March 15, 2013

Henry Weston

***A huge hero-girl welcome to long-time follower, fellow author and blogger, Dawn Crandall. Like Whitney, I trust Dawn's hero taste completely and stalk her blog often for candidates. I'm thrilled she was able to fill in for me and be sure you show her the FHF love for bringing us Henry Weston and check out more about Dawn and her blog at the end of the feature.***

I am so honored to be the one Nancy has chosen to dissect Julie Klassen’s book, The Tutor’s Daughter in order to discuss the valiant qualities of its hero, Henry Weston. As she often does, Nancy read my glowing review back in December, and my—I own, I could not help it—gushing words about Henry, as my nomination to have him featured on her blog. I didn’t hesitate with my affirmative and excitable answer when she asked me to do this—Yes! Of course! Of the fifty books I read and reviewed on my blog last year, Henry Weston was the hero of the year in my opinion.

About Henry Weston's novel The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen (released Dec. 2012): 

Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast--a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions--where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementos?

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her...

When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?

From The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen:

      That evening, Emma, her father and Mr. Davies were just finishing their dinner when Henry Weston knocked on the open office door. Emma’s body tensed as though expecting a blow.
      Davies made to rise, but Mr. Weston raised his palm. “Don’t get up. I am only here to see Mr. Smallwood.”
      Her father rose from the table. “Henry!” He beamed and strode across the room, hand extended.
      Ignoring Emma, Henry Weston walked forward and shook her father’s hand.
      He looked very elegant in evening clothes, Emma noticed. Cravat and patterned waistcoat showed between the lapels of his dark coat. A white shirt collar framed each side of his well-defined jaw.
      Her father pummeled the younger man’s shoulder good-naturedly. “Good heavens, taller that I am. How are you, my boy?”
      Mr. Weston said, “I am well. Though I regret I was not here when you first arrived, and that your welcome was not all it should have been.”
      “Now, now, not another word about that,” her father said. “We are very happy to be here, Emma and I, especially now that you are among us.” He turned to her. “Are we not, my dear?”
      Emma’s smile felt stiff. “Oh. . . yes.”
      Her father titled his head back to better view Henry’s face. “Seeing you again does my heart good.”
      A hint of a smile lifted Mr. Weston’s mouth. “And mine. What good memories I have of my years in Longstaple with you.” he looked at the steward. “Mr. Smallwood was my tutor before Oxford, Mr. Davies. Do you recall? Phillip’s as well.”
      “I do recall, yes,” Mr. Davies said dryly. “I sent the payments, after all.”
      If Henry heard this, he gave no indication, his eyes tilting upwards in memory. “Happy days.”
      Emma nearly choked to hear him categorize them as such. Suspicion flared through her. What was he up to?
      Her father went on the say he hoped they would be seeing a great deal of each other now that Henry had come home.
      Mr. Weston, in turn, suggested they might play a game of backgammon of an evening, and her father heartily agreed.
      Henry’s gaze swept the table, avoiding Emma, before turning to Mr. Smallwood. “Well, I shall let you return to your dinner. Again, welcome to Ebbington Manor. If there’s anything you need while you’re here, please don’t hesitate to let me know.”
      As though he is the host, Emma thought. Perhaps he was.
      Her father smiled. “Thank you.”
      Henry gave a slight bow, nodded toward Emma without meeting her eyes, then turned and left the room.
Her father resumed his seat. “Well,” he began, spooning into his pudding. “He has certainly turned out well, I must say.”
      A conclusion based on what? Emma wondered. A few polite words? It would take more than that to convince her he had changed from the churlish Henry of old.

Copyright 2012 by Julie Klassen. Excerpt used with permission. All rights reserved.

Gallant Score:

I have a strong suspicion that Gallant just might be Henry Weston’s middle name. Look the word up in the thesaurus; every synonym listed more than describes him and his motto for living life properly. Brave. Dauntless. Bold. Honorable. Noble. Dignified. And I cannot go on without mentioning INTENSE. Even when he hardly says a word, these formidable attributes literally ooze from him in every scene, whether it’s a current-day scene or in a flashback from when he was a teenager at the Smallwood Academy. 

Here are some of the reasons that Henry Weston deserves every single one of those five orange heads:
  • His actions for the benefit of one of his brothers, saving him from a less-than desirable life-situation orchestrated by his uncaring step-mother.
  • He takes care of his family’s estate for the benefit of his family, despite his desire to get away and see the world.
  • He does everything in his power to save Emma from rather dire straits without a second thought for himself.
  • He is everything respectable and trustworthy in regards to Emma... not counting the harmless pranks he played on her as an adolescent.

Wounded Score:

Henry Weston is a walking heartache concerning his mother’s death, the care of his brothers and his impossible and conflicted feelings for a commoner like Emma Smallwood. Impossible, at least in regards to how his step-mother sees it, and conflicted because of his own family-issues tying him to a life he doesn’t want.

Softie Score:

To the average person Henry Weston might have the chance to associate with during the ins and outs of his days this score would probably be a big fat ZERO. He’s gruff, he’s harsh, and at first he seems very guarded and doesn’t seem too interested in dealing with anyone or anything that doesn’t pertain to the running of his family’s estate off the coast of Cornwall, England. However, once he’s reintroduced to Emma Smallwood as an adult—at the most inopportune time in regards to the issues his family is dealing with—he finds a most unlikely confidante. And slowly, though their friendship is seemingly revealed to each of them one small step at a time, Emma soon comes to find that Henry is so much more than she’d ever given him credit for. There is a noble and courageous heart under all that at-first-glance grimness.

Stupid Strike:

I suppose I can give him one of these, half a head for two different occurrences. Firstly, for the pranks he used to play on Emma when they were adolescents, though much of it was him acting out against the circumstances he found himself in. And I must add, by his doing so, he did catch her attention and kept it for a good number of years… even if she was always thinking back on him as a trouble-maker. And secondly, because of how he let Chapter 25 end!

Swoon Score:

Henry Weston’s reserved civility toward everyone just reeks of pent-up frustration... and it’s oh so interesting to keep reading… and to keep trying to figure out why! What would he have to be frustrated about? He has everything, right? Ah, but it’s all everything he doesn’t want.

Really, you ask? He deserves a perfect final score? Yes. He does. And now I will try and make you understand why (if you haven’t already figured it out).

The book is peppered with such indecipherable glances, he always seems to be leering Emma’s way… and oh dear, I suppose this is where I have to admit that those glares and questioning, sidelong looks were what pulled me through this book in the matter of a day and a half. Those looks combined with the irrepressible charm that comes out when that intense guard of his finally comes down—let’s just say that it’s a good thing this last and final score is labeled SWOON! Quite simply, he gets FIVE out of five because he deserves every single one of them.

And then there was the ending—one of my favorite endings of any book I’ve read in a very long time. Likely because of the faultless build-up and the fact that everything about the book culminated into a perfect hopelessness that had my heart strings pulled to the max. *sigh* When I was finished with the last scene, had read the last word on the last page, all I wanted to do was start reading the entire book over again from the beginning.

About Henry Weston's author Julie Klassen:

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. Find out more about Julie at

The FHF exclusive directly from the author:

Three steps I take when creating heroes are: describing him, finding a photo of an actor or model who embodies that description, and “interviewing” the character with a series of questions.

Here is the description I wrote of Henry Weston, in the early days of working on The Tutor’s Daughter:  Tall, athletic, wavy dark brown hair, pale complexion punctuated by dark stubble by mid-afternoon, deep-set yellow-green eyes, thin mouth.

The actor I had in mind as a starting point was young Rufus Sewell in Middlemarch, but along the way, as usually happens, Henry Weston became “his own man.”

And finally, here are two of Henry’s interview replies:

18.  What stands in the way of your happiness right now?

My father’s feckless ways, my step-mother’s conniving manipulation to acquire more for herself and her devious sons, her pointed hints that it is my duty to find a wealthy wife to fill the family coffers, worries over Phillip following our father’s example, worries about Adam’s future…. And now I have Mr. Smallwood and Miss Smallwood under our roof to worry about as well.

20. If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

I would have established a relationship with Adam earlier. And I would have been kinder and not have alienated Miss Smallwood in my youth.

I hope you enjoy “meeting” Henry Weston in the pages of The Tutor’s Daughter!

Amazon      Barnes & Noble

Dawn Crandall writes long inspirational historical romantic suspense from first person point of view and is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. She has written two books which are on submission as part of a series, and is working on the third. Soon after finishing her first book and becoming a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) in July 2011 she attended the ACFW national conference where she gained literary representation and soon-after became a 2012 ACFW Genesis Contest Semi-Finalist. She has a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University, writes full-time and lives in northeast Indiana with her ever-supportive engineer husband, Jonathan, and their two cats, Lilly and Pumpkin. Dawn co-hosts a book review blog called A Passion for Pages at and tweets those reviews at @dawnwritesfirst. To find out more about her, visit her author pages online at or

The giveaways:

Nancy here! Thank you so much Dawn and Julie for letting Henry join us at FHF. I'll be back on April 1st and huge thanks again to Whitney and Dawn for keeping the lights on here at FHF while I was away.

We're giving away one copy of The Tutor's Daughter in the format of the winner's choice (print or ebook)
$10 Amazon or B&N giftcard to existing readers who can name a character not given anywhere in the feature.
Be sure you leave me your e-mail address in a spam-fighting format like pranksrus (at) cornwall dot com so I can e-mail you to send you your prize.

Randomly drawn winners will be announced March 30th. (A day early for Resurrection Sunday/Easter)

Don't be shy. Tell me which drawing to put you in otherwise I think you're just sharing in the hero love that is FHF. So for fun, what's the best/worst prank you've ever pulled/had pulled on you? Now, let's play!


  1. A character not mentioned - Aunt Jane Smallwood. I'd love to receive a print copy of the book!

    1. Thanks, Kate. I was fond of Aunt Jane as well. :)

  2. Lisa Medeiros
    I have never read this book but would love to win a copy.. Henry definately has me intrigued after that review :)

    1. Thanks, Lisa. Hope you get a chance to read (& enjoy) the book!

  3. Thanks, Dawn (and Nancy),
    Fabulous review. So glad you fell for Henry as much as I did!

    1. You're welcome, Julie! I can't wait for your next book! I'm a pretty picky reader and your books impress me every time. :)

  4. I love Julie Klassen's books & don't have this one yet. And after reading how swoon-worthy Henry Weston is, I want to more than ever! Please enter me! vinson (dot) kat {at} gmail [dot] com

    1. Thanks, Lady!

  5. Julie Klassen's books are great and I can't wait to read this one. Please enter me to win the print book.

  6. I love Julie's books and cannot wait to read this one! Please enter me into the drawing. I would so love a hard copy because there's just nothing quite as romantic as reading a real, "old-fashioned" book!
    candibar313 (at) yahoo dot com

  7. Must see for myself this swoon-worhtiness, please put me in for the book.

    rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

    As for prank? I once work up my night shift husband like 2 hours after he went to sleep (8am) and told him he was late for work. I actually hid because I expected to be tackled for that one. But he only growled after I stopped him from brushing his teeth any further.

    1. Ok, that obviously should be "woke up" and it was for April Fool's I don't think he would have forgiven me if I'd done it on any other day.

    2. Wow, Melissa. You ARE a prankster! Remind me to be nice to you! :)

  8. I nominated Henry Weston and I'm tickled to see him featured so quickly! :) I enjoyed this book so much- so thankful for Julie and her great books.
    To mention a character not in the review- I will say I couldn't decide whether to love or hate Miss Lizzie Henshaw. Please enter me in the gift card drawing. :) jdfamily08 (at) yahoo dot com

    1. Thanks, again!

  9. I would love to win,Enter me!!!
    Thanks for the giveaway and God Bless!!!
    Sarah Richmond
    If I win I would pick the paperback.

  10. I would like to enter to win the paperback book :o) Thank you so much, Donna twomainecats(at)msn(dot)com
    from Maine

  11. I would love to be entered into the book giveaway for a chance to win a hard copy.
    As a teen I used to go around with others and toilet paper people's lawns. It was a harmless prank and it was fun to see if we got caught or not.

  12. I've pulled some pranks in my days...The most recent one was when my friend and I saran-wrapped our friends' car and out vaseline and pink glitter on the windows.

    Please enter me for the book drawing!!


  13. Loved this book! Henry was great!! I'm going to name John Smallwood!


    1. Thanks, Abbi. Glad to hear you loved the book!

  14. I would like to enter to win the ebook. Thank you

  15. I'd like to enter for the print copy!
    Thanks ��

    1. I haven't read Henry's story yet. He sounds like an awesome character. He sounds like such a mix of fun school boy and brooding young man. Definitely 5-star swoon worthy to me.

  16. I have heard a lot of good things about this book, and oh, it's blessed with a beautiful cover! Toss my name in for the book, please. :)

    Oh, Dawn, love those sidelong glances! "When I was finished with the last scene, had read the last word on the last page, all I wanted to do was start reading the entire book over again from the beginning."
    The true test of a good book. :)

    1. Tell me about it... about the side-long glaces AND the end of the book. :) That kind of ending just doesn't seem to happen as often as I would wish.

  17. I've read all of Julie's previous books, but havne't gotten around to this one yet, so I would love to win a print copy and read more of Henry's story!



  18. I love Julie. She is so neat, and, I would love to win "The Tutors Daughter." Please put my name in.
    Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  19. I'm just getting into Julie's them. Please enter me for an E copy. Thanks!
    Jackie Smith

  20. I loved this book so much! Which has been the case for each book of Julie's that I have read.
    And I would like to know more about Rowan, who at first appears to be Julian's partner in crime, but later turns out to have a good heart. Him or Lizzie, who I just did not know what to make of!
    And I would love a B&N gift card!

    jesusfreak4ever(at)juno dot com

  21. Veronica SternbergMarch 24, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    I'm looking forward to reading this book and all about Henry! I'd love to win the print book. When I was in 4th grade, my classmates and I tried to convince our teacher that I brought in my dog's pee and was going to drink it for an experiment. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

  22. I haven't ready any of Julie's books, but after this review I am certainly going to! I would love a copy of this one.

    Pranks..... I can't share all of my secrets but I did put kool-aid in the shower head and watched my college room mate yell at me with blue hair! :) It was not very nice, but she DID put saran wrap all over the toilet!

  23. Hey girls! Sorry I'm late (I was supposed to do the drawing on the 30th but stuff happened. Please pray for my father who has health challenges right now. Thanks!!!

    And... if I weren't seeing it myself on the list randomizer at I'd swear I was cheating, LOL, but the winner of this book drawing is:

    happygret (AGAIN!)

    And the $10 gift card also courtesy of the list randomizer at is:

    J.W. Doering
    jdfamily08 (at) yahoo dot com

    Congrats all and Dawn and Julie, thank you so much!!!

  24. Woohoo! Thanks Nancy and all! :)