the clothing. In our time it seems such a romantic time period.

  40. Super pumped about your book!

  41. I have read the sample of this book. I can not wait to read the rest.

  42. I like the characters.

  43. I Love your books, and can’t wait to read this one!!

  44. The Regency era was one of interesting customs, dress and personal interactions.

  45. What do I love about the Regency era? The clothes, the language, the humor, the manners, the balls, the simpler times…. It’s easier to answer what I don’t love about the era – which isn’t much!

  46. I love the time period, dress, manners and vocabulary!

  47. Thank you for the interview with Julie Klassen. What I like about the regency era is the way the people dressed back then. The long flowing dresses and classy hats were so beautiful. I loved the big mansions that the sophisticated and the rich lived in. Historical novels that take me back to the past is what makes reading fun.

  48. Hi there!
    I am so excited to read highlights about The Secret of Pembrooke Park! I am really looking forward to reading it, as I love all of Julie Klassen’s books and most all Regency fiction! The thing that appeals to me most about the Regency era is the properness of the era. I love that there were set standards for courtship between men and women, and that people took these standards seriously. Regency men always seem to be so gentlemanly and honorable! :)

  49. Hi Rel. I like to learn more about the years before I was ever born. I love the clothes, homes, and the way they do things. Would love to win this book. Thanks for a chance. Maxie

  50. I love that everything is so proper and ordered. Don’t know that I would like to live in it but I enjoy reading about it!!
    Thanks again Rel :)

  51. Thanks for the lovely giveaway!
    I like the sense of style, behaviour and especially the dry sense of humour!

  52. I think it is the rules and properness of the society. I think we are intrigued by it.

  53. The clothes, the romance, the history! I love it all and I love Julie Klassen to take me there!

  54. Thank you for this giveaway! Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors. In response to the question, I enjoy being transported to the different lifestyle of the Regency era. The “rules” are always intriguing.

  55. the romanticism is what appeals to me [definitely not the practicality issues as compared to today’s conveniences!]

  56. learning more about it via Julie Klassen’s book <3

  57. I really enjoy reading about the proper etiquette of the Regency era and how they hold themselves to certain rules when it comes to conversation. I enjoy many different eras when I’m reading great books!

  58. The clothes & the history that comes out in the stories I read.. I now enjoy History :)
    dkstevensne AT outlook . Com

  59. I like the manners and the clothing of that era. If only we could bring back some of those

  60. Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  61. i love the rhythm of life in that era and the way conversations and relationships unfolded. It’s beautiful. I really like the fact that Henry Tilney served as inspiration for the main male character, he is by far my favorite Jane Austen hero.
    Thanks for again holding such a great giveaway! I cannot wait to read this book.

  62. Nothing in particular.

  63. I love the strict social mores and also the way they always talk around a subject rather than directly addressing it.

  64. I’ve read several of your books and loved each one! I love reading about the Regency era. Love it all… the clothing, the manners, the different roles in society, etc… so different from lifestyles today!! When reading your books it transports me back into that era. It’s a relaxing break from the busyness of today!

  65. I love the balls, clothes, silly rules, and the overall decorum of upper society.

  66. My favorite thing is the language it’s just so beautiful, I also love the manners.

  67. The romance of it all!

  68. What appeals to you about the Regency era?I love the history, the clothes, and the romance. I also like how Julie transports the reader(me)into the story with her wonderfully descriptive writing.

    ~Tammi in Maine

    dandtdearing {at} earthlink {dot} net

  69. I love the clean romance and the “proper” way of life.

  70. Just about everything, except chamber pots and lack of showers. I enjoy the language, the clothing and the earlier way of life they lived.

  71. I like the Regency Era because men treated women with respect.

  72. I cannot wait to get my hands on this book! I love the richness of the regency era and all there is to mine from that as an author and reader. Plus Julie just does a fantastic job at it. 😉

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