Graham Sterling has spent what seems like a lifetime at sea. He is in Her Majesty's Navy and has been forced to put to port his battle-damaged ship for repairs. While on leave he returns home to find his older brother pretty much a drunkard and the family estate in major debt. His wife has died 10 months previous and he meets his 9-month-old baby daughter, Lucy, for the first time. She has been in the care of his wife's best friend, Amelia Barrett. Initially, all Graham wants to do is find someone to care for his daughter, get his ship repaired and return to the sea. Everything begins to change when he meets his daughter and Amelia.
Both main characters struggle with believing God has their best interests in mind when difficult circumstances in life come to the fore. They don't doubt the existence of God, but whether He cares for their day-to-day struggles as they both believe God has let them down in the past. There isn't a lot of action in this story and the plot moves along slowly. I would have liked more background information on these main characters to see what made them tick. I think this would have added depth to the characters and that would have helped me connect with them.
Amelia Barrett made a promise upon her friend's deathbed to take care of her baby, Lucy, as her very own. As heiress to the Winterwood estate upon marriage, Amelia finds herself betrothed to Edward Littleton, a man whose character is different than originally portrayed and who refuses to allow Lucy to stay. Upon Captain Graham Sterling's return from sea, Amelia must explain his wife's passing, introduce him to his daughter and make quick plans to ensure her bond with Lucy remains. Through many twists and turns, friends and foes, lies and loves, Amelia and Graham must learn to work together for a chance at their happily-ever-after.
A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
This book was outstanding, even more so as it was Sarah Ladd's debut novel. The characters, faith, time frame (Darbury, England: 1814), writing style, word choice and story line all kept me fully engaged until the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this story from start to finish_I was only disappointed when I read the last page! Fortunately, I have the sequel, The Headmistress of Rosemere, on my shelf to read next. Bravo!!
I absolutely love a book that only gets better as I continue to read it. I was certain I would give this a four-star rating and that I knew exactly how this would end. The more I read, the more I liked it. And in the last few pages, the author threw a wrench into the narrative that completely threw me for a loop. It was then that I called out and said that the author had earned her five-star rating!
This is a typical Christian historical romance in many ways. It's like a Christian Regency romance in many ways. However, there is no profanity nor bedrooms scenes. The Christian message comes through in a way that does not come across as preachy. Captain Sterling and Amelia do make for an intriguing character, and Edward is that villain who becomes more vile as the story goes on. If you like romance with a little bit of intrigue, this book is for you.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.
The Heiress of Winterwood, written by Sarah E. Ladd, is Book One in the Whispers On The Moors series. An excerpt from the back cover: Amelia Barrett, heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend's baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word - even to the point of proposing to the child's father - a sea captain she's never met.
The storyline was interesting; the time is 1814 in England and young Amelia promises to raise baby Lucy after the baby's mother dies. The father, Captain Graham Sterling, has been out to sea and returns when Lucy is nine months old. Amelia is so attached to Lucy by this time that she proposes to Graham when they first meet so she can keep mothering Lucy. The book was fairly fast paced and had some twists that kept the storyline moving. However I thought the ending had a predictable outcome. I still enjoyed reading this book very much and would recommend it to others.
I do get frustrated when characters go and do precisely what they were warned not to; since it's in a book, it is guaranteed to end poorly. There is no hope of a consequence-free act of defiance. I realize people do this all the time - I probably do as well - but sometimes it's so obviously a terrible decision that anyone with a lick of sense would never even consider it. Sadly, there is an instance of this in the novel.
I liked how Amelia and Graham's struggles with God were pretty universal - who doesn't struggle with doubts when bad things keep happening and people one loves die? And isn't it so easy to try to rely on one's own strength to solve problems? I've found I'm constantly having to reboot my mindset, since it wants to follow rules of this world, but God is outside all the rules and can change them when He wants. I don't have to rely on my own pathetic power, because God is there to be it for me. Bad stuff still happens - God doesn't exist just to make me happy, that's for sure - but when I let Him, He carries me through.
There was little surprise to the story, and it really went nowhere other than the expected route, from the villain, to the love story, to the supporting characters. It was, however, a pleasant read, and I do look forward to the next installment of the series.