My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dawn at Emberwilde (Thomas Nelson, May 2016)
Isabel Creston never dared to dream that love could be hers. Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.
For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School in the rolling English countryside. No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would enable her to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father's death.
The unexpected arrival of a stranger with news of unknown relatives turns Isabel's small, predictable world upside down, sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.
At her new family's invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with rumors and ominous folklore---along with whispers of something far more sinister. Perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.
At Emberwilde Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past may also open the door to her future and security. But first she must find it---in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.
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I really enjoyed this new book from Sarah E. Ladd! It has just enough mystery and intrigue to keep you guessing and a lovely dose of romance to warm your heart. :)
I really like how the mystery and the romance unfolded in this book. There was enough suspense to keep your attention throughout the book with a satisfactory conclusion. And the romance of two handsome yet vastly different men attracting Isabel's attention was well done. You felt the ease of the attraction to the mysterious Mr. Bradford yet you also feel the draw to the steadiness and character of the handsome Mr. Galloway.
I also enjoyed the supporting characters. Isabel's sister Lizzie had a fun personality and helped relieve some of the somberness in several situations. Isabel's cousin Constance was, for the most part, a real help and friend to Isabel in the new world she found herself in. Mr. Galloway's big, burly, friend and co-worker, McKinney, was fun to imagine. And his cousin, Henry, was a good support to him also.
All in all, this book is very well written with a gentle pace that will be easy to follow and very enjoyable. Oh, and I can't forget the setting! The description of the countryside and the Emberwilde forest makes you want to live there! :)
*Thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions stated are my own.*
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Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.
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