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The Bridge to Belle Island

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After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn't satisfied with Bow Street's efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn't satisfied with Bow Street's efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect—a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But should he trust her? On Belle Island, Isabelle feels safe and leads a productive life, but fear keeps her trapped there. When Mr. Booker arrives with news of her trustee's murder in London, Isabelle is stunned. She has not left the island, yet she has a recurring dream about the man's death. Or is it a memory? She had been furious with him, but she never intended...this. When a second person dies, and evidence shockingly points to her, Isabelle doesn't know who to trust: the attractive lawyer or the admirer and friends who assemble on the island, each with grudges against the victim. Can she even trust her own mind? While they search for the truth, secrets come to light and danger comes calling.


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After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn't satisfied with Bow Street's efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn't satisfied with Bow Street's efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect—a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But should he trust her? On Belle Island, Isabelle feels safe and leads a productive life, but fear keeps her trapped there. When Mr. Booker arrives with news of her trustee's murder in London, Isabelle is stunned. She has not left the island, yet she has a recurring dream about the man's death. Or is it a memory? She had been furious with him, but she never intended...this. When a second person dies, and evidence shockingly points to her, Isabelle doesn't know who to trust: the attractive lawyer or the admirer and friends who assemble on the island, each with grudges against the victim. Can she even trust her own mind? While they search for the truth, secrets come to light and danger comes calling.

30 review for The Bridge to Belle Island

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This reminded me of a Hercule Poirot story. It was a story of who done it! Someone was murdered and I had no idea who killed them. And things just got more mysterious with every page. I love this authors writing and I love the time period. But having said that...This wasn’t as romantic as I’d wished and parts of it dragged for me. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was good and I’m always going to read every book she writes. I hope this was helpful. This was a NETGALLEY gift and all opinions are my This reminded me of a Hercule Poirot story. It was a story of who done it! Someone was murdered and I had no idea who killed them. And things just got more mysterious with every page. I love this authors writing and I love the time period. But having said that...This wasn’t as romantic as I’d wished and parts of it dragged for me. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was good and I’m always going to read every book she writes. I hope this was helpful. This was a NETGALLEY gift and all opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jen. (JenGalaxy4 Christian Book Reviews)

    . . I’ve just read my first book by Julie Klassen. And, now I must collect everything she’s ever published!! I LOVED this book! Just simply loved it! The Bridge to Belle Island is a well-crafted and perfectly-paced! It’s a story filled with wonderful, vivid characters and imagery. There are so many intriguing layers, twists and turns! I can’t say much more, because…well…spoilers. But! One thing’s for sure – you won’t want to miss this page-turning mystery at its finest! The Bridge to Belle Island is . . I’ve just read my first book by Julie Klassen. And, now I must collect everything she’s ever published!! I LOVED this book! Just simply loved it! The Bridge to Belle Island is a well-crafted and perfectly-paced! It’s a story filled with wonderful, vivid characters and imagery. There are so many intriguing layers, twists and turns! I can’t say much more, because…well…spoilers. But! One thing’s for sure – you won’t want to miss this page-turning mystery at its finest! The Bridge to Belle Island is available NOW – visit www.christianbook.com to purchase yourself a copy of this fantastic book! I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley, however, a finished print copy I borrowed from the library was read for this review. A positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are completely my own. . You do not want to miss this book! Review to come! jengalaxy4.wordpress.com I received a complimentary electronic copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley, however, a finished print copy I borrowed from the library was read for this review. A positive review was not required. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Randi | randiloves2read

    When lawyer Benjamin Booker and his senior partner Robert Harvey stumbles upon a crime scene, they are horrified the victim is longtime friend and company founder Percival Norris. The case seems connected to Isabella Wilder of Belle Island. Benjamin agrees to pay her a visit to investigate the murder under the cover of giving her legal advice. The victim, Mr. Norris, has served as trustee of the Wilder estate in a way which increasingly worries and angers his charge Isabella. For the last ten When lawyer Benjamin Booker and his senior partner Robert Harvey stumbles upon a crime scene, they are horrified the victim is longtime friend and company founder Percival Norris. The case seems connected to Isabella Wilder of Belle Island. Benjamin agrees to pay her a visit to investigate the murder under the cover of giving her legal advice. The victim, Mr. Norris, has served as trustee of the Wilder estate in a way which increasingly worries and angers his charge Isabella. For the last ten years she has not left the island even once because she believes in a curse on her family. She is adamant on keeping everything as it is, stay on the island and run her willow basketry business as usual. Only trouble is, she has this strange and vivid dream of being present in the Wilder’s town house at the time of the murder. When Benjamin arrives at Belle Island, he is eager to both please his employer, Mr. Hardy, and regain confidence in himself after a very public and humiliating loss in court. He is trying to quietly dig up additional evidence in the murder case and figure out what Isabella has to do with it all. Could it be she or another family member is the actual murderer? This plot had great build up of tension. I was kept busy suspecting a number of characters of some kind of foul play throughout the story. When the victim is found I felt people of the house seem to act evasive and strange, which caught Ben's eye. Harsh weather conditions I felt added to the drama of the story too, as well as characters from Isabella's previous life entering the scene at this curious time. The vivid writing of this story draws me into the plot. It feels like I’m actually there in the beautiful English hamlet Riverton with the old village church, thatch roofed cottages and the Thames River lazily floating by. I love the descriptions of life on the river at the time. A lot of activity seemed to be going on with fishing boats and net makers trying to make a living. Weeping willow trees and lush greenery add to the lovely nature scene. I can almost hear birds chirping in the trees and feel the sun on my face, while I visualize the story. Who could imagine bad things happen in a beautiful place like this. I found the menu descriptions of the dinner party at Belle Island as thorough as they were impressive. People really did know how to eat and party at the time. The dancing part an issue in it’s own right. The relationship between Isabella and Ben I felt grew slowly but surely amidst all the drama in a way that complimented the story without overpowering it. The Bridge to Belle Island is recommended for fans of Julie Klassen’s other works and for readers of historical fiction. My rating 5 stars / 5 (All opinions in this review are my own)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    I have read many Julie Klassen novels and was overjoyed when I received The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen. This book introduces a lawyer named Benjamin Booker who experiences a detrimental loss in his career. So now, he has trust issues, particularly with beautiful women. When he and his mentor discover that an old partner has been found murdered, they are determined to bring the culprit to justice. The evidence leads them to Isabelle Wilder on Belle Island. Isabelle has experienced so I have read many Julie Klassen novels and was overjoyed when I received The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen. This book introduces a lawyer named Benjamin Booker who experiences a detrimental loss in his career. So now, he has trust issues, particularly with beautiful women. When he and his mentor discover that an old partner has been found murdered, they are determined to bring the culprit to justice. The evidence leads them to Isabelle Wilder on Belle Island. Isabelle has experienced so much tragedy in her life that she has not left her island in 10 years. Or has she? Evidence points to her, but she is adamant that she is innocent. Can Benjamin believe her? Or is he too trusting? If she is innocent, then who committed the murder? I have always enjoyed Julie Klassen novels but this one is just on another level! There is a wonderful romance story and historical aspect, but the murder mystery just adds so much more. It is complex and I was trying to solve the murder as I was reading. It was not predictable either, which is huge for me! The moment I picked up the book, I did not want to put it down. The characters feel so real and engaging. In fact, I could really relate to both Benjamin and Isabelle. Benjamin struggles with vertigo and Isabelle struggles with severe anxiety. Both of which, I struggle with. In fact, both put me in the hospital. So I could really relate to the fear and struggle they both experience. I really hope people can learn how debilitating both of these illnesses are. The book touches on many themes, but the major one is forgiveness which really tugs at the heartstrings. Isabelle is such a darling character and watching her rise above and care for those around her and forgive those who hurt her the most. Then seeing Benjamin deal with learning to trust again is beautiful as well. Those who enjoy inspirational historical fiction will love this book and those who love a good mystery won’t be disappointed either! This book deserves 5 out of 5 stars! Thank you to Julie Klassen, Bethany House, and NetGalley for a copy of the book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Say what? Julie Klassen wrote a murder mystery? I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy and I loved every minute of this beautiful story. It’s atmospheric and broody. Our heroine has been trapped on the island for years with a sort of agoraphobia that prevents her from crossing the bridge to the mainland. She has made a good life for herself in spite of that, but it’s breaking her heart that she will have to miss her beloved niece’s wedding in London. At least she thinks that’s her worst Say what? Julie Klassen wrote a murder mystery? I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy and I loved every minute of this beautiful story. It’s atmospheric and broody. Our heroine has been trapped on the island for years with a sort of agoraphobia that prevents her from crossing the bridge to the mainland. She has made a good life for herself in spite of that, but it’s breaking her heart that she will have to miss her beloved niece’s wedding in London. At least she thinks that’s her worst trouble—until Benjamin Booker shows up with news that the estate trustee was murdered in London and there’s evidence she was present. What follows is a delightful Golden-Age style mystery along with vivid characters and the tale of a country estate on the Thames. I really loved it that the romance was super low key and the mystery took first priority in the story. Perfect for ages 14+ Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a free reading copy. A favorable review was not required.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    The author kept me guessing, almost to the end, and thankfully a wonderful job is done to totally complete this read. Greed and Pride, and maybe more, but these come in to play, and end with murder, but who wanted this lawyer dead? When the facts begin to fall, the list grows, and really surprises abound. The setting sounds so ideal, a beautiful island on the Tames, made me want to live there! If you like a book that is filled with action, most you won’t see coming, intrigue, and mystery, and The author kept me guessing, almost to the end, and thankfully a wonderful job is done to totally complete this read. Greed and Pride, and maybe more, but these come in to play, and end with murder, but who wanted this lawyer dead? When the facts begin to fall, the list grows, and really surprises abound. The setting sounds so ideal, a beautiful island on the Tames, made me want to live there! If you like a book that is filled with action, most you won’t see coming, intrigue, and mystery, and natural disaster, this one won’t leave you wanting! I received this book through Net Galley the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Staci

    Lovely historical novel by the talented Julie Klassen. The characters and setting are both charming in this Regency novel.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joleen

    The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen Characters Isabelle Wilder: Feels a curse is on her Benjamin Booker: Attorney seeking truth of a partner's murder Rose Lawrence: Isabelle's beloved niece Theodore Grant: Doctor and long time friend to Isabelle Robert Hardy: Senior partner in the law firm, Ben's boss Uncle Percy: Distant relative, trustee of Wilder estates. Christopher Adair: Rose's intended Evan Curtis: Isabelle's ex-fiancé Carlota Medina: Isabelle's friend and lady's maid 1819, London and The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen Characters Isabelle Wilder: Feels a curse is on her Benjamin Booker: Attorney seeking truth of a partner's murder Rose Lawrence: Isabelle's beloved niece Theodore Grant: Doctor and long time friend to Isabelle Robert Hardy: Senior partner in the law firm, Ben's boss Uncle Percy: Distant relative, trustee of Wilder estates. Christopher Adair: Rose's intended Evan Curtis: Isabelle's ex-fiancé Carlota Medina: Isabelle's friend and lady's maid 1819, London and Berkshire, England For nearly ten years Isabelle has created a self imposed prison at the Wilder family's country estate, an island in Berkshire, England. Because of the deaths of most of her family while not on the island, she's come to believe if she leaves, she will die. This didn’t stop the lawyers from suspecting she may have killed her uncle, a day's carriage ride to London. They were made aware of a disagreement she had with him about how to best handle the property, Uncle Percy being the trustee. Plus with her gift of two bottles of orange wine that had been poisoned, she was top on the list of suspects. Benjamin, the family's attorney, proceeded to the island to assess the possibility of her guilt. His visit was extended and one by one, new clues emerged. This was a wonderful "who-done-it". Different for Ms. Klassen. Lots of characters, lots of incidents, a surprise around every corner. And who did it? You may never guess until it’s revealed, and boy, does the action ramp up about that time!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kav

    Squeal! Eep! Squeeppp!!! Regency with a Gothic flare! I'm swooning just on principle. :-) Love the slow build to the mystery. Very atmospheric. The murder happens right at the start but the sifting through clues is delectably laborious. So many potential suspects, so many questions left unanswered. So many false trails to follow. And the secrets! Isabelle's safe island haven is anything but. Though the mystery is an important part of the story, it doesn't outshine the luxurious Regency details -- Squeal! Eep! Squeeppp!!! Regency with a Gothic flare! I'm swooning just on principle. :-) Love the slow build to the mystery. Very atmospheric. The murder happens right at the start but the sifting through clues is delectably laborious. So many potential suspects, so many questions left unanswered. So many false trails to follow. And the secrets! Isabelle's safe island haven is anything but. Though the mystery is an important part of the story, it doesn't outshine the luxurious Regency details -- the kind of scenes and dialogue that Klassen is known for. Or the intriguing relationships and community life on Belle Island. It's a far cry from the bustling London Benjamin is used to. Just as Isabelle isn't what he expected. The gentle attraction that shimmers between them is subtle and sweet, adding an understated charm to their love story. Truly sublime! I'm still basking in a blissful happy reader after-glow!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    I have read almost all of Julie Klassen's books and this has to be my favorite of all of them. The characters really jump off the page at you, demanding your attention to solve the case before another murder occurs. The story line was superb and I learned about Belle Island and River Thames , the ebb and flow of the river and it's flooding. Belle Island is fiction but I could picture myself there among it's people watching the mystery crack wide open. The story involves a disenchanted lawyer on the I have read almost all of Julie Klassen's books and this has to be my favorite of all of them. The characters really jump off the page at you, demanding your attention to solve the case before another murder occurs. The story line was superb and I learned about Belle Island and River Thames , the ebb and flow of the river and it's flooding. Belle Island is fiction but I could picture myself there among it's people watching the mystery crack wide open. The story involves a disenchanted lawyer on the island to get answers to a shocking murder. All the clues point to a beautiful woman, but is she really innocent as she claims or does she have something sinister hidden behind her beautiful eyes. Smooth flowing the story takes us from one mysterious event to the next as the story progresses . Pub Date 03 Dec 2019 I was given a complimentary copy. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Julie Klassen is a hit or miss author for me. Some of her books I love others not so much. This one fell right in the middle. It was a slow moving mystery with a bit of romance attached to the end. The story and characters take time to build. The mystery is a very good one. I was pretty stumped. Klassen wrote this so you would suspect everyone! Even the sweet leading lady who I knew could not have done it. It was a very well done book. I just felt like the characters got lost to the mystery with Julie Klassen is a hit or miss author for me. Some of her books I love others not so much. This one fell right in the middle. It was a slow moving mystery with a bit of romance attached to the end. The story and characters take time to build. The mystery is a very good one. I was pretty stumped. Klassen wrote this so you would suspect everyone! Even the sweet leading lady who I knew could not have done it. It was a very well done book. I just felt like the characters got lost to the mystery with this one and I am all about the characters. This is very chaste, there is a murder and attempted murders and some good bad guys. This is also a Christian novel, but you wouldn't know that till almost the end of the book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    One of the best Julie Klassen books I've ever read outside of Pembroke Hall. But this one is my favorite by hers. It's quite a bit different from what I'm used to reading by her but it's all good. The setting of this story is just right for what goes on in the book. The way Julie writes I pictured myself there perfectly. I enjoyed reading about Isabelle. Her struggles with anxiety reminds of of someone else I know. We lived by a creek. I've seen that creek when it's flooded and the bridge we One of the best Julie Klassen books I've ever read outside of Pembroke Hall. But this one is my favorite by hers. It's quite a bit different from what I'm used to reading by her but it's all good. The setting of this story is just right for what goes on in the book. The way Julie writes I pictured myself there perfectly. I enjoyed reading about Isabelle. Her struggles with anxiety reminds of of someone else I know. We lived by a creek. I've seen that creek when it's flooded and the bridge we crossed wasn't solid like Isabelles was. This was a swinging wooden bridge that we had to cross everyday no matter what. It was really scary so I prayed every time we had to cross it. I got dizzy when I looked down at that swirling water! I had some sneaky suspicions throughout the book on who it was and I was right!! Sometimes people seem one way and then they disappoint you. I've been there many times. Like Isabelle I've finally learned to put my trust in God. Oh yes, I'm still struggling with that for it's not easy because we think we can handle things on our own. Not so!! There's a verse that I love and it's written as a choral hymn. Our choir sang it once and it's stuck with me. God is our Refuge and Strength in times of trouble. Though the mountains will fall we will not fear something like that. Benjamin is my favorite! I love that he's flawed and along the way he too finally learns to listen and trust. Listening especially isn't easy. Too many times we have to learn the hard way just like Benjamin did. I'm just glad he didn't learn it too late. Life is fragile. We never know from one day to the next where it will take us. It's why we should tell our loved ones that we love and appreciate them while they're here. I know because all of my immediate family has passed away and like Isabelle I'm the only one left. When I lost my dad it was like I was out in limbo for a while. Some days I still feel like that until I remember my Heavenly father who truly loves me for who I am. I didn't find anything wrong with this book at all. To me, it was written perfectly. Even the cover is gorgeous. I love it. It's a wonderful hint as to what or whom the book might be about. I highly recommend this book! NO compensations were received. All opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Morgan

    The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen, while a good book is not my favorite book of hers. I think for me the problem was that I did not really like most of the characters. The plot was good but was a slow starter. Other than that I did enjoy this book once I got into it. By the time I reached the last quarter of the book, I had to keep reading, at that point I wanted to know what happened. So grab the beverage of your choice and settle in for a good read. I was given a copy of this book by The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen, while a good book is not my favorite book of hers. I think for me the problem was that I did not really like most of the characters. The plot was good but was a slow starter. Other than that I did enjoy this book once I got into it. By the time I reached the last quarter of the book, I had to keep reading, at that point I wanted to know what happened. So grab the beverage of your choice and settle in for a good read. I was given a copy of this book by NetGalley.com with no expectations. All thoughts are my own. I did subsequently by my own paperback copy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tammie

    After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn't satisfied with Bow Street's efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect--a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But After a humiliating mistake, lawyer Benjamin Booker resolves to never again trust a beautiful woman. When an old friend is killed, the senior partner isn't satisfied with Bow Street's efforts and asks Benjamin to investigate. Eager to leave London for a while, Benjamin agrees. Evidence takes him to a remote island on the Thames, a world unto itself, shrouded in mist and mystery. Soon he finds himself falling for the main suspect--a woman who claims not to have left the island in ten years. But should he trust her? 3.5 stars. I always enjoy Julie Klassen's books so I was really looking forward to reading this one. Mostly I liked it, but it is a departure from her other books. All of her other books are romances that include a little bit of mystery, but this time around we have a mystery that includes a little romance. I have to say that I thought the romance felt a little bland in this one, but I'm not really surprised about that, since the book focused more on the mystery than the romance. I think because it's a Julie Klassen book, I automatically expected the romance to be more like her other books. That being said, this was not a bad thing, just not what I was expecting. Overall this was a good read with a pretty solid mystery plot and characters that were easy to like. For the author's first mystery, it was pretty good. I've read so many mysteries that I was able to pick out who the perpetrator was easily, but I wouldn't say it was glaringly obvious. I enjoyed the book despite that. I'm not sure if the author will keep writing mysteries, but I would read another one. Thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with an ARC of this book. Review also posted at Writings of a Reader

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    'Did she believe God was loving? She wanted to trust, but fear and worry all too often won out.' I have been a Julie Klassen fan since her very first book, which I have read several times. Her Regencies are perfect and the mystery she throws in completes them. I was drawn in immediately here and continually kept trying to find the culprit. Her characters are great and the plot was also the same and the build up to the ending was superb! Recommended. *My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a 'Did she believe God was loving? She wanted to trust, but fear and worry all too often won out.' I have been a Julie Klassen fan since her very first book, which I have read several times. Her Regencies are perfect and the mystery she throws in completes them. I was drawn in immediately here and continually kept trying to find the culprit. Her characters are great and the plot was also the same and the build up to the ending was superb! Recommended. *My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for a preview copy of this book via Net Galley. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    First she pulled me into a haunting, gothic romance and most recently inviting me into a delightful village to save an old coaching inn. For this occasion, she introduces an island estate on the Thames and a mystery tying it to a dark deed done in London driving me to high expectation. Julie Klassen is a deft hand at taking the reader back to the Regency Era with her engaging characters and the gentle flow of story that passes quickly leaving the reader is left well-satisfied, but still wanting First she pulled me into a haunting, gothic romance and most recently inviting me into a delightful village to save an old coaching inn. For this occasion, she introduces an island estate on the Thames and a mystery tying it to a dark deed done in London driving me to high expectation. Julie Klassen is a deft hand at taking the reader back to the Regency Era with her engaging characters and the gentle flow of story that passes quickly leaving the reader is left well-satisfied, but still wanting more at the end. Young lawyer, Benjamin Booker, has just experienced a humiliating loss in court when the client he thought innocent had charmed him into risking all to defend her and it turned out she had utterly lied. He feels that he has disappointed his mentor at the firm and took a hard hit to his confidence in reading people and situations. However, he soon has the opportunity to prove himself to his mentor, Mr. Hardy, when Mr. Hardy wants justice for the death of his former colleague at the firm who lately held the position of trustee for the Wilder family and was murdered in their London Town House. Isabelle Wilder has seen a great deal of tragic death in her family and it has left her with a neurosis that won't allow her to leave her island family home for years now. She is sorry to miss her niece's engagement party in London because of her own weakness and has a terrible dream that their skin flint trustee was murdered. Then, a skeptical lawyer from the family firm shows up both to sort their legal matters, but to investigate the death with her as chief suspect. It was a dream, right? She has nothing to hide, she hopes, so welcomes Mr. Booker to Belle Island and invites him into her life there where he starts to mellow until disturbing facts start to come to light leading right to her door. In my mind, there can be nothing better than a murder mystery paired with the author's Regency world. The murder mystery drove much of the plot and was a solid, twisting one that had me pointing the finger a few different directions. But, it is not the only element. The main characters who shared the narration are given sympathetic and flawed backstories that affect the present. Isabelle is confronted by not trusting her safety if she leaves the island as a result of not coming to peace with past loss and Benjamin by his issues of inadequacy because he was never good enough with his father and because he didn't take up the family medical practice. This is where the inspirational element is strongest as they work through their issues and rely on their beliefs and promises in Scripture to aid them. The attention to historical background and the island setting was well done as usual. I enjoyed learning about life on the island estate that was on the Thames. The growing of the willow reeds for the basket weaving that was their prime income besides the sheep herd was fascinating, but never tedious. There is also focus on how criminal investigation was handled in those pre-CSI days and on trusteeships and their effect on single gentlewomen. As to the romance, ah yes, both Isabelle and Benjamin had me hoping. The attraction was there, but also some barriers to make it interesting. Benjamin has stiff competition from Isabelle's childhood friend, the village doctor, and her former love interest in the past (there is a strong whiff of Jane Austen's Persuasion with this story thread). At first, they are warily circling one another because Ben doesn't trust women not to trick him and Isabelle is still a prime suspect. Isabelle feels her issues will keep her single all her life even as she wistfully admires Benjamin who is London born and bred. I enjoyed the halting progress and sweetness of what built between them through harrowing moments and then the time of reflection at the end. All in all, The Bridge to Belle Island was another winner from an auto-buy author. If you love sweet Regency Romance, but want the spice of a cunning murder mystery, this book is for you.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    4.5 stars "Stay at home! Stay safe!" Her mother's last words . . . . forever etched in her brain; compelling Isabelle Wilder to remain tethered to her beautiful home on Belle Island. And now, unfortunate suspicions are swirling about her trustee's untimely death; murder they say . . . . . and somehow she is connected, albeit impossible, because she never travelled to London on that fateful night. However, she does remember having a troubling dream. Attorney Benjamin Booker has been assigned to 4.5 stars "Stay at home! Stay safe!" Her mother's last words . . . . forever etched in her brain; compelling Isabelle Wilder to remain tethered to her beautiful home on Belle Island. And now, unfortunate suspicions are swirling about her trustee's untimely death; murder they say . . . . . and somehow she is connected, albeit impossible, because she never travelled to London on that fateful night. However, she does remember having a troubling dream. Attorney Benjamin Booker has been assigned to investigate the Wilder case; the murder of Percival Norris leads him directly to Belle Island, where a lovelier-than-expected young woman turns out to be his person of interest. The case poses so many unanswered questions and supplies so many people who refuse to answer them that Ben finds it hard to truly suspect anyone, unless he suspects everyone. The longer he remains a guest of the island, the harder it becomes to think that Isabelle Wilder is capable of inflicting harm on anyone, but regrettably Ben has been wrong about attractive women before. Beautifully written, the author creates a scenario swirling with intrigue and curiosity, before placing all the pieces of the puzzle in exactly the right places; carefully allowing her readers to savor a slow burn romance, while carefully tucking in valuable faith lessons that will undoubtedly outlast the pages of her book. "State what you suspect as fact with confidence, and nine times out of ten people will believe you in possession of the evidence and respond accordingly."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    A beautiful heiress is implicated in a shocking murder, while a lawyer who vowed never to trust a beautiful face is the only one who can help her clear her name. Isabelle loves her home on Belle Island, but fears keep her from spreading her wings and going beyond it's familiar comfort. She is shocked at the accusations, but she cannot with clarity say that she did not commit the crime. Benjamin took a different path than was laid out for him, carving out a career in law. He seeks to live his A beautiful heiress is implicated in a shocking murder, while a lawyer who vowed never to trust a beautiful face is the only one who can help her clear her name. Isabelle loves her home on Belle Island, but fears keep her from spreading her wings and going beyond it's familiar comfort. She is shocked at the accusations, but she cannot with clarity say that she did not commit the crime. Benjamin took a different path than was laid out for him, carving out a career in law. He seeks to live his faith, and has a compassionate heart. He can't help but want to believe in Isabelle's innocence, even when all the clues point to her. A regency era gothic novel of murder, deceit, mystery, and betrayal. A compelling mystery, no one knows who to trust, even the suspects themselves are questioning if they could have done it. Benjamin is drawn to Isabelle despite his reservations he sees in her someone one who understands him like no one else, yet everything seems to lead to her. The mystery kept me guessing, along with the full cast of characters with secrets of their own. This is a wonderfully complex read, with good elements of mystery, faith, and characters that I loved cheering for the entire way through, with their vulnerabilities making them more real and relatable. A riveting and highly enjoyable read from beginning to end, with a mystery that kept me guessing and wonderful world building. Highly recommend this fantastic read! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kailey

    Even though it took me a little bit to get into this book, once I got into it it captured my attention. I loved how it kept me guessing. Whenever I thought I had figured out who the murderer was, something new would come to light and change my mind. I really enjoyed this book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jill Williamson

    I love Julie's books!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Loraine

    Isabelle Wilder is a 30 year old spinster who is chained to her home on Belle Island by fear since most of her relatives who left the island ended up dead. Thirty one year old Benjamin Booker is a lawyer who just lost an important case due to being swayed by the wiles of his female client. Now one of his bosses, Percival Norris, has been found dead; and the main suspect is Isabelle Wilder whose trust he handled. When his other boss, Mr. Hardy, sends Benjamin to Belle Island to investigate, he Isabelle Wilder is a 30 year old spinster who is chained to her home on Belle Island by fear since most of her relatives who left the island ended up dead. Thirty one year old Benjamin Booker is a lawyer who just lost an important case due to being swayed by the wiles of his female client. Now one of his bosses, Percival Norris, has been found dead; and the main suspect is Isabelle Wilder whose trust he handled. When his other boss, Mr. Hardy, sends Benjamin to Belle Island to investigate, he finds much more than he bargained for. Slow building suspense and a plethora of suspects set the stage for a well developed Regency, romantic suspense. When you just about think you have figured out who killed Percival Norris, there is a twist that seems to point the finger at someone else. I felt the pace was a bit slow in places, but overall a very enjoyable read. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    A great read. I very much enjoyed this regency novel complete with mystery and an interesting premise. I would have devoured it much sooner but my mom had heart surgery while I was reading it, which caused quite a bit of distraction. The story moved well and the mystery kept my guessing throughout since there was no shortage of suspects. There were quite a few surprises along the way that kept the story intriguing and the ending was pretty much perfect. Recommended! I received this book through A great read. I very much enjoyed this regency novel complete with mystery and an interesting premise. I would have devoured it much sooner but my mom had heart surgery while I was reading it, which caused quite a bit of distraction. The story moved well and the mystery kept my guessing throughout since there was no shortage of suspects. There were quite a few surprises along the way that kept the story intriguing and the ending was pretty much perfect. Recommended! I received this book through NetGalley and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    I’ve been a fan of Ms. Klassen for years, but she has outdone herself with this one. I found it outstanding and wishing Belle Island was real so I could move there. I could identify with Isabelle and her anxiety and loss of family. To see her real life struggles made her strong in my eyes. The murder mystery flowed from one scene to the next like the Thames that flowed by Belle Island sometimes smooth and sometimes roaring. Toss in Benjamin Booker and many lovable lesser characters and you feel I’ve been a fan of Ms. Klassen for years, but she has outdone herself with this one. I found it outstanding and wishing Belle Island was real so I could move there. I could identify with Isabelle and her anxiety and loss of family. To see her real life struggles made her strong in my eyes. The murder mystery flowed from one scene to the next like the Thames that flowed by Belle Island sometimes smooth and sometimes roaring. Toss in Benjamin Booker and many lovable lesser characters and you feel like you are home in a community of family. I love the research that goes into Historical Fiction as you have a better knowledge of the times and in this case how the legal system worked. I find it fascinating. I find this one “A Job Well Done” in every aspect. Highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher/author. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Bridgewater

    The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen is a Regency Mystery Romance. While the story centers around Belle Island, the story actually focuses on the hunt for a murderer and the idea of Isabella Wilder and her ability to not be able to leave the island. Isabella Wilder has a kind heart, just like most heroines in this period are written. She is afraid to leave the island since the death of her parents on the main land. The story starts with a dead body collapsing on a desk in an office. The The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen is a Regency Mystery Romance. While the story centers around Belle Island, the story actually focuses on the hunt for a murderer and the idea of Isabella Wilder and her ability to not be able to leave the island. Isabella Wilder has a kind heart, just like most heroines in this period are written. She is afraid to leave the island since the death of her parents on the main land. The story starts with a dead body collapsing on a desk in an office. The rest of the story continues for the hunt for who killed the man. Since it isn't a modern story, the foresenics isn't up-to-date as readers are used to. It was more of paying attention to details and finding clues to hunt for the murderer. The way a mystery should read. Even though the story reads like a Regency novel complete with the setting and the characters, I really enjoyed the mystery element Klassen threw in. It sparked my mystery-loving mind. As for the spiritual elements, I can't really recall anything that stood out to me. The transformation of Isabella was the most memorable thing about the characters. Overall, The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen fits right into the Regency Romance category with a hint of an overarching mystery. The mystery is subtle but just enough for fans of cozy, safe mysteries. Fans of Klassen's previous works or Sarah E. Ladd pick enjoy this novel. I received a complimentary copy of The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Set on a beautiful island, off the Thames River in London The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen is a delightful who-dun-it style suspense novel. Throughly enjoyable, marvelous characters and a storyline very well written. I truly enjoyed the descriptive parts about Belle Island and wish it was a real island I could visit. While I would like to visit, knowing full well I would leave to return home, Isabelle Wilder trapped by her own fears. As beautiful as the island is, despite her love for Set on a beautiful island, off the Thames River in London The Bridge to Belle Island by Julie Klassen is a delightful who-dun-it style suspense novel. Throughly enjoyable, marvelous characters and a storyline very well written. I truly enjoyed the descriptive parts about Belle Island and wish it was a real island I could visit. While I would like to visit, knowing full well I would leave to return home, Isabelle Wilder trapped by her own fears. As beautiful as the island is, despite her love for the island, Isabelle longs to leave so she can attend her beloved niece’s upcoming wedding. When she learns her trustee in the city has been murdered, she is quite puzzled and somewhat grieved. Delivered by one Mr. Booker, a lawyer of the same law firm, the news of the the trustees demise is followed by the news that the death was suspicious. Mr. Booker has been instructed to remain on the island for an extended visit to investigate, Isabelle. His investigation stirs up trouble and soon yet another suspicious death occurs. Julie Klassen is a wonderful writer and I highly recommend The Bridge to Belle Island.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    This is unquestionably a murder mystery, complete with all the trappings: red herrings, lies, sketchy alibis, and an abundance of suspects and motives, but set firmly in Regency era England. The mystery is definitely what drives the plot, and I didn't feel it had the emotional depth and impact of some of the author's other novels, but the constant spiritual thread about anxiety and placing one's trust in God was certainly timely for me! While I preferred Klassen's Gothic stories (The Tutor's This is unquestionably a murder mystery, complete with all the trappings: red herrings, lies, sketchy alibis, and an abundance of suspects and motives, but set firmly in Regency era England. The mystery is definitely what drives the plot, and I didn't feel it had the emotional depth and impact of some of the author's other novels, but the constant spiritual thread about anxiety and placing one's trust in God was certainly timely for me! While I preferred Klassen's Gothic stories (The Tutor's Daughter, The Secret of Pembrooke Park) to this one, it was an enjoyable foray into the classic mystery genre. If you're a fan of cozy mysteries, you won't be disappointed! Thank you Bethany House and NetGalley for the complimentary e-book. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: Benjamin Booker sat in the Old Bailey, pulse pounding. His most important case to date had finally been called to trial—his chance to prove himself to the firm’s partners. The courtroom was the usual raucous scene: noisy spectators and newsmen in the gallery, milling witnesses awaiting their turn, and wigged barristers goading one another like boxers in the ring. The Bridge to Belle Island is a wonderful read! I will share my biases up front. I usually love Julie Klassen's novels. First sentence: Benjamin Booker sat in the Old Bailey, pulse pounding. His most important case to date had finally been called to trial—his chance to prove himself to the firm’s partners. The courtroom was the usual raucous scene: noisy spectators and newsmen in the gallery, milling witnesses awaiting their turn, and wigged barristers goading one another like boxers in the ring. The Bridge to Belle Island is a wonderful read! I will share my biases up front. I usually love Julie Klassen's novels. I have yet to be disappointed with her work. I also love, love, love, love, love the Regency genre. Whether it's historical romance or historical mystery set during the Regency--I have a tendency to get swept up, up, and away and just fall head over heels with a story. Benjamin Booker is the HERO of this one. He is a law clerk for a law firm in London. When one of the founding partners in the firm (Mr. Norris) is found dead--MURDERED in his home--Benjamin Booker sets about to help solve the crime. His brother, Reuben, is in law enforcement--and is officially on the case. Booker is encouraged by Mr. Hardy, another partner, to play amateur detective. His sleuthing takes him to Belle Island to the home of Isabelle Wilder. Mr. Norris is--was--the trustee of Isabelle Wilder and her niece, Rose Lawrence. Both (young) ladies had reason to dislike Mr. Norris and his control over their lives/property. The murder occurred on the night of Miss Rose's engagement party... Can Benjamin solve the murder? Is Isabelle Wilder innocent or guilty? Is she protecting someone else? I loved this one. I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. I love mysteries. I wasn't necessarily expecting Klassen to give me a great mystery--I think of her more as a romance novelist. But I ended up LOVING every moment it. I loved that the main character was a guy. Again, something that I don't necessarily expect from a regency romance. It was a suspenseful read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    A quaint, rather remote island in the Thames River sets the stage for Julie Klassen’s latest Regency tale! Suspense, intrigue, and romance add to the essence of this captivating story. After getting rather publicly humiliated during a trial, Benjamin Booker gladly accepts the challenge of going to the country and investigating Ms. Isabelle Wilder, purported to be a possible suspect in the death of her guardian, Mr. Norris, the senior partner at Mr. Booker’s law firm. Benjamin finds himself drawn A quaint, rather remote island in the Thames River sets the stage for Julie Klassen’s latest Regency tale! Suspense, intrigue, and romance add to the essence of this captivating story. After getting rather publicly humiliated during a trial, Benjamin Booker gladly accepts the challenge of going to the country and investigating Ms. Isabelle Wilder, purported to be a possible suspect in the death of her guardian, Mr. Norris, the senior partner at Mr. Booker’s law firm. Benjamin finds himself drawn into life on the island, making his investigation a bit more challenging than he planned. As the story unfolds and more details come to light, the suspect list develops as do the motives. The main characters each have their own distinct issues to deal with adding to the complexity of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the plot twists that added depth to the intrigue. There were definitely a couple of things I didn’t see coming! A great read that will draw you in at the beginning and keep your interest all the way through. An intriguing little mystery that will surprise you, followed by a delightful ending filled with family, faith, and romance. This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own. #TheBridgetoBelleIsland #NetGalley

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ebos Aifuobhokhan

    Very interesting and intriguing book. It captivated my attention from the very first line till the end. A lot of tragedies had happened in the life of Isabella to earn her isolating herself in her lovely island. But her time out comes to an end when her life is once again treated at it's foundations. Despite her fears I enjoyed reading about her sweet spirit and her love for people. As a homebody myself I could relate with her. Ben had been bitten before by a pretty woman and he had set his heart Very interesting and intriguing book. It captivated my attention from the very first line till the end. A lot of tragedies had happened in the life of Isabella to earn her isolating herself in her lovely island. But her time out comes to an end when her life is once again treated at it's foundations. Despite her fears I enjoyed reading about her sweet spirit and her love for people. As a homebody myself I could relate with her. Ben had been bitten before by a pretty woman and he had set his heart on not to be deceived by a pretty face again but the face of Isabella caught him smack down. Together they were a force to be reckoned with. The story shoved and threw them in different paths but they always found a way to make it work. Things became very complicated and complex but I loved how the author showed how God can untangle the complexities of life and walk through it with us if we ask for help and trust him. I enjoyed most how things began to turn when the characters started to pray and read God's word. The suspense and build up of the story will keep you glued. I received a copy of the book from Netgalley for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed here are mine.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    The story begins in a courtroom, introducing Benjamin Booker in 1819. “Benjamin Booker sat in the Old Bailey, pulse pounding His most important case to date had finally been called to trial – his chance to prove himself to the firm’s partners.” Things don’t go as planned. The partners are not impressed with Benjamin and one of the partners turns up dead, Benjamin suspects there’s foul play. His partner tells him to go to Belle Island and deliver the news to the relatives. See for yourself how The story begins in a courtroom, introducing Benjamin Booker in 1819. “Benjamin Booker sat in the Old Bailey, pulse pounding His most important case to date had finally been called to trial – his chance to prove himself to the firm’s partners.” Things don’t go as planned. The partners are not impressed with Benjamin and one of the partners turns up dead, Benjamin suspects there’s foul play. His partner tells him to go to Belle Island and deliver the news to the relatives. See for yourself how they react. Everyone’s a suspect. The story is told through the eyes of Mr. Benjamin Booker a lawyer chasing down leads in the murder of one of the partners in the firm. His senior partner tells him to go to Belle Island and see what he can find. I love how the author shines the spotlight on many of the people in the story and their motives. Just when Benjamin was getting close to solving this puzzle, another body shows up with a different set of circumstances it suggests a cover up. The author says, “Belle Island is a fictional place, but it is something of a composite of the islands I researched. Physically, it resembles Ray Mill Island near Maidenhead, Berkshire, which I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few times. Named after the Ray Family, who once operated a flour mill there, the island is now a public park with lovely gardens and wooded paths.” …”the opening court room scene is based loosely on an actual trial transcript from the Old Bailey, through the names have been changed.” Benjamin meets Isabelle she’s a beauty who’s never left the Island after her parents’ death. She struggles with a dream she had about the deceased partner. It was almost like she was there. It is of the murder that Benjamin Books has come to tell her about. How could she have such a dream? She never leaves the island. This author does a great job of taking readers on a grand adventure to a beautiful Island and I enjoyed getting to know the community. It almost felt like a Sherlock Holmes mystery. It’s a complex story that had me guessing up till the end. I loved getting to know the Island it’s people and that time period. The author includes 10 discussion questions to help with your book club discussion time. This would make a fun book to discuss at your next book club meeting. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

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