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.
Sarah E. Ladd continues her Treasures of Surrey series with a tale of rags to riches. Isabel has no plans for her life other than becoming a governess until her mother’s family invited her into their home. Her aunt is determined that Isabel marry well and that her younger sister be raised as a lady, but does she have an ulterior motive? And why is she so determined that Isabel spend time with the superintendent of the nearby orphanage? Meanwhile, her uncle’s protégé, the local magistrate, is investigating a possible smuggling ring operating on the Emberwilde property.
I have recommended books by Sarah Ladd before, and Dawn at Emberwilde is no exception. It is perhaps slightly weaker than previous novels; I found the presumed plot twists to be somewhat predictable. Still, there’s a nice range of characters from the manipulative aunt to the blunt yet innocent younger sister. I also felt sympathy for Isabel’s cousin whose life was firmly in the control of others. While it is the middle book of a series, there’s no requirement to have previously read the first title. They have nothing in common apart from the Fellsworth School, which was used as a location during The Curiosity Keeper and looks to be the main setting for the next book as well.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson and the Fiction Guild for my complimentary copy of Dawn at Emberwilde, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read Dawn at Emberwilde? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (a division of HarperCollins Christian)
Publication Date: 10 May 2016
Page Count: 352