Sarah E. Ladd. Dawn at Emberwilde. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016.
If you regularly read the Books and Biscuits Blog’s Facebook posts, you may have noticed an interesting and oddly hilarious conversation with acclaimed author Kristy Cambron. Several weeks ago, we both ended up reading Sarah Ladd’s newest release, Dawn at Emberwilde, at 3am. While I’m not typically the person to stay up late reading, I find that great Christian fiction is incredibly relaxing and the perfect solution to a poor night’s rest.
Sarah Ladd builds on her previous Regency-era novels to bring her readers Dawn at Emberwilde. Isabel has lost all of her family, with the exception of her much-younger half-sister, Lizzie. Together, they have made a place for themselves at the Fellsworth School, where they both are in training to become teachers and governesses. An unexpected visitor brings news of relatives who have been looking for Isabel for years. With that announcement, Isabel and Lizzie quickly start their journey to Emberwilde, where Isabel’s aunt, uncle, and cousin await their arrival. Isabel finds herself in an entirely different world. Although her mother once lived in such privileged circumstances, Isabel discovers the transition from the schedule and hard work of Fellsworth School to have ill-prepared her for life as a lady of society. Fortunately, she soon makes several friends who help her to navigate her circumstances, even as mysterious events in the Emberwilde forests threaten the family’s safety and future.
Ms. Ladd continues the Treasures of Surrey series in Dawn at Emberwilde, first started in her earlier novel, The Curiosity Keeper. The beautiful cover of this book will cause almost anyone to take an initial look at this exciting example of Regency-era Christian fiction.
Overall, I quite enjoyed reading Dawn at Emberwilde. Initially, I was hesitant to pick up the book, as I did not have any luck getting started with one or two of Ms. Ladd’s earliest books in the Regency genre. However, I found this novel to be a quite pleasant read, as has been the case with several other Christian fiction books lately. The overall storyline of the novel is not incredibly complicated or unique, but it will appeal to readers as another example of ever-enjoyable, entertaining, and clean fiction from the HarperCollins publishing group. If anything, I would have liked to see further development of the Christian aspects of the storyline, even as Dawn at Emberwilde had at least some Christian elements, which is more than can be found in quite a few other novels released by HarperCollins in the last several years. After reading this book, I will very likely go searching for The Curiosity Keeper to see how Ms. Ladd develops a series and to prepare for next year’s release, A Stranger at Fellsworth.
Fans of Ms. Ladd’s previous works, including The Curiosity Keeper, will definitely want to read Dawn at Emberwilde. Readers of the Regency era and British settings in Christian fiction will also find the novel to be a worthwhile read. Some readers may find the book to be rather similar to other storylines from and inspired by the period. However, Ms. Ladd’s approachable writing style make the novel a pleasant and worthwhile read.
Ms. Ladd’s next novel, A Stranger at Fellsworth, will be released in Spring 2017!
Special thanks to Thomas Nelson and the Fiction Guild for a promotional copy of Dawn at Emberwilde!
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