Tag Archives: Sarah E. Ladd

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.)

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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.

 

 

Book Review: Dawn at Emberwilde

14 Jun

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7

Dawn-at-EmberwildeIsabel 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.

SLadd-318Sarah 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.

Find out more about Sarah at http://www.sarahladd.com.

 

My Impressions:

Sarah Ladd returns to Surrey, England with her Regency-inspired novel, Dawn at Emberwilde. Book 2 in her Treasures of Surrey series, this novel is perfect for fans of Jane Eyre. An independent and determined heroine and a house filled with secrets combine with sweet romance for a recommended read. Definitely put this book on your Summer TBR list!

Isabel Creston has trained as a teacher following years at Fellsworth School and the death of both her parents. Charged with the guardianship of her young sister, Lizzie, Isabel is expecting a a message on her future life. But nothing prepares her for the astonishing news that family awaits her at the manor house of Emberwilde. A new life brings ease and opulence, but also danger, betrayal and a hope for love.

The setting of Dawn at Emberwilde sets the stage for mystery and intrigue. The large home harbors family secrets while the adjoining forest is feared for its storied curses. There is a definite gothic vibe going on in this novel. Main character Isabel is a quiet and seemingly compliant character, yet has an innate curiosity and a backbone developed through years of living with little money and low expectations for the future. Other characters are often not what they seem, and both Isabel and the reader must figure out just whom to trust. Fans of romance will be pleased with the love triangle that Isabel faces. A subtle faith message is woven throughout Dawn at Emberwilde — Isabel must learn to judge whom to trust based on their hearts, not on their outward appearances. I especially liked the wisdom imparted by Isabel’s friend, Mary, and hope that we will see more of her in an upcoming novel.

If you are looking for a page-turner featuring history, mystery and romance, look no further than Dawn at Emberwilde. I really liked this standalone novel, and I’m betting your will too!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

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

Book Review: The Curiosity Keeper

31 Jul

51cs6r4WiYL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_“It is not just a ruby, as you say. It is large as a quail’s egg, still untouched and unpolished. And it is rumored to either bless or curse whoever possesses it.”

Camille Iverness can take care of herself. She’s done so since the day her mother abandoned the family and left Camille to run their shabby curiosity shop. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille must allow a mysterious stranger to come to her aid.

Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content to work as the village apothecary. But when his brother’s death made him heir just as his father’s foolish decisions put the estate at risk, only the sale of a priceless possession—a ruby called the Bevoy—can save the family from ruin. But the gem has disappeared. And all trails lead to Iverness Curiosity Shop—and the beautiful shop girl who may be the answer to his many questions.

Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, these two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, they will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.

Chapter 1

SLadd-318Sarah 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.

 

My Impressions:

For fans of well-written Regency novels, you cannot go wrong with a book written by Sarah Ladd. The Curiosity Keeper is her 4th novel and the first in her new Treasures of Surrey series. Combining rich historical detail, a mysterious stolen gem and characters to cheer for, this romance is one that I can recommend.

Camille Iverness is confined to the curiosity shop her father keeps. Surrounded by strange, yet valuable wares and hemmed in by the dirty streets of London, Camille yearns for the open countryside of her youth. After being attacked in the shop, she finds herself in the company of a young gentleman nothing like the men she is accustomed to. But his search for a stolen ruby and her father’s shady business dealings may keep her from the fulfillment of long held dreams.

While Ladd does a good job of creating a decidedly seedy London and a bucolic Surrey village in The Curiosity Keeper, the characters are what really make this novel. Both Camille and Jonathan Gilchrist are children at odds with their families. Both desire independence and cultivate an aura of confidence and calm, but they really long for the intimacy denied them. Both are unconventional for their time, yet both seem very natural in their reactions and feelings. Without divulging too much, I also found the ending is a bit unconventional, and definitely refreshing  — extremely fitting for Camille and Jonathan’s story. The mystery of the stolen ruby provides a great framework to explore the characters’ true values and is perfect for the developing romance. The faith message is natural, without being preachy, and I loved how Ladd ties in the legend of curses and blessing surrounding the ruby with God’s word.

The Curiosity Keeper may be a Regency romance, but it owes a lot to the gothic elements found in the novels of the Brontes and Wilkie Collins. So if you are a fan of those classics, you will probably love this one as well. The best part is that this is book 1 in a series — more stories to come. Yay!

Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

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

Book Review: A Lady of Willowgrove Hall

2 Nov

688370Her secret cloaks her in isolation and loneliness.

His secret traps him in a life that is not his own.

Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could strip away everything she holds dear. But soon after accepting the position of lady’s companion at Willowgrove Hall, Cecily finds herself face-to-face with a man well-acquainted with the past she’s desperately hidden for years. Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own – one that has haunted him from birth and tied him to his father’s position as steward of Willowgrove. To protect his family, Nathaniel dares not breath a word of the truth. But as long as the shadow looms over him, he’ll never be free to find his own way in the world. He’ll never be free to fall in love. When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice: Will they continue running from the past . . . or will they stand together and build a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long suffered?

 

SLadd-118Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing. The Heiress of Winterwood was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance and a finalist in the Debut Author category of the 2014 Carol Awards. The second book in the series, The Headmistress of Rosemere (2013), was on the ECPA best-seller list for several months. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.

 

My Impressions:

Sarah Ladd has done it again with A Lady of Willowgrove Hall. She has written an historical romance that brings to mind the classic stories of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. This well-written Regency novel is a recommended read for fans of the genre.

Cecily Faire and Nathaniel Stanton are people with shameful pasts. Mistakes and indiscretions keep them from living the lives they want. Too many people are determined to chart their courses and leave them yearning for true love. Forgiveness is hard to come by and even harder to bestow, but it is the one thing that will set them free.

A well-researched setting and time period combine with strong characterization to produce a thoroughly enjoyable read. Ladd brings to life the manners and customs of the Regency period and includes details that bring about a wonderful sense of authenticity. Her characters are believable in their motivations and actions. Both major and minor characters are well-developed, not something you always find in a romance novel. The theme of forgiveness, both the need to give and receive it, is naturally woven through the story. And while modern readers may be surprised at the shame that followed Cecily and Nathaniel, I found it extremely relevant even today.

So if you are looking for an historical romance that is more than fluff — a book with both heart and soul — then check out A Lady of Willowgrove Hall.

 Recommended.

Audience: Adults.

(Thanks to Thomas Nelson and LitFuse for a review copy of the book. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.