Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dawn at Emberwilde {Review}

Dawn at Emberwilde (Treasures of Surrey, #2)
Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E. Ladd
Treasures of Surrey #2
Visit the Author's website HERE 
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publishing Date: May 10, 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 yet unexciting role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would provide her a steady environment to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father’s death.

The unexpected arrival of a striking 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 mysterious rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. And 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.
I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy today

My Thoughts:
Another delicious historical read from Sarah E. Ladd. Her 'Whispers on the Moors' was probably my favorite Regency series. With 'Emberwilde...', Ladd is exploring a Gothic side of Regency storytelling. The old forest was rumored to be home to gypsies, ghosts, and secret tunnels. If you enjoy Gothic-Lite, this is your next choice. 

I  enjoyed Isabel's character. Although I won't claim her as my favorite of the year, I could see myself in a lot of her actions and choices. Living in a world of strong willed A-types, sometimes the quieter types have to learn to make a stand for themselves.

Colin was a fabulous man. He was respectful, honest, brave, kind, and smart. Typically I don't pick 'book boyfriends', but if I lived in the early 1800s, I hope I could find a husband just like Colin. I also really felt for Isabel's cousin Constance. I know it was incredibly common to have your husband chosen for you in the 1800's, but it was heartbreaking to see it played out in kind hearted Constance's life. 

This is one of those books where I crave a follow up book depicting Isabel and Colin's life together. With the way things worked out, I am sure there is potential for more intrigue and mystery. Much like the first book, the action doesn't occur the until the very end. But don't think it is all romance either. This one is an incredibly slow burn, with the characters not realizing their attraction until about 80% into the story. Then if I had been in Isabel's position with everything that had just occurred, I would have been more suspicious of Colin's attraction. But I am glad it didn't play out that way in the story I suppose.

The cover? Fantastic. Cozy, beautiful, I can just envision Isabel so well. I wish we could see Emberwilde! I envisioned it looked a lot like Pemberley. I think the BBC would do a fantastic job making these into a fun little mini series. 

Did I find an error? Anyone else who has read the book: Page 218 Colin is asking Ellison about the watch he discovered in the tunnels. I found it odd that Ellison seemingly ignores the question. Later, page 252 has Colin showing Ellison the watch and saying "I have not had the opportunity to share it with you until now." ......Did I just happen to misread something?? Let me know readers!!

The third book in the series, A Stranger at Fellsworth, now has a cover but no description. I am hoping it will be about Isabel's friend Mary and thus we may get to see Isabel and Colin again. Because this wasn't my favorite Ladd story overall, I am only rating this one with 4 stars. But fans of the genre are bound to enjoy the characters and intrigue. 

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