Tag Archives: Regency fiction

Book Review (+Giveaway!): The Governess of Penwythe Hall

18 Apr

About The Book

Book: The Governess of Penwythe Hall

Author: Sarah Ladd

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: April 16, 2019

In the first of a new series from beloved Regency romance author, Sarah Ladd, Delia, a governess to five recently orphaned children, would risk anything to protect them . . . even her heart.

Cornwall was in her blood, and Delia feared she’d never escape its hold.

Cornwall, England, 1811

Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she tries desperately to forget.

Jac Trethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced at Penwythe Hall, he battles both grief of this brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess—and the mystery shrouding her past—proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall Novels series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

 

Click here to purchase your copy.

 

About The Author

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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 family and spunky golden retriever. Visit her online at SarahLadd.com; Facebook: SarahLaddAuthor; Twitter: @SarahLaddAuthor.

 

 

More About The Governess of Penwythe Hall

5 things to know about Cornwall, England:

  1. Throughout its early history, Cornwall’s inhabitants called the country Kernow.
  2. Early inhabitants largely spoke their own language known as “Cornish,” which became nearly extinct in the 1800s.
  3. The country has a long and rugged coastline and there were frequent shipwrecks.
  4. Fishing was a major industry, with herring, mackerel, and sardines being common catches.
  5. In 1870, novelist and poet Thomas Hardy called Cornwall “the region of dream and mystery.”

 

Imagine yourself in The Governess of Penwythe Hall with these pictures of 19th Century life in Cornwall

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/gallery/2016/may/19/everyday-life-in-cornwall-captured-in-the-19th-century-in-pictures

 

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/cornish_nation_01.shtml

https://www.maritimeheritage.org/ports/Cornwall.html

http://www.cornwallgoodseafoodguide.org.uk/cornish-fishing/history-of-the-cornish-fishing-industry.php

 

My Impressions:

I was immediately swept up in Sarah E. Ladd’s latest Regency-era romance, The Governess of Penwythe Hall. Ladd has long been a favorite of mine with her beautifully written tales of love and intrigue set in England of the early 1800s, but I think this book has got to be my all-time favorite. Why? I loved the caring young governess who fights fear to protect those she loves. Cordelia Delia Greythorne has lost so much, yet remains steadfast in her faith and loyal to her young charges. She is more than just a governess to the five Twethewey orphans. I also loved hunky hero, Jac Twethewey! He opens his home and his heart in ways that made him a true savior of his nieces and nephews. The wild Cornish coast and its environs as described by Ladd captured my imagination. The sea breezes and crashing waves, and the secretive smuggling that set it apart were vividly portrayed. The setting and storyline could have been enough for a good historical romance, but Ladd adds a faith thread that is relevant to modern readers. The destructive nature of fear and the triumph of faith are explored in The Governess of Penwythe Hall. One minor character had a great impact on main character Delia (and this reader) when she stated Faith is why I don’t fear tomorrow or the next day. I read that line at just the right time. Isn’t it cool how that works out! God’s sovereignty in the midst of the unknown was also a strong theme in the novel. The novel was very fast-paced, and at the end I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough as the main characters faced danger with stalwart hearts.

For adventure, intrigue, history, and, of course, romance, The Governess of Penwythe Hall cannot be beat! Add a timely and timeless inspirational message, and this novel is a real winner!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Blog Stops

Back Porch Reads, April 11

LifeofLiterature, April 11

Moments, April 11

Genesis 5020, April 11

Maureen’s Musings, April 12

The Power of Words, April 12

Mary Hake, April 12

To Everything A Season, April 12

KarenSueHadley, April 13

EmpowerMoms, April 13

For the Love of Literature, April 13

Inklings and notions, April 13

The Avid Reader, April 14

Blogging With Carol, April 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, April 14

Rachel’s Back Talk, April 15

Wishful Endings, April 15

Simple Harvest Reads, April 15 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Kat’s Corner Books, April 16

All-of-a-kind Mom, April 16

Daysong Reflections, April 16

The Becca Files, April 16

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, April 17

Blossoms and Blessings, April 17

Remembrancy, April 17

Worthy2Read, April 18

By The Book, April 18

Texas Book-aholic, April 18

Just the Write Escape, April 19

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, April 19

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, April 19

Babbling Becky’s Book Impressions, April 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, April 20

For HIm and My Family, April 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, April 21

Inspiration Clothesline, April 21

Pause for Tales, April 21

Through the Fire Blogs, April 22

Bigreadersite, April 22

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, April 22

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, April 22

Inspired by fiction, April 23

A Reader’s Brain, April 23

Hallie Reads, April 23

Henry Happens, April 24

Connect in Fiction, April 24

The Meanderings of a Bookworm, April 24

janicesbookreviews, April 24

Giveaway

 

To celebrate her tour, Sarah is giving away a grand prize of a finished paperback copy of The Governess of Penwythe Hall!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/de80/the-governess-of-penwythe-hall-celebration-tour-giveaway

First Line Friday — The Governess of Penwhythe Hall

12 Apr

Happy Friday! Today’s first line comes from my weekend read, The Governess of Penwythe Hall by Sarah E. Ladd. The spring-y cover is lovely, and I know I am going to love what’s inside too! I am anticipating a wonderful journey to Regency-era Cornwall for intrigue and romance!

What are you reading this weekend? Leave your first line in the comments, then head over to Hoarding Books for more fabulous first lines!

Cornwall was in her blood, and Delia feared she’d never escape its hold.

Cornwall, England, 1811

Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request for her to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she’s tried desperately to forget.

Jac Twethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced, he battles both grief at his brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess — and the mystery shrouding her past — proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

 

Sarah E. Ladd has always loved the Regency period — the clothes, the music, the literature and the art. A college trip to England and Scotland confirmed her interest in the time period and gave her idea of what life would’ve looked like in era. It wasn’t until 2010 that Ladd began writing seriously. Shortly after, Ladd released the first book in the Whispers on the Moors series. Book one of the series, The Heiress of Winterwood, was the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Genesis Award for historical romance.

Top 10 Tuesday — Book Hooks

2 Apr

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday is all about what makes you pick up a book. Is it the cover, a recommendation from a friend, a must-read author? Several things make me pick up (and almost always buy 🙂 ) a book. It’s no secret that a striking cover will catch the eye, but I also love clever titles that use fun fonts. And I will buy just about any book from favorite authors. Then there is book buzz — the books that seem to be on everyone’s lips and blogs. Many of the books on my list check several or all of the boxes. What about you? What makes you interested in a book?

For what captures the attention of other bloggers, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Book Hooks And The Books That Go With Them

 

Book Buzz — everybody’s talking ’bout me

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Last Year of The War by Susan Meissner

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

 

Catchy Title — words matter 

Belinda Blake and A Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

 

Cover Love — sometimes you can judge a book by its cover

Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Glory Road by Lauren K. Denton

Governess of Penwythe Hall by Sarah Ladd

 

Favorite Author — I must read their books

Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Memory House by Rachel Hauck

What makes you pick up a book?

Book Review: A Marchioness Below Stairs

28 Aug

Escaping from Bath and the news that her former love is about to marry another, Isabel, the young widowed Marchioness of Axbridge, accepts an invitation to her cousin’s house party. Yet, instead of finding respite, she stumbles into a domestic crisis of majestic proportions: The kitchen servants have succumbed to the influenza.

If that weren’t bad enough, her former sweetheart arrives with his fiancée, seeking shelter from the increasingly hazardous snow storm. Trapped inside Chernock Hall with a volatile mix of house guests, including abolitionists and slave owners, Isabel wishes she could hide below stairs for the duration. But, alas, she cannot. While helping in the kitchen, Isabel is cornered by her cousin’s disreputable friend, Marcus Bateman, who challenges and provokes her at every turn.

At last, the storm subsides. However, the avalanche of repercussions cannot be undone. Caught in the grip of the terrible winter of 1813, will Isabel’s greatest threat come from the weather, her abolitionist views, or from falling in love again?

Alissa Baxter wrote her first Regency romance, The Dashing Debutante, during her long university holidays. After traveling the world, she settled down to write her second Regency romance, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which was inspired by her time living on a country estate in England. A Marchioness Below Stairs, her third Regency romance, is the sequel to Lord Fenmore’s Wager. Also the author of two contemporary romances, Send And Receive and The Blog Affair, Alissa is a member of RWA as well as ROSA (Romance Writers Organisation of South Africa). Alissa currently lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two sons.

My Impressions:

On the surface, A Marchioness Below Stairs seems like a typical Regency novel with the emphasis on manners and romance. That’s partly true, however, this novel has more — more insight into the status of women and other vulnerable members of the early 19th century society. Alissa Baxter has penned a novel that will appeal to the Regency fan, but also to those who want a bit of depth to their historical reading. Recommended.

A Marchioness Below Stairs does indeed open with the scandalous activity of a lady cooking with the help of a gentleman. While modern readers may shrug and think what’s the big deal?, this just wasn’t done in the strict class system of Regency England. The early part of the novel is an interesting look at the manners of the gentry and titled, but the real core of the novel begins when the main character, Isabel, moves to London for the Season. Isabel is an interesting character who wants to keep her hard won independence rather than being trapped by matrimony. Her views on women’s rights and abolition of slavery are heavily influenced by the writings of Mary Wollestencraft and William Wilberforce. I loved learning about the stirrings of independence for those kept vulnerable and enslaved. What modern readers take for granted was new, unique, and controversial in the early 1800s. There is plenty of Regency elements to keep fans satisfied, but I liked the historical and political framework the author uses. Romance, intrigue, mystery, and suspense are also strong elements in this novel. The author gives the characters a moral compass and a faith in God that informs their actions and motives — this will appeal to inspirational fiction readers too. I liked just about everything in this novel — the characters, the setting, the historical details, and the sweet and tender romance. The novel also made me hungry! From white soup to savory curry dishes, cuisine is a big part of the book. Yum!

So if you like Regency romance with a dash of suspense and a glimpse into real life behind the balls and country parties, A Marchioness Below Stairs is for you!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE. (It’s only $3.99 on Kindle)

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: The Weaver’s Daughter

12 Jun

Kate’s loyalties bind her to the past. Henry’s loyalties compel him to strive for a better future. In a landscape torn between tradition and vision, can two souls find the strength to overcome their preconceptions? Loyalty has been at the heart of the Dearborne family for as long as Kate can remember, but a war is brewing in their small village, one that has the power to rip families asunder — including her own. As misguided actions are brought to light, she learns how deep her father’s pride and bitterness run, and she begins to wonder if her loyalty is well-placed.Henry Stockton, heir to the Stockton fortune, returns home from three years at war hoping to find a refuge from his haunting memories. Determined to bury the past, he embraces his grandfather’s goals to modernize his family’s wool mill, regardless of the grumblings from the local weavers. When tragedy strikes shortly after his arrival, Henry must sort out the truth from suspicion if he is to protect his family’s livelihood and legacy.Henry has been warned about the Dearborne family. Kate, too, has been advised to stay far away from the Stocktons, but chance meetings continue to bring her to Henry’s side, blurring the jagged lines between loyalty, justice, and truth. Kate ultimately finds herself with the powerful decision that will forever affect her village’s future. As unlikely adversaries, Henry and Kate must come together to find a way to create peace for their families, and their village, and their souls — even if it means risking their hearts in the process.

Sarah E. Ladd has always loved the Regency period — the clothes, the music, the literature, and the art. A college trip to England and Scotland confirmed her interest in the time period and gave her the idea of what life would’ve looked like in that era. It wasn’t until 2010 that Ladd began writing seriously. Shortly after, Ladd released the first book in the Whispers on the Moors series. Book one of the series, The Heiress of Winterwood, was the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Genesis Award for historical romance.

My Impressions:

For Regency novels, my go-to author is Sarah E. Ladd. Her latest book, The Weaver’s Daughter exceeded my expectations due primarily to the unusual subject matter. While most Regency novels are set in the drawing rooms and assemblies of the gentry, Ladd explores the merchant, working, and craftsmen classes of Northern England. I found this to be fascinating. Definitely another recommended read from Ladd.

The tension and violence that occurred between the weavers and mill owners in Yorkshire in the early 1800s is the backdrop to The Weaver’s Daughter. The early days of the Industrial Revolution in England produced great strides in commerce, but also displaced those who practiced the age-old trade of weaving. Well-researched, the novel presents the clash of new ideas and processes with old ways and traditions. There are characters, both good and bad, on both sides. In the middle of the war is the heir to the Stockton Mill and the daughter of the most influential weaver in the area. There’s a bit of a Romeo and Juliet vibe to Kate and Henry’s relationship. Both characters are complex and well-drawn — there’s much to like about this star-crossed pair. I loved how they both sought to honor their families, yet stay true to their own hearts. Loyalty and prejudice play large roles in the shaping of the characters, and I loved how Ladd grew them past pre-conceived notions and misplaced duty.  A bit of mystery and intrigue are intertwined within this historical romance, making it a suspenseful read as well. Kate and Henry’s story is brought to a close, but Ladd leaves a bit of a teaser for a supporting character that I hope she follows-up with in another book.

So if you want a unique twist on a Regency romance you definitely need to check out The Weaver’s Daughter. A well-written and complex book, this one is definitely recommended!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE

(Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

First Line Friday — The Weaver’s Daughter

13 Apr

Happy Friday everyone! In honor of Sarah E. Ladd‘s newest novel, The Weaver’s Daughter, releasing this week, I am featuring its first line. From the first book I read by Ladd, she became a go-to author of Regency romance. I can’t wait to dig into this book next month.

Please leave a comment with the first line of the book closest to you, then head over to Hoarding Books for more fun!

Kate’s loyalties bind her to the past. Henry’s loyalties compel him to strive for a better future. In a landscape torn between tradition and vision, can two souls find the strength to overcome their preconceptions? Loyalty has been at the heart of the Dearborne family for as long as Kate can remember, but a war is brewing in their small village, one that has the power to rip families asunder — including her own. As misguided actions are brought to light, she learns how deep her father’s pride and bitterness run, and she begins to wonder if her loyalty is well-placed.Henry Stockton, heir to the Stockton fortune, returns home from three years at war hoping to find a refuge from his haunting memories. Determined to bury the past, he embraces his grandfather’s goals to modernize his family’s wool mill, regardless of the grumblings from the local weavers. When tragedy strikes shortly after his arrival, Henry must sort out the truth from suspicion if he is to protect his family’s livelihood and legacy.Henry has been warned about the Dearborne family. Kate, too, has been advised to stay far away from the Stocktons, but chance meetings continue to bring her to Henry’s side, blurring the jagged lines between loyalty, justice, and truth. Kate ultimately finds herself with the powerful decision that will forever affect her village’s future. As unlikely adversaries, Henry and Kate must come together to find a way to create peace for their families, and their village, and their souls – even if it means risking their hearts in the process.

Sarah E. Ladd has always loved the Regency period — the clothes, the music, the literature and the art. A college trip to England and Scotland confirmed her interest in the time period and gave her idea of what life would’ve looked like in era. It wasn’t until 2010 that Ladd began writing seriously. Shortly after, Ladd released the first book in the Whispers on the Moors series. Book one of the series, The Heiress of Winterwood, was the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Genesis Award for historical romance.

 

 

Audiobook Mini-Review: A Spy’s Devotion

27 Dec

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life — but behind closed doors treason and deception thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance — until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England — and the man she is falling in love with — need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

 

Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author whose two favorite time periods are Medieval, which she has combined with her love of fairy tales, and Regency England, which stems from her love of Jane Austen. She is a 2-time Christy Award finalist, a 2-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader’s Choice Award for 2010’s Best First Book, and winner of the 2012 Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing, hanging out on facebook, and being with her husband, two daughters, and two guinea pigs near Huntsville, Alabama. Visit her on the web at http://www.MelanieDickerson.com.

 

My Impressions:

As I have shared on numerous occasions, I listen to audiobooks during my morning walks and am always on the look out for a book that is easy to pick up day after day for an hour at a time. I have read several of Melanie Dickerson’s fairy tale retellings and knew that her writing style is a perfect match for my reading preferences. So when I saw that she had written a Regency-inspired novel with spies, I couldn’t resist. I am so glad that I picked up A Spy’s Devotion, book 1 in Dickerson’s Regency Spies of London series. It definitely checked all the boxes — Regency romance, mysterious goings-on, and a clean and inspiring reading experience. Dickerson captures the manners and customs of the Regency period and combines them with the intrigue of the Napoleonic Wars. The characters are endearing and complex, and the romance, which is not without obstacles, still ends in a happily-ever-after. The narrator of the audiobook does a good job of capturing the time and place.

A Spy’s Devotion was a great listening experience, and I look forward to reading more in the series.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)