Author: Julie Klassen
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: On Devonshire Shores #1
Release Date: December 6, 2022
Publisher: Bethany House
Some guests have come for a holiday, others for hidden reasons of their own . . .
When their father's death leaves them impoverished, Sarah Summers and her genteel sisters fear they will be forced to sell the house and separate to earn livelihoods as governesses or companions. Determined to stay together, Sarah convinces them to open their seaside home to guests to make ends meet and provide for their ailing mother. Instead of the elderly invalids they expect to receive, however, they find themselves hosting eligible gentlemen. Sarah is soon torn between a growing attraction to a mysterious Scottish widower and duty to her family.
Viola Summers wears a veil to cover her scar. When forced to choose between helping in her family's new guest house and earning money to hire a maid to do her share, she chooses the latter. She reluctantly agrees to read to some of Sidmouth's many invalids, preferring the company of a few elders with failing eyesight to the fashionable guests staying in their home. But when her first client turns out to be a wounded officer in his thirties, Viola soon wishes she had chosen differently. Her new situation exposes her scars--both visible and those hidden deep within--and her cloistered heart will never be the same.
Join the Summers sisters on the Devonshire coast, where they discover the power of friendship, loyalty, love, and new beginnings.
Reviewer: Cheryl Wood
Julie Klassen is one of my favorite authors and is at the top of my to-be-read pile. A beautiful story to start a new series. The Sisters of Seaview is about four sisters struggling with their father's unexpected death.
The story follows four sisters, each with their own personalities and gifts. Sara, the caretaker who loves to bake, Emily with a gift of writing, musical Viola, Georgia, and a mysterious fifth sister who left quickly. Will Sarah and Emily, who lost loved ones, be able to open their hearts to love again?
I loved reading about Mrs. Denby, Mr. Horebean, and Mr. Henshall and how they played into the story.
The story will not disappoint, and the best is yet to come. I can't wait for book two in the series to be released. If you are a fan of Louise May Alcott's "Little Women," you will quickly fall in love with the book and its characters.
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Marie Edwards
Julie Klassen is a "new-to-me" author. And I wouldn't have discovered her had I not read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. This book builds off other Austen novels – Emma and Pride and Prejudice.
That led to why I wanted to read this. Four sisters (actually five) lose their father, are almost penniless, and resort to opening their home as a "bed and breakfast," and taking jobs to afford their standard of living.
There's also a grumpy and wounded military hero (Jack Hutton).
Since this is the first book, it will introduce us to the four sisters currently at Sea View (a fifth sister is in exile in Scotland):
Viola (twin to Emily)
Georgiana (the youngest)
In addition to their mamma, there are MULTIPLE support characters. A character guide would've helped, as I had trouble keeping track of all of them.
The cast of characters adds to a robust storyline with multiple plot arcs. It is also the book's weakness, as it seems like a bunch of small stories put together. There's romance, treasure hunting, and even a "scandal."
There are some rough and realistic elements as well:
Mention of suicide.
Some race issues (even among the English/Scottish).
Reference to Alzheimer's (though it wasn't called that then).
Viola/Jack and Sarah/Henshall seem to have the romance angle more prominent. Though Viola learns there is someone the major is promised to.
Henshall is also there to look for jewelry his wife hid before her death. His wife's death also opens up a harsh reality about mental illness and its impact on families.
Given all the micro-stories going on, it was hard to narrow down and stay focused in any one place long enough to find my footing. Klassen definitely worked well to establish everyone and their relationship in the book while telling multiple compelling stories, but it felt busy and cluttered at times. As I am new to her writing, I don't know if this is her normal style or not.
This was a good read at certain moments. The story itself is 418 pages, so it is a LONG read. Sometimes I didn't know where it was going as the POV would shift within the same chapter. It's a shame, as this also had several endearing messages within the group of eclectic characters.
There were humorous moments, such as Emily finding a man in her room despite being advised that their rooms were going to guests. And one character wanted to use an outdoor privy as he hadn't used an indoor one and didn't plan to.
Klassen also takes a bold route with Henshall's step-daughter Effie and the girl's "monthly" cycle. As Effie and her mother aren't close, the girl has NO idea what is going on, and Sarah steps in with a gentle, nurturing manner and explanation.
I enjoyed some of the Jane Austen's style of referring to one's age, such as 5 and 30 (35). It brought authenticity to the book.
This is a touching, endearing, emotional, and uplifting read. It shows our outer scars can heal over time, but the inner ones remain long after the wound has healed. It also shows that we can love even after unimaginable heartbreak.
I definitely want to read the following books in the series. At the end of this book, there were a few loose ends concerning the plot. There was also a romance or two left open.
As this is from a Christian publisher, there were themes of the Christian faith practiced, even readings from the bible. Some characters displayed strong faith, and others were God-fearing but not God-loving.
Thank you in advance to the publisher, Bethany House (a division of Baker Books), for providing a complimentary review copy through Interviews and Reviews. A positive review was not required nor requested, and all words are my own.
Reviewer: Nikita Wells
"Ignoring Georgie’s groans, she opened the door with a thrill of pleasure. Ah, the smells of books— ink, paper, leather . . . life."
Don't you love a story with a library or bookshop in it? I know I sure do. This is the first book I've read by Julie Klassen, and it has simply been a pleasure to read. The story focuses on four sisters and their ailing mother living on the sea coast of Devonshire, England.
They have many funny adventures and mishaps as they learn how to run a boarding house for the tourists and other travelers to Sidmouth. (Their local town.) I loved how each character worked through different problems with the help of their new friends, neighbors and God, and became better people because they went through those trials.
This book was squeaky clean, and most enjoyable to read. I found myself laughing out loud quite often.
Thank you to Bethany House Publishers, the author, Interviews and Reviews and Netgalley for this complimentary e-book. A positive review was not required of me, and the thoughts above are my own.
Reviewer: Carolyn Bryant
The Sisters of Sea View is a wonderfully intriguing beginning to the On Devonshire Shores series.
This entertaining historical romance transports us back to England in the 1800s, where we meet the Summers sisters—Sarah, Viola, Emily, and Georgianna—and their widowed mother, Eugenia, and experience their everyday struggles and joys in trying circumstances. I enjoyed the telling of the story through the three oldest sisters’ alternating points of view. I loved the “nods of honor” to Jane Austen.
As always, Ms. Klassen’s vivid, detailed descriptions immersed me in the charming Regency Era setting. Although it started at a rather slow pace, the well-crafted, complex plot drew me in from the beginning and kept my attention to the end. Well-developed, diverse characters, main and secondary, drive the story. A bit of mystery concerning a fifth sister adds interest to the narrative. Viola and Major Hutton’s love story is endearing.
I look forward to reading more about this family. Highly recommend.
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Joy Hannabass
The time is 1819, and the four Summer sisters find themselves talking about switching their home into a guest house to provide for themselves and their invalid mom.
Whatever the reason, for me, this book started off way too slow. But hang in there for a little bit. It opens up, and then wow! You will find that the Sisters of Sea View is an awesome read! I like the four sisters and found it impressive that they wanted to go to the hard work of having a guest house that would entertain young and older guests. Jack and Viola grew on me. For some reason, I wasn't impressed with them in the beginning. The world-building was great, and the characters had depth and lots of personality.
I love the setting of this story. I've always thought having a Seaside home would be a dream for me. I love the story by the sea and was happy that the Sisters could keep their home and care for their mom. There is really so much more going on in this wonderful story. You really need to read it for yourself.
I love the history part. It was evident that author Julie Klassen spent much time researching her story. And each detailed scene was so amazingly described that I felt I was living the story with the characters. The romance was spot on, and it was fun being in the middle of it all. If you enjoy a good clean historical fiction with faith woven throughout the book in the lives of characters, you will love Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
The Sisters of Sea View is a charming tale of a struggling family trying to make ends meet any way they can.
The four Summer sisters - Sarah, Viola, Emily and Georgiana, reminded me of the book Little Women in that everyone pitched in to do their part to help the family. Also, the fact that they were sisters gave it that "Little Women" vibe. The author expertly presented each sister's talents, quirks and inner thoughts so that we got to see what made them tick as the book progressed.
I was surprised this was the first book in the series because it read like something had gone on before it, especially concerning a fifth sister and their father. At times I felt lost. I look forward to reading the rest of this series, hoping that Claire's story is explored.
While the story was slow and without much excitement until the final chapters, it was the characters themselves that moved the plot. Mrs. Elton can only be described as a modern-day "Karen" who was lucky she wasn't booted out on her rear the first week of her stay. These sisters had more patience than I!
Overall, a stay at Sea View sounds lovely. The community of friendships that developed between the girls and their guests made this book hard to put down. You will enjoy The Sisters of Sea View if you enjoy historical romance.
I received a review copy courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley.
Reviewer: Anna Bottoms
The Sisters if Sea View is a novel I would happily read over and over again. The author has captured the sisterly relationship perfectly. The characters in this book are written with their own unique personalities, strengths and weaknesses, each lending to the depth and authenticity of the story and the time.
After the death of their father four sisters find themselves striving to find a way to make ends meet while caring for their invalid mother. Sea View is their home, but could it also be used as a source of income? They take on the risk of turning it into a guest house for those who wish to spend time at the seaside.
There are so many small stories and life lessons built around Sea View and the Summers sisters. I believe there are nuances I will discover in subsequent readings.
Jack and Viola were endearing and stirred my emotions. They both suffered from physical scars and insecurities, yet were willing to take a chance. As their story played out I found myself hopeful for their romance.
As with all of Julie’s books there is a thread of faith and charity that anchors everything together. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
I received a copy through NetGalley courtesy of Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This is my honest opinion of the book.
Reviewer: Billi Varela
This was my first novel by Julie Klassen and will not be my last. I really enjoyed this read. I especially loved the family dynamic. I come from a close family, so this one hit home for me.
I enjoyed this book and can not wait for the next one. This was a heartfelt novel. I loved the chemistry between Viola and the Major. Honestly, the best thing.
The thing I didn’t like was that it felt slow at the beginning. However, as the novel continues, it picks up and becomes more entertaining. I really liked the history parts of this book. I like learning stuff about history as I read an entertaining novel.
This is a must-read. If you feel that this book is boring in the beginning, all I have to say is, “Keep reading!” You won’t regret it. You’ll be anticipating the next book.
This was a clean read.
I requested and received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through Interviews & Reviews. All the opinions are my own.
Reviewer: Karen Baney
Genre: Regency Romance
Time Period: 1819
Location: Sidmouth, Devonshire, England
Romance: Very clean. Light kissing.
Faith: Lightly woven into the story. A character struggles with releasing control to God.
Julie Klassen describes the seaside village of Sidmouth and the guest house of Sea View in stunning fashion. She provides enough detail for the reader to feel immersed in the setting while allowing the reader’s imagination to fill in details. She also masterfully conveys the essence of the regency period by using historically accurate wording throughout. These two elements of her writing style set her head and shoulders above her regency author peers.
Overall, the story was engaging, though slow to start as it follows three different points of view: Sarah, Emily, and Viola. The author stayed true to the sisters’ unique personalities and perspectives throughout the story which added depth to the narrative.
The love stories develop sweetly, interspersed with some fun and eccentric minor characters, the guests staying at Sea View, and the invalids that Viola reads to. These minor characters add a wonderful flavor to the story and tension at the right times.
One pleasant surprise is the dedication of the book. If you normally skip it, I encourage you to read it along with the author’s note at the end. As a fan of the show Sanditon, I found this story offered a few similarities to the delightful show while standing apart as a unique work and heart-warming read. I strongly recommend this book to fans of Jane Austin, Regency Romances, and Sanditon. If you like any of these, you will love this book.
Disclaimer: I requested and received an advanced copy of this book courtesy of Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley and Interviews & Reviews. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
We are listed in The Book Reviewers Directory!