Review: A Stranger at Fellsworth – Sarah Ladd

Sarah E. Ladd. A Stranger at Fellsworth. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2017.

I’m rather amazed at the sheer number of authors and series that focus exclusively on England’s Regency era.  However, readers are generally excited about new novels of this kind being released on a regular basis.  As a reviewer, I find that I rather enjoy them myself. :)

In mid-May, Sarah Ladd releases A Stranger at Fellsworth, the third novel in her Treasures of Surrey series.  Having grown up in London, Annabelle Thorley has only ever known life under her father’s tyrannical rule.  After her parents’ deaths, Annabelle is left under the care of her brother, who proves to be just as cruel to her as her father.  When Annabelle realizes that she will be forced into an equally harsh marriage to satisfy her brother’s debts, she decides to escape the only home she has ever known for her uncle’s school in Fellsworth.  Fortunately, she turns to a kind and helpful stranger, Owen Locke, who serves as gameskeeper for one of Fellsworth’s local landowners.  As Annabelle settles into her new position as a teacher, Owen finds himself distracted from his usual duties.  Poachers threaten the local estates, as well as Owen’s dream of owning his family’s ancestral land. Together, Annabelle and Owen must discover the connection between the poachers and the Fellsworth school in order to finally pursue the peaceful future they both seek.

Ms. Ladd offers a romantic and suspenseful novel set in England’s Regency Era.  Annabelle and Owen’s story will delight readers who enjoy tales of second chances.

Overall, I quite enjoyed reading A Stranger at Fellsworth.  While I appreciate a variety of historical fiction stories, Ms. Ladd develops novels that masterfully combine elements of historical, romance, and suspense storytelling.  A Stranger at Fellsworth juxtaposes the significant differences between life in London and the English countryside during the Regency period.  Owen’s role as an estate gamekeeper and Annabelle’s position at her uncle’s school offer fascinating insight into some of the historical roles of men and women during the period, which are oftentimes missed in other novels.  In the midst of these historical details, Ms. Ladd also includes strong faith-based themes that will resonate well with fans of Christian fiction.  In general, the novel provides a satisfying conclusion to the Treasures of Surrey series, even as it may serve equally as well as a stand-alone book.

Fans of Ms. Ladd’s work, especially the other novels in the Treasures of Surrey series, should definitely read A Stranger at Fellsworth.  Likewise, readers who enjoy Christian fiction set during the Regency era will also find this book to be well worth exploring.

Special thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for the advanced copy of A Stranger at Fellsworth!

Looking for this book? Support the Books and Biscuits blog, while shopping at:
Amazon – A Stranger at Fellsworth

Review: Dawn at Emberwilde – Sarah Ladd

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!

Looking for this book? Support the Books and Biscuits blog, while shopping at:
Amazon – Dawn at Emberwilde