Dawn at Emberwilde / by Sarah Ladd. (A Treasures of Surrey Novel, 2) 11.21.2016

Thomas Nelson ISBN 9780718011819

Adult Rating: 4

Sarah Ladd pens the second novel in her 19th century historical series set in the English countryside.

In Dawn at Emberwilde, orphaned Isabel Creston plans to be a teacher at an English school when news of previously unknown relatives upsets her plans. Isabel and her younger sister Lizzie move to Emberwilde, a family estate on the edge of a large forest. Whispers of mysterious happenings and rumors surround the Emberwilde Forest.

When two gentlemen vie for her attention, Isabel must learn the truth of her past to determine her future. How do the activities of those around her affect her present and her future? Are the handsome suitors worthy of her consideration? What about the circumstances surrounding her parents’ deaths?

Ladd writes descriptive narrative with hints of mystery and suspense woven into the plot. The faith element has a light touch; the relationship between Isabel and her suitors develops appropriately to the storyline. Like her earlier novel in this series, the historical details enrich the plot, and Dawn at Emberwilde has a gothic feel to it–smugglers, missing heiress, etc. Her book is plot-driven with plenty of twists. Why is her aunt pushing her towards a marriage with Mr. Bradford? What about Mr. Galloway, her other suitor, who wants to help her discover the truth behind her relatives’ motives for inviting her to Emberwilde?

Recommended for adult collections in public libraries. Older teen readers will find it a clean read. This new series will appeal to fans of Regency fiction, Julie Klassen, and Jane Austen. Each book includes discussion questions for reading groups. Her next book in this series, A Stranger at Fellsworth, is due in Spring 2017.

Carol R. Gehringer, CLJ