Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Review: Dawn at Emberwilde


I apologize, for apparently this post went out today, 8/11, but I didn’t send it. All I can figure is that the Blogger program is acting up. This giveaway ended on June 19 and I have removed it. But there will be more, so do come back!

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Dawn at Emberwilde
By Sarah E. Ladd
Treasures of Surrey, #2
Thomas Nelson, 2016


Summary

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.


My thoughts

Dawn at Emberwilde is a beautiful story in every way, the kind of book I like to take my time with, savoring every nuance of atmospheric setting, rich characterization, and plot twists. The English countryside, a mysterious forest, and grand estates provide the backdrop for romance and suspense that is gently paced, yet held my attention throughout. With its 1817 setting in Surrey, England, this narrative reflects the Jane Austen style, with a little bit of Cinderella mixed in, and even has elements of the gothic style that I’ve always loved. Sarah E. Ladd is in her element when it comes to the Regency novel, and while I’ve enjoyed all of her stories, Dawn at Emberwilde is without a doubt my favorite.


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“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.”
- Mary
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Isabel and Colin are great characters, as are secondary characters Henry, Colin’s brother, and Mary, Isabel’s friend from Fellsworth School. Forced to leave the comfortable environment of the school, Isabel is faced with strict rules imposed by her aunt and the unwelcome thought of marrying to secure her future. Even Isabel’s cousin, Constance, had been raised with this life goal firmly in place … “To make a match. To marry. To grasp security.” Independent and confident one moment, while insecure and doubtful the next, Isabel is easy to relate to in her humanness. Colin, local magistrate and landowner, is a very appealing leading man. To Isabel, his “kindness and gentleness were more attractive than money or prestige.”

Spiritual themes are very subtle in this story, reflected more in character behavior than actual words. We’re reminded to look beyond the surface, that people and circumstances aren’t always what they seem – and also to seek God’s will for life’s needs. I especially loved these words of Isabel’s friend, Mary . . .


“No experience is ever wasted. It is being used to fashion you
into the person you are meant to be, and to move you
to the place where you are supposed to go.”

Although Dawn at Emberwilde is #2 in the series, it stands alone. I do hope we see Mary’s story next! Recommended.


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Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for “The Heiress of Winterwood.” She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky Golden Retriever.



Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Litfuse landing page:

39 comments:

  1. this one is my favorite of hers so far too - and I've loved them all! Beautiful review, Carole!

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    1. Thank you, Miss Carrie. Coming from a master reviewer, that's much appreciated. I don't like a lot of scary stuff and the element here was just right. Everything about this book resonated with me, making it my favorite of Sarah's so far. Looking forward to much more from her!

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  2. Shared on Facebook. You are a new author to me and I would enjoy reading your book.

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    1. Dianne, I hope you enjoy discovering new authors as much as I do. If you enjoy historical romance, especially Regencies, I think you would like any of Sarah's. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  3. Forgot to leave my email:
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  4. I really enjoyed The Heiress of Winterwood! I can't wait to read Dawn at Emberwilde!

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    1. Karen, I liked that one also. Please don't forget to leave your e-mail address for the drawing!

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    2. Sorry! I always forget that! mylittlebirdie (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    3. No problem, Karen. I probably already had it on file, but with more than one "Karen" in my records, I couldn't tell which one you were. Thanks!

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  5. I love Sarah Ladd! I've been waiting for this book ever since finishing he Curiosity Keeper.

    Shared!
    kathrynlvoss@gmail.com

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    1. You won't be disappointed, Kate! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Thanks, Carole, for the review and giveaway. I like the quote you shared. I shared on Facebook and Pinterest.
    may_dayzee(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Miss Kay. I hope you get to enjoy Sarah's book soon.

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  7. So far my favorite book of Sarah's is Headmistress of Rosemere. Another favorite regency author for me is Laurie Alice Eakes. Thanks for the review and giveaway Carole! momrain(AT)aol(DOT)com

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    1. Thanks for mentioning Laurie Alice Eakes, Loraine. I've read a collection that had one of her novellas in it, but not a full novel. Would definitely like to read more by her.

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  8. I don't have a favorite. I just have loved them all.
    Thereadmaster@me.com

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    1. I'm almost the same, Virginia. All of Sarah's have been excellent, but this one was especially beautiful to me.

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  9. I have not had the pleasure of reading any Sarah E Ladd's. She is a new author to me and would love to read and review it. This book sounds beautiful and amazing. Thank you for the chance. Pennymarks(at)frontier(dot)com

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  10. I love all of them! It is too hard to pick a favorite. Sarah's books sound like they are great ones to read too!! d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  11. Sounds intriguing and the cover is stunning.

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  12. Have not read any Sarah E. Ladd stories, but am putting them on my to be read list. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  13. Carole, I've not yet read Sarah's books. I've heard great things about them. Thank you for the lovely review and giveaway. I shared your FB post and tagged you.
    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com I also follow your blog.

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  14. This books looks so intriguing to me! I'm definitely adding it to my TBR list. :)

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  15. Hi I came over from an alert from Good Reads about the giveaway. I'm entering and following you! I'd love for you to come by and visit me and follow me too! I love your header photo. The piano is beautiful!

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  16. Sharing for those that are in my friends. I haven't read her work yet but have been very curious to read it. Thank you for such a chance. breannaherron(at)icloud(dot)com

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  17. Heiress of Winterwood was amazing and I just finished The Curiosity Keeper!

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  18. Liked and shared. Not sure I can pick a favorite... I've liked them all! I'm really looking forward to this one... particularly after your wonderful review! 😄 My "go to" Regency authors are Sarah and Julie Klassen but I've also enjoyed Regency books by Catherine Palmer and Ruth Axtell. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  19. Oops! Forgot email!
    cyndilou83(at)gmail(dot)com

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  20. No, I haven't read any of Sarah's books but your review hae certainly made me anxious! Thank you for sharing.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. I shaed on FB

    I don't know many authors or read too many books. My daughters are the readers (17yr & 21yr old)
    Thank you!

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  22. Have heard so many great things about this book! Thanks for the chance to win it.

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  23. No favorite just enjoy all her books. Shared on FB.

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  24. I love Sarah Ladd's books but haven't yet read Dawn at Emberwilde. Other Regency authors whose books I enjoy are Julie Klassen and Kristi Ann Hunter.
    I shared your FB post on my book club page.
    Thanks for the giveaway.

    pmkellogg56[at]gmail[dot]com

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  25. I have read & reviewed this book so this is not an entry, I just wanted you to know I am sharing on my Facebook page :-)

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  26. I'm glad this book is receiving attention because it is excellent, but please notice that the giveaway ended on June 19.

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    1. Hmmmm, I just recieved this notice in my email today. I didn't pay attention to the end date, sorry Carole! I will delete my post on FB, thanks for pointing this out to me :-)

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    2. Trixi, what in the world?! I wonder if the Blogger program is acting up. So sorry this happened - and thanks for your patience.

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  27. I just got it today too and was trying to enter!

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    1. So sorry for the inconvenience, Joan. This post is from June 19 and I have no idea why it went out today. One of those cyber things, I guess. Do come back, though!

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