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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 wasnt as romantic as Id wished and parts of it dragged for me. Dont get me wrong, the writing was good and Im 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. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Say what? Julie Klassen wrote a murder mystery? I couldnt wait to get my hands on a copy and I loved every minute of this beautiful story. Its 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 its breaking her heart that she will have to miss her beloved nieces wedding in London. At least she thinks thats her worst trouble 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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jen. (JenGalaxy4 Christian Book Reviews)

    . . Ive just read my first book by Julie Klassen. And, now I must collect everything shes ever published!! I LOVED this book! Just simply loved it! The Bridge to Belle Island is a well-crafted and perfectly-paced! Its a story filled with wonderful, vivid characters and imagery. There are so many intriguing layers, twists and turns! I cant say much more, becausewellspoilers. But! One things for sure you wont want to miss this page-turning mystery at its finest! The Bridge to Belle Island is available . . 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Randi Annie Framnes

    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)

  5. 5 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!

  6. 4 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 wont 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

    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!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Staci

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

  9. 5 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. 5 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. 4 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. 5 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

    Jill Williamson

    I love Julie's books!

  15. 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

  16. 5 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.

  17. 5 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.

  18. 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."

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    The Bridge to Belle Island is a really fun murder mystery! I didn't expect that it would lean quite so hard into the murder mystery aspect of the plot, but I found that I really enjoyed it! The plot kept me guessing throughout, and I didn't ever have it quite figured out. I did feel, though, that once the killer was revealed and the mystery portion was over, the rest of the book fell a little flat. A good 350 or so pages are devoted to a short time period (maybe 2-3 weeks), and then the last 40 The Bridge to Belle Island is a really fun murder mystery! I didn't expect that it would lean quite so hard into the murder mystery aspect of the plot, but I found that I really enjoyed it! The plot kept me guessing throughout, and I didn't ever have it quite figured out. I did feel, though, that once the killer was revealed and the mystery portion was over, the rest of the book fell a little flat. A good 350 or so pages are devoted to a short time period (maybe 2-3 weeks), and then the last 40 pages span months. After being so engaged in the first 85% of the book, I felt like an outsider looking in during the last 15%. It almost felt to me like the novel needed to end once the mystery wrapped up, and then Isabelle and Benjamin's story could continue in a future novel. I still really enjoyed the novel, and I would recommend it, but it wasn't quite as amazing as I've come to expect a Klassen novel to be. Disclosure of material connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

  22. 5 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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    RATING: 3.5 STARS 2019; Bethany House Do not read The Bridge to Belle Island if you are looking for a strong mystery. The mystery in this novel is easy to figure out, and is more of background noise to help the novel along. It seems many of Klassen's faithful readers have given this book a "meh" rating as they were expecting more of her signature clean romance. I have read 3 of Klassen's novel, all part of a trilogy, and enjoyed it a lot as it reminded me of Jane Austen's writing - witty stories RATING: 3.5 STARS 2019; Bethany House Do not read The Bridge to Belle Island if you are looking for a strong mystery. The mystery in this novel is easy to figure out, and is more of background noise to help the novel along. It seems many of Klassen's faithful readers have given this book a "meh" rating as they were expecting more of her signature clean romance. I have read 3 of Klassen's novel, all part of a trilogy, and enjoyed it a lot as it reminded me of Jane Austen's writing - witty stories with romance. I was happy to see Klassen was writing a mystery, and was a bit disappointed that the mystery was a bit weaker. That is the reason I rated the novel 3.5 stars. I was engaged in the writing, and liked the characters and story, but it felt like the story wasn't sure where it was going. I am definitely in for more Klassen, especially after some grittier suspense novels. ***I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***

  24. 4 out of 5

    ✝✝ Ⓓaisy ❣ ✝✝

    This is my first book by Julie Klassen. And to my surprise, I truly enjoyed it. The story leads with a murder mystery, I was really wanted to know who was behind this ugly incident. Despite being interesting and fun to read, the book was slightly underdeveloped. The conclusion was the story was not fitting for the hype that was going on. Apart from that, I also confused myself with the change of the first name to surname too quickly considering there were quite a bit characters in this story. This is my first book by Julie Klassen. And to my surprise, I truly enjoyed it. The story leads with a murder mystery, I was really wanted to know who was behind this ugly incident. Despite being interesting and fun to read, the book was slightly underdeveloped. The conclusion was the story was not fitting for the hype that was going on. Apart from that, I also confused myself with the change of the first name to surname too quickly considering there were quite a bit characters in this story. Overall, I would recommend this book for mystery readers. I will also consider another book from this author.

  25. 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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Ive 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.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gerrie

    3.5 out of 5 stars

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Well, for those of you who have been waiting for Julie Klassen's newest work, a mystery novel to boot, wait no longer. It is definitely worth the read. Although I had a little trouble keeping all the details straight at first (my problem, not hers, but I did feel that some of the lead-up was more detailed than necessary), eventually I got into the flow of the action. She laid the groundwork very carefully, and each foundation stone eventually figures into the resolution of the mystery. There Well, for those of you who have been waiting for Julie Klassen's newest work, a mystery novel to boot, wait no longer. It is definitely worth the read. Although I had a little trouble keeping all the details straight at first (my problem, not hers, but I did feel that some of the lead-up was more detailed than necessary), eventually I got into the flow of the action. She laid the groundwork very carefully, and each foundation stone eventually figures into the resolution of the mystery. There were a few times I felt like I was reading Agatha Christie - everyone has a motive, everyone acts guilty, everyone IS guilty of something - but not necessarily of the murder. She did a great job of waiting to spring the truly guilty party on us at the last minute, with very few clues and lots of red herrings. Her historical details ring true as always, and awake echoes of Jane Austen. So if you've got this one on your TBR list, find it and start enjoying it!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christian Fiction Addiction

    Set in the early 1800's, Julie Klassen's latest historical novel was a delight to read from start to finish! With elements of mystery that brought to mind the touch of Agatha Christie, and a fabulous setting on a beautiful Island on the Thames River, I was quickly drawn into the story of lawyer Benjamin Booker as he encounters Isabelle Wilder, his prime suspect for the murder of Isabelle's trustee in London. Klassen has thrown some unexpected twists into the plot of the story, ones that kept me Set in the early 1800's, Julie Klassen's latest historical novel was a delight to read from start to finish! With elements of mystery that brought to mind the touch of Agatha Christie, and a fabulous setting on a beautiful Island on the Thames River, I was quickly drawn into the story of lawyer Benjamin Booker as he encounters Isabelle Wilder, his prime suspect for the murder of Isabelle's trustee in London. Klassen has thrown some unexpected twists into the plot of the story, ones that kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could, as I not only wanted to see how the mystery would resolve but wanted to see how things would end up for Benjamin and Isabelle and the residents of the Island. Something I especially liked about this novel is the unique struggles that both Benjamin and Isabelle dealt with. It's certainly intriguing to think about how mental illness would have been viewed over 200 years ago and how this would have impacted people's lives! Such elements gave me an extra appreciation for these characters, as did the very real grief and loss that a number of the characters were walking through. Watching them deal with hardships and yet find the strength to continue on and care for others was inspiring to see.. In the end, I quite enjoyed "The Bridge to Belle Island", finding it well-written, with great characters and just the right touch of love to tie things together. It has been a while since I've last read a Julie Klassen novel as her prior series just didn't spark my fancy, but I can say that this novel certainly lives up to her reputation as one of the most loved authors in the Christian fiction sphere. I award this novel 4 out of 5 stars. Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

  30. 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.

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