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.
As part of the Fiction Guild Elite Reader I love being a part of the Fiction Guild, because I’m able to learn about authors that are new to me (but not new authors), and books that I otherwise might have missed out on. I also know that I don’t have to worry about the content being inappropriate either – Fiction Guild takes care of that! Here’s my mom’s review of today’s book!
“This book is the second book of the Treasurers of Surrey series written by Sarah E. Ladd. I did not read the first book in the series, The Curiosity Keeper, but don’t worry, Dawn at Emberwilde can certainly be read as a stand-alone. The setting for this story is Surrey, England near a mysterious forest alongside of grand estates in the year of 1817 which provides the perfect background for romance, mystery, and suspense the folk tales surrounding this “Black Forest” added to the suspense.
The main characters are Isabel Creston, Collin Galloway, and Edmund Bradford with the secondary characters playing strong roles. Twenty year old orphaned Isabel has lived at Fellsworth School which is a school for children from homes of the poor and orphans is now training to become a teacher or a governess. After her father died she was put in charge of her younger sister Lizzie. An unexpected arrival brings news of unknown relatives which turns her safe, small, humble world upside down. She is invited to relocate to Emberwilde estate to live with her wealthy Aunt Margaret and Uncle Charles.
Once Isabel and Lizzie arrive at Emberwilde they are faced with secrets, hidden motives and mystery all which makes this new life difficult to adjust to. Soon two gentlemen are wanting to date Isabel. Collin Galloway who is the local magistrate and Edmund Bradford who is the director of the founding house. The efforts of Isabel’s interfering aunt to match her with one brought me frustrations. While I was trying to figure out which the bad guy was there were surprises, twist and turns thrown in. Isabel must decide what will be the best life for her and her sister.
This book has many elements; broken hearts, greed, love, lessons, manipulations, hope, doubts, and faith. It has a terrific plot that will keep you happily turning the pages as you hope to solve the mystery. I loved how Sarah wrapped up all the loose ends at the end, but wishing the story could go on maybe to tell Constance’s story. This book was easy to read and I never once laid it down until I had finished, staying up late into the night. I loved the advice Isabel’s friend, Mary, from Fellsworth School gave to her as she started her new journey ‘Remember with each dawn seek guidance, and with each night give gratitude. For there is a divine plan for each of our lives, and a journey, and you have started yours’. I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to more by Sarah E. Ladd.”
Sarah E. Ladd, in her own words: “Every word has a melody. Every sentence has a rhythm. This truth has intrigued me since my early years. Even before I fully understood the meaning behind many of the words, I devoured literature and consumed poetry. Austen, Alcott, Wordsworth: I left no piece of literature untouched, left no author unexamined. I continue to see magic in how a word is transformed by the word next to it and how written thoughts can incite emotion and evoke change.
In addition to a lifetime of writing and exploring fiction, I have more than ten years of strategic marketing and brand management experience, including five years of marketing non-fiction books and three years of marketing the musical arts. I live in Indiana and am blessed to share my life with my amazing husband, sweet daughter, and very lovable Golden Retriever.”
I received a paperback copy of this book without cost from the publisher through The Fiction Guild, a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.