Christian Historical fiction - England early 1800's
As a young child, after her mother died Isabel was left at the Fellsworth School. She was still there when her father died and her sister joined her. Later a teacher, she never expected to leave unless as a governess. One day a visitor comes to tell her that she has an Aunt, who brings her and her sister to live with them at their mansion. But all is not as it seems.
Her Aunt and Uncle expect her to enter society and marry well. Isabel isn't even used to talking to men, and now has two she interacts with. Quite a different life than what she had expected. Still it is exciting with all the dresses and parties. Always fond of gardens and outdoors, there's a forest alongside the estate, but even though she is drawn there she's been warned to stay away. Conflicting advice from her Aunt, Uncle, Cousin and suitors makes things difficult, and as time goes by she uncovers more secrets and realizes how little she really knew about her mother. Lessons in self-worth and faith in God's influence and guidance throughout.
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From the moment I began this story I couldnt bear to put it down for along! Being a great fan of regency novels I was eager to begin Dawn at Emberwilde and to see what author Sarah E. Ladd had to offer- Ive been looking at her books for a while now and I wanted to know if the insides were as lovely as all the covers! I was not disappointed!
This book follows Isobel Creston, an aspiring schoolteacher who has some up through the ranks in the small girls school she and her half-sister Lizzy have found home for many years. Orphaned, Isobels main hope and dream is to make a safe and comfortable life for herself and her sister. But their entire lives are turned upside down when relatives magically appear to claim them and invite them to live in their family estate.
Everything is not as it seems at Emberwilde however, the great forest that surrounds the estate is said to be haunted, her cousin is cordial but hiding something and her aunt clearly has her reasons for bringing them there but Isobel cant figure out why- or get her aunt to answer questions about Isobels mother and why she left the family. To complicate matters two gentleman of the county seem to have a growing interest in her- and as Isobel faces the pressures of her aunt to marry and marry quickly- when all she really wants to do is protect her sister from the trappings of the lavish lifestyle that she is quickly becoming used to- and figure out why God has brought them to this place!
All throughout the book I found Isobel a sensible and likeable character that in a gentle way put God and her morals at the forefront of her life. Isobel was not in any way stuffy or un-relatable, she is pictured from the first as someone with a great whimsy and love of nature, someone who was kind and sought the best for those around her.
Lest anyone think that this book is all romance and naught else- never fear! There is a great mystery lurking under the cover of darkness in Emberwilde Forest and Collin Ellison, the local magistrate is keen to get to the bottom of it- his only problem is he keeps running into a certain attractive young lady that has recently arrived on the estate! I liked Collin a great deal and really took a shine to his manner and thinking, and his presence was a welcome addition to any scene!
Overall I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it! I made a great read in between work over the course of a week and I looked forward to that time I could pick it up and enjoy it. I will look forward to enjoying more of Sarah Ladds work in the future too!
I have been given a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and opinion of the product.
Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E. Ladd was a pleasure to read. It was one of those novels that I found myself thinking of between readings, wondering what would be happening next. I happened to also be watching Bleak House in my spare time, and the two had a very similar feel for me. I found the relationships complex and gripping and I enjoyed the way that Ms. Ladd used vivid descriptions without being pedantic and verbose. I would highly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in books along the lines of Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens but are looking to read it in more contemporary language.
I was provided this book for free from The Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Isabel has been able to rely on her daily life, with no changes, no surprises, and then she receives a visitor that changes her life forever. All of a sudden there is family who is looking for her, who are opening their home to her. This seems like a dream come true. But is it really a dream come true? Or a nightmare come to life?
Take a Jane Austen setting in an Alfred Hitchcock plot and you have Dawn at Emberwilde. The story kept my attention and Kept me from a few sleepless late hours. The only bummer I have about it is the ending. There was such a build up and I felt the ending, although it is (Possible spoiler alert) not a cliffhanger, it seemed very rushed to me. As if the author had reached her deadline and just finished up the story without putting in the proper care and detail it deserved. Otherwise, it was a very good story, in my opinion, anyway.
*I received this book free from Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review. What I have expressed are entirely my own thoughts.*
The book started out kind of slow for me, but as I got to know the characters and the plot began to take place, it picked up speed and I became more interested in what was going on.
Isabel lost both her parents and after spending years in a girls school, was forced to move to Emberwilde to live with her estranged aunt and uncle, of whom she has no recollection. Emberwilde is dark and mysterious, full of mystery and superstitions, including legends that encompass even Isabel's mother. Isabel and her half-sister Lizzie have mixed emotions about being thrown into this new situation and even more so when they discover things are not as they seem at the estate. As two men vie for her heart and
attentions, Isabel is exposed to danger and adventure. In a day and age when marriages were arranged based on status, Isabel's ideal of marrying for love, may not happen. With conflicting ideas being thrown at her, discerning the right man for her affections may not prove simple.
I enjoyed the character of Colin, the magistrate, the most. He seemed to be the most honest, true to self person in the story. I also enjoyed the play out of his relationship with Isabel as they got to know each other and began learning to trust despite the opposing forces. The villain was predictable as was most of the plot, but that did not take away from the gratification in reading the story. Several of the characters could grate a bit on the nerves, but of course that compels you to continue reading.
Sarah is a new author for me. I would certainly read her again, given the chance.
This book was provided to me by Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. I am not required to review it positively or otherwise compensated for my opinion.