The Weaver's Daughter


Kate Dearborne has loved growing up in a weaver's family. From a young age she's helped set dyes and do whatever she could to assist her father and brother. But times are changing with the ongoing Industrial Revolution, and cloth mills are quickly making the weavers' business obsolete. Kate's own beloved brother has left the family to work for Stockton Mill, and her father has never forgiven him for it, nor spoken to him in three years.

While Kate has no ill will against the millers, and has kept up her relationship with her brother Charles, she's fiercely loyal to her father and generally keeps her association to those within the weaving community.

Returning home after years serving his country in war, Henry Stockton sees the village of Amberdale with new eyes. He's ready to learn from his grandfather and prepare to take over Stockton Mill one day. Yet the people and activities that once captured his attention no longer do so. He's aware that everyone expects him to continue pursuing Frederica Pennington, but his time away has changed him enough that he desires more than a marriage of alliance between powerful mill families.

Henry and Kate soon find themselves in an Amberdale that is upturned, as violence breaks out between the weavers and millers. Loyalties will be tested on all sides, and right and wrong must be weighed anew. Kate's past and her future hopes lie solidly with the weavers, but her heart is drawing her in another direction. Meanwhile, Henry sees in Kate someone who can help him find peace and healing in his war-torn spirit.

This book would appeal to anyone who is familiar with Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, and I thought I caught tones of Poldark, as well as Romeo and Juliet. The story takes a bit of time getting off the ground, but once the action begins you'll find yourself glued to the pages. This is another delightful Regency tale from Sarah E. Ladd!


I review for BookLook Bloggers

I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
A woman in a yellow dress in the English countryside


Annabelle Thorley must make a decision. Her father has passed away amidst rumors of underhanded business dealings, and her brother's gambling debts are sinking the family further into ruin. Now her brother is leaning on her to marry a rich but repulsive - and possibly abusive - man. With her choices diminished to being forced into marriage or running away, Annabelle chooses to be brave and seek out her mother's brother for asylum. As a school superintendent at far away Fellsworth, surely he will keep her safe and help her start a new life.

Fortune seems to smile on Annabelle as she makes the acquaintance of Owen Locke, a gamekeeper from the Fellsworth area who knows her uncle and seems like an honorable man. Annabelle begs his help and his secrecy in making an escape before her choices are made for her.

Owen is a hardworking man who wants to become a landowner with better hopes for the future than his current lowly occupation. A widower with a young daughter, he's faithful and loyal to what he believes is right. Seeing the situation that Annabelle is in, Owen agrees to help her travel to the safety of her uncle's care. 

Warmly received by her Uncle Edmund and trying to settle in as an under teacher at Fellsworth, Annabelle is relieved but also challenged by her new less than privileged status. She's cheered by new acquaintances and also the steady friendship of Mr. Locke. But her past is not ready to release her yet. Her brother is looking for her, determined to use her for his own schemes.

This is quite an adventure story! It has plenty of action and a cast of characters who draw you in with the strength of their courage. I was quite captivated and had a hard time putting the book down. This is another great Regency novel by Sarah Ladd!

I received my copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.





I review for BookLook Bloggers




In another delightful Regency story by Sarah E. Ladd, we meet Isabel Creston on the day she receives extraordinary news. While she has grown up at Fellsworth School and expects to land a governess position in order to provide for herself and her young half-sister, she now learns that her mother's long-estranged family is seeking her out and inviting her to join the family at Emberwilde Hall. Isabel and Lizzie leave Fellsworth the same day and are ushered into a life of luxury and privilege.

But very soon Isabel can see that life at Emberwilde is not all that it appears. There are concerns about the estate's financial future, and Aunt Margaret is insisting that Isabel find a suitable marriage partner in as short a time as possible. Aunt Margaret believes the best match would be Mr. Bradford, who runs the local foundling home, but Isabel has barely even made his acquaintance.

Local magistrate Colin Galloway is captivated by the fair-headed newcomer with her winsome, innocent ways. He doesn't have time to think about getting to know her, having recently discovered Emberwilde forest is being used by smugglers, yet he keeps crossing paths with Miss Creston anyway. Meanwhile his cousin's widow, the woman he used to love, is making it no secret that she would welcome his renewed attention, should he care to extend it her direction.

As the secrets and mysteries surrounding Emberwilde begin to bring Isabel and Lizzie into threatening circumstances, Isabel must decide where she will take her stand. Her aunt's demands grow heavy, and refusing to comply may come with a heavy price tag. Should she submit or listen to what her own heart says is true?

I was captivated by this novel! There is just enough mystery, and plenty of delightful character-driven scenes. If you enjoy the Regency era, Sarah E. Ladd is an author you need to be following. I have loved all of her releases and am eagerly looking forward to more in the future!

I review for BookLook Bloggers

I received my copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own.
2015 held so many good reads that I am allowing myself 10 books spread over the categories below. Such a good reading year! Click on any title to read my full review.

Historical Fiction



A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron

Set in Prague, London, and the Terezin concentration camp, this stirring World War II tale brings us the story of a young woman rising to the occasion to bring hope to the darkest of days. Captivating and inspiring.




The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah Ladd

Camille Iverness has known much unkindness in her life, but never more than when her London father disowns her. With a determined spirit that would rival Jane Eyre, Camille wants to stand on her own while yet learning the healing and beauty that comes with safe community.




With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Although this book was published a few years ago, it was new to me in 2015. It's a North African World War II version of "You've Got Mail" or "The Shop Around the Corner" - in other words, lots of great things combined into one! Instant favorite.



Young Adult Fiction



The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

Rapunzel has always been one of my favorite fairy tale characters, and this much-anticipated retelling by Melanie Dickerson brought us lovely characters and a storyline that held true to the original tale while adding new twists along the way.


Speculative Fiction



The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

When Roger Greene's plane is shot down over Germany in 1943, his Nazi captors force him to become part of a scientific project. As a result, Roger ceases to age. When he is finally able to escape the underground bunker more than 70 years later, Roger must adapt to the changes in the world and try to prove his identity.


Contemporary Fiction



The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert

Two sisters, raised by the same dysfunctional, drug-addicted mother. One becomes a perfectionist and the other a rebel. When they are thrown together and forced to forge a relationship, both will be changed for the better.


Non-Fiction



Tattered and Mended by Cynthia Ruchti

Cynthia Ruchti invites us to look straight into our tattered souls and ask the Master Craftsman, our Heavenly Father, to restore us in similar ways that human craftsmen restore priceless treasures and antiques. This is a book infused with hope and healing for all of our weary spirits.




The Finishing School by Valerie Woerner

There are a lot of things that we learn in life, but sometimes applying lessons and character traits can be a harder thing to grasp. Valerie Woerner shares her journey of living out what she's learned, and makes this a book that would benefit many young women.


Classic Literature



A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

I was introduced to this book by my grandmother when I was about 10 years old, and rereading it this year was such a delight. The heroine, Elnora, is everything that is beautiful and virtuous while still being real and relatable.


Novella




Three Little Words by Melissa Tagg

We first get introduced to Melissa Tagg's fictional town of Maple Valley, Iowa, in this short and sweet story. Tomboy Ava keeps running into closed doors as she pursues her dream, but when she connects with an old writing rival she may finally find a place to fit in and be at home.



The latest Regency novel from Sarah E. Ladd had me enchanted from its first pages. Our heroine, Camille Iverness, is tender but capable as she works in her father's curiosity shop in London, where they import treasures from all over the world for people looking to expand their personal collections. Having spent several years growing up on her grandfather's country estate, Camille is more cultured than the average Londoner and has a good, genuine heart.

Jonathan Gilchrist is a country apothecary who came in line to inherit his family's fortune when his older brother died. His father has never approved of his vocation, and Jonathan has never been especially interested in managing the estate. But when his father confesses that he's gambled away the lion's share of their money and that a valuable ruby has been stolen, Jonathan is tasked with recovering the ruby and attempting to save their home and reputation. Hiring an old friend of the family to assist him, they soon suspect that the ruby has found its way to the Iverness Curiosity Shop.

Recent events have left Camille with some concerns for her safety as she works for her father, but things are so much worse than she suspects. When she finds herself desperately in need of a helping hand, Jonathan Gilchrist is there with a steady kindness and a promise to help her find a new place to live and work. She is very grateful but also a little uncertain of his motives, and decides to stand on her own as much as possible as she tries to move beyond the disappointment of the past and into a future bright with possibilities.

There was so much I enjoyed about this novel! Camille's personality reminded me so much of my own, and I believe she might be an ISTJ like me. Her determination reminded me of Jane Eyre at times. Jonathan is a wonderful hero, very sensitive and compassionate towards the needs of others. The plot was solid and held just the right amount of twists and turns, keeping me guessing until the end. This book is my new favorite by Sarah E. Ladd, which is saying something because I have greatly enjoyed her others. I'd highly recommend this for all fans of Regency stories.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own.
Lady at Willowgrove Hall


I really love Sarah E. Ladd's Regency fiction! She is a lovely voice in this growing market, and I believe her covers are the prettiest ones in the business. When I was offered the chance to review "A Lady at Willowgrove Hall," I jumped at the opportunity!

Our heroine for this story is Cecily Faire, a sweet redhead who finds herself accepting the position of lady's companion to the elderly Mrs. Trent. Cecily has a tangled past, as she has been separated from her family since the age of 16, when her temperamental father dropped her off at a school for young ladies and intentionally never came back for her. She finished her education there and then taught for a few years before setting out to make a way on her own. She hopes someday she can be reunited with her family, especially her twin sister, but has few leads about where they have moved to.

Nathaniel Stanton is the young steward at Mrs. Trent's Willowgrove Hall estate. He inherited the position from his father and the secret of his true parentage from his mother. He's been promised to receive a legacy from his biological father upon Mrs. Trent's death, but meanwhile he is doing his best to serve at Willowgrove and take care of his mother and sisters.

Scarcely has Cecily arrived at Willowgrove before she comes face to face with her past, but rather than her family, it's the last person she ever wanted to see. But life has changed for Cecily since the youthful elopement she once planned with Andrew Moreton, and she hopes he has changed, too. Would Mrs. Trent dismiss her if she found out that Cecily was once romantically involved with her nephew? Cecily feels they must keep their secret, for her sake as well as for Andrew's upcoming marriage, and meanwhile feels growing attraction for Willowgrove's kind and serious steward.

This was a gentle story with likable characters for whom it was easy to cheer. I felt the issues that Cecily and Nathaniel faced, with things in the past that haunted each of them, were ones that readers could relate to today. There was enough mystery that the narrative was enhanced by it, rather than driven by it. I greatly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to all historical fiction fans.

My copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own.



Sarah Ladd's debut novel, "The Heiress of Winterwood," was an excellent foray into Regency fiction. I've been excitedly awaiting her sophomore release in the same genre, and I am happy to report it did not disappoint. Jane Austen fans take note: Sarah Ladd is an author to watch!

Rosemere is a girls' school which leases its land and buildings from one William Sterling of Eastmore Hall. If that name is familiar, his brother, Captain Graham Sterling, was the hero of "Heiress." William isn't known for his good decision-making skills; in fact, he's now in dire straights because of his dissolute ways. Retreating to Eastmore, William is waylaid and beaten by creditors, and manages to take shelter from the cold night in Rosemere's stables. When he's discovered the next morning, he's another problem that young headmistress Patience Creighton must find grace and strength to handle.

The death of her father and disappearance of her brother have left Rosemere in Patience's hands. Patience loves teaching and giving a home to the 29 girls who live there, but her mother's grief and apathy weigh heavily on her shoulders. Patience doesn't know how to trust a God who would drop so much onto her plate at one time. Now that their landlord is having to consider selling some of his property to pay his debts, will Rosemere be closed and all the family and students evicted?

William is captivated by the strong and capable woman he is beginning to know. When his past threatens her future, William decides to take measures to protect Patience and the school as much as he can. But things become uncertain once again when Patience's brother unexpectedly returns home with new plans for the school, and William discovers a secret that his former fiancee kept from him which may change everything.

This is a tale of yearning hearts and redemption. The setting of a snow-covered English moor makes this perfect for winter reading. I loved cheering for William to turn his life around, and ached for all that Patience was bearing on her shoulders. I'm so glad to have Sarah Ladd's books on my keeper shelf, and am already looking forward to her next novel!

I received my copy of the book from LitFuse in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own.


Don't miss Sarah Ladd's latest Regency novel, The Headmistress of Rosemere. She is celebrating the release of book two in her Whispers on the Moors series with a fun "School" Your Desk Kindle Fire Giveaway and an Author Chat Facebook Party!

rosemere-400

Between January 17–28, visit Sarah Ladd's Facebook Page to enter to win a new giveaway each day and be entered to win a Kindle Fire grand prize. Winners will be announced at the Facebook Author Chat party on January 28th! (Don't have a Facebook account? Enter here.)

RSVP today for Sarah's The Headmistress of Rosemere Author Chat Party on Facebook. During the party Sarah will be hosting a book chat, testing your Regency trivia skills, announcing the winner of the "School" Your Desk Giveaway, and giving away books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she'll also be giving partygoers an exclusive look at the next book in the Whispers on the Moors series!

So grab your copy of The Headmistress of Rosemere and hope to see you on the evening of January 28th! (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)





DON’T MISS A MOMENT OF THE FUN; RSVP TODAY. HOPE TO SEE YOU ON THE 28th!

Heiress of Winterwood

My love for Regency fiction springs all the way back to its source: Jane Austen! She dedicated her book "Emma" to the Prince Regent, from whose rule this brief period takes its name. I'm excited that Regency fiction is becoming popular in the Christian market, and when Sarah Ladd's debut novel was highly praised by my favorite current Regency author, I knew this was one I wanted to get my hands on.

Amelia Barrett is a determined young woman about to be married and to inherit her father's estate of Winterwood. She becomes friends with a young pregnant woman whose husband is away at sea. When her friend dies giving birth, Amelia vows to raise the baby, against the wishes of her family and her fiance. They hope that when the child's father returns she will relinquish her devotion to little Lucy.

The idea of a young single woman adopting a child is quite an unusual one for this time period! Can you imagine if Elizabeth Bennet had done such a thing?

When Captain Graham Sterling arrives in their country neighborhood many months later, he is shocked when Amelia proposes marriage to him. In her mind that is the perfect solution: with her marriage, her inheritance is secure and she can raise Lucy, and the captain will be serving in the navy most of the time so their relationship of convenience need not be complicated. For his part, he can rest his mind knowing Lucy is loved and well cared for. Captain Sterling, yet grieving the loss of his wife and feeling like he failed her, is not ready to commit to another marriage, especially not to someone he's hardly seen before who is already engaged to be married to another man.

Concerned about losing Lucy and her fiance's true intentions in their relationship, Amelia feels desperate. She's very headstrong and feels that she must always be in control of whatever situation she finds herself in. But as Edward's actions become volatile towards her, and her family's disapproval continues to grow, she feels more than ever that the Captain could save the whole situation.

This is a very character-driven story. The only major action plot point, detailed in the second paragraph on the back cover, doesn't happen until about two hundred pages in! Not that this is bad, because my favorite stories happen to be character-driven, and Ladd does a great job setting up each major and minor character. But if you happen to like fast-moving tales, this might not be one for you. I would also not recommend this book to anyone who has triggers from emotional or physical abuse. There were a few scenes that, although brief, were concerning to me in this area.

Overall I enjoyed this story and plan to watch for Ladd's further releases. Learning to let go and trust God is a lesson that Amelia and Captain Sterling must both learn, and a challenge that we as readers face as well.

I review for BookSneeze®

I received my copy from Booksneeze in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own.

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