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.
I'm in utter shock and disbelief to learn that this is Sarah Ladd's debut novel! For she writes with such depth and skill, far advancing your expectations! Aye, she will bring fierce competition to the Regency world, that's for sure! ;)
From the stunning cover, to the opening Prologue, the story grabs hold of your heart and never lets go, nary until the last page has turned. The Heiress, Amelia Barrett is best friends with pregnant neighbor Katherine the two form a loving bond of friendship. But shortly after going into labor, she is in critical condition. Katherine's last wish is for Amelia to raise the child, Lucy. She promises she'll protect her always. Captain Graham Sterling, who's been away battling at sea, finally returns to Winterwood to learn of his wife's tragic passing and the joy of seeing Lucy. But Amelia has other ideas, and they don't include her Edward Littleton, a man who won't accept Lucy as his own -
Quote between Amelia and Graham upon his first arrival, she explains her bewildering plan:
"Captain, I have raised Lucy these nine months. I could not love her more if she were my own. She is more important to me than a hundred Mr. Littletons and a thousand Winterwoods. Believe me when I say I will do whatever necessary to see her well cared for. In order to continue raising Lucy when you return to your duties, and in order to inherit Winterwood and have the resources to provide Lucy with what she needs, I would need to marry someone besides Mr. Littleon in the next few weeks." His eyes narrowed. "What exactly are you suggesting?" "You, Captain Sterling. You and I should marry, Immediately." Graham knew the only person he trusted with his daughter was Amelia, headstrong, determined, intriguing Amelia with a passion to a promise. Within a short few weeks, Graham and Amelia learn about how they underestimate one another, that both are equally loyal, resourceful, beautiful and handsome. "That no relationship is by accident". When their faith is tested by a close enemy who plots to destroy their one true love. Can they survive the dangerous secrets and find God's peace for a happily ever after? I won't spoil it for you* ;)
Again, I'd like to sing Sarah Ladd's praises for being truly kind and gracious by sending me a copy to honestly review* LOVE YOU Miss Sarah, your sincerely the best! I hope one day I can have a relationship like Amelia and Graham's! <3