Author: Julie Klassen
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: On Devonshire Shores #2
Release Date: December 5, 2023
Publisher: Bethany House
Royalty comes to Sidmouth, bringing unexpected danger and the sweet possibility of romance. . . .
When the Duke and Duchess of Kent and their daughter--the future Queen Victoria--rent neighboring Woolbrook Cottage for the winter, the Summers sisters are called upon to host three of the royal family's male staff in their seaside house. But they soon realize they've invited secrets and intrigue into their home.
Meanwhile, Emily Summers longs to become an author. A local publisher offers to consider her novel if she will first write a Sidmouth guidebook for him. Emily agrees and begins researching the area with help from the Duke of Kent's handsome private secretary. But a surprise visitor from her past shows up at Sea View, leaving Emily torn between the desires she's long held dear and her budding dreams for the future.
Return to the Devonshire coast with the Summers sisters, where loyalties are tested, secrets come to light, and new love emerges.
Reviewer: Paula Shreckhise
A royal visit from a prince.
Master storyteller Julie Klassen has brought reality into this series by giving an account of a royal visit by baby Victoria and her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, to the village of Sidmouth. The specifics of the visit and the pomp that went along with it fascinated me. Ms. Klassen has woven her characters into the lives of the royals and their entourage in an engaging way. The Summers sisters and their mother are hosting several of the household staff of the Duke.
This book showcases Emily Summers and her aspiration to become an author. I was glad to see that Mr. Gwilt, from book one, had written a book about Parry the Parrot and that Emily was encouraging him to publish the work.
Ah, Emily. She has been pining for Charles, an old friend from back home whom she has not heard from in over a year. However, when James, secretary to the Duke, boards with the Summers at Sea View, Emily takes particular notice. She will have to seek God’s will and search her own heart for answers to her confusing emotions.
This was a sweet, engaging story with many interesting details and some exciting and tragic scenes. Especially helpful was a map of the village. I am looking forward to book three from this English seaside village in 1819.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Bethany House through Interviews and Reviews. I was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Winnie Thomas
The lovely cover, an intriguing premise, and an author known for writing appealing historical fiction combined to entice me to read this book, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Although it’s the second in a series, it can be easily read as a standalone book. I’ve read many of Julie Klassen’s stories, and I’m always impressed by her careful historical accuracy and knowledge of the time periods and customs of those times. It allows me to be fully immersed in the story.
Set against the backdrop of the Devonshire coast in 1819, A Winter by the Sea swept me away and kept me engrossed throughout. The characters are carefully drawn and realistic. This book spotlights Emily Summers and James Thomson, the Duke of Kent’s private secretary.
When the Duke and Duchess of Kent come to Sidmouth for the winter, the Summers sisters are asked to house some of the royal couple’s staff while they are there. The other Summers sisters, especially Sarah, had fairly large roles in the tale and added depth and interest. I’m looking forward to learning more about them in the next book in the series.
Based on actual happenings, this tale is entertaining and informative. I enjoyed learning more about this piece of English history. The author’s note in the back of the book provided a look into the author’s research and was very much appreciated.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers through Interviews & Reviews. All opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Rebecca Maney
"You will never guess. You are to have royal neighbors!"
Instead of winter providing a quiet respite from the continual demands of guests at their coastal English boarding house, the Summers sisters receive startling news: the Duke and Duchess of Kent, along with their baby daughter, have decided to winter in a neighboring residence and have requested lodging for three of their male staff at Sea View. While the extra income would be welcomed, word has it that the royal coffers are already overspent.
Additionally, James Thomson, the duke's private secretary, quietly catches the attention of Emily Summers with his kind heart, love of fine literature, and ease with words. Quite unexpectedly, Emily's past revisits Sidmouth, leaving her no other option but to echo this plea: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all."
The author's conversational cadence lends an easy-going atmosphere throughout each chapter, even when, or especially when, the characters experience awkward moments alongside tearful, fearful circumstances. Yet, my favorite line rises above all clatter and clamor to announce: "Kissing the man you loved wasn't like poetry. It was better."
Enjoy this journey along England's beautiful coastline with a family whose tight-knit relationships provide the strength and courage that they need to navigate this particularly unique "winter by the sea".
I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through Interviews and Reviews. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Reviewer: Conny Withay
“You, heavenly Father, are the only one who knows my future. Help me trust you with it,” Emily prays in Julie Klassen’s novel, A Winter by the Sea.
The second in the On Devonshire Shores series, this four-hundred-and-forty-eight-page paperback targets those who enjoy Christian romance regarding family loyalty. Containing no profanity or explicit sexual scenes, the topics of theft, poverty, physical abuse, illness, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. With a map at the beginning of the book, the ending includes an author’s note, ten discussion questions, the author’s biography, and advertisements.
In this continuing story set in an English coastal town in 1819, the Summer household has had to open their home to make ends meet. When the Duke and Duchess of Kent stay nearby, several male staff come to live with them. Emily, a want-to-be writer, still pines for a lost love, yet the duke’s private secretary, James, has her wondering where her loyalty stands.
Those who prefer romance sequels involving historical fiction from the nineteenth century in England may like this book. Others will appreciate Emily’s path to finding true love and graciously accepting the past. I enjoyed the interaction between the protagonists as they both tried to make the right decisions. Learning about fencing, Italian foods, bloodletting, and the way royalty lived was interesting and well-described.
Readers who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not care for the prayers or Biblical references, but they are few and not the tale's focus. Others may not like reading about fortune-telling or its outcome, as it has no edifying qualities. I found the story initially slow to start, but it picks up speed about halfway through.
Since I did not read the prior book in the series, I believe it would be helpful to include a list of the many characters. I question why subtle lies were not condoned and wish the simple plan of eternal salvation was better described.
If you want to know what happens in the Summer sisters’ lives while running a seaside boarding house, this one about choosing love over societal standing will keep you engaged.
I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews. I am under no obligation to give a positive review.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
A Winter by the Sea by Julie Klassen is the second book in the On Devonshire Shores series. It is a wonderful fictional romance blended with actual historical events that kept me engaged from the first page to the last.
The beautiful cover transports the reader once again to the seaside village of Sidmouth, where the Summers family is preparing their home to receive three male members of the royal family's staff. The Duke and Duchess of Kent and their baby (the future Queen Victoria) are staying nearby in Woolbrook Cottage for the winter. As the sisters, Sarah, Emily, and Georgiana, prepare their home to receive their guests, they soon begin to realize that hosting royal staff members comes with intrigue and lots of secrets.
As Emily pursues her writing career, she develops a relationship with the Duke of Kent's private secretary. Unfortunately, as feelings begin to grow, someone from her past comes knocking on the door, hoping to re-establish their past acquaintance.
While the last book in this series, The Sisters of Seaview, introduced us to the Summer sisters, there was one sister, Claire, who was mentioned but not really explored. In this book, we learn a little more about what happened to Claire and why she was exiled to Scotland. I hope we get to meet Claire in a future book, as she definitely has a story to tell.
I really enjoyed this book and the close relationships these sisters had with one another. The author does a delightful job of exploring not just the main characters but the secondary ones as well. Each character adds something that makes this book hard to put down. And of course, let's not forget the romance! That was very well done, and I was seriously wondering if Emily would forgive Charles Parker, who jilted her because of Claire or pursue her relationship with James Thomson (the Duke's secretary). You'll have to read it to find out!
If you love historical romances, you will enjoy A Winter by the Sea. It can be read as a standalone, although it would be better to read the first book in the series.
I received a complimentary copy courtesy of Bethany House through NetGalley for my honest review.
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