Monday, June 6, 2016

Sarah E. Ladd's "Dawn at Emberwilde" - a warm and gentle Regency shadowed with mystery

#2: Dawn at Emberwilde  -     By: Sarah E. Ladd
A junior teacher in a school, Isabel Creston discovers she has family she never knew existed, and they're willing to take her under their wing. With few options, she and her little sister join them at Emberwilde, but rumors of a haunted wood and the sense of intrigue dampen their enthusiasm. With her family set on finding a match for her, will she ever learn the comforts of a home and security?

I've been enjoying the darker, more Gothic tone to the series. There's a sense of foreboding right from the start that not all is as it should be, with a suitably haunted wood to suppress curiosity (or heighten it . . . )  I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery aspects--both about Isabel's family and the smuggling operation--though I did wish more had been included about her father's motives in leaving Isabel in deliberate ignorance.

I liked the cast of supporting characters; they're pretty well developed, with differing personalities and motives. I would like to know what happens to Isabel's cousin, if she finds a measure of joy in her upcoming marriage, or if something better awaits her. Miranda, too, for that matter--if she can find love again. It's not often that I care so much about the futures of the supporting cast.

There isn't a very strong faith element--mostly just through Isabel's friend Sarah--but the story is warm and gentle, and the romance sweet and clean.

Thank you Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing an e-copy for review; I was not required to make the review positive, and all opinions are my own.

Treasures of Surrey
1. The Curiosity Keeper
2. Dawn at Emberwilde 
3. A Stranger at Fellsworth 

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