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.
**I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.**
Dawn at Emberwilde was one of those books that was so easy to pick back up. Like getting back together with an old friend. There was just something about it that made it so easy to get wrapped back up in the story.
I loved the idea of the story… it was a bit Cinderella-esque in a unique way. Girl taken out of the working class and put into more of an upper class setting. Although, this version has a bit of a love triangle involved rather than just one Prince Charming. Add to all that, just a touch of mystery surrounding an old forest, and well, it’s definitely a worthwhile story.
So why only four stars? There were a couple of areas of the story that fell a bit flat for me personally. There is some smuggling going on in the mysterious forest, and all through the book I felt like the situation was pretty clear what was going on. The mystery just never seemed to move forward until the end. It also feels like there is some falsehoods that Isabel has been told about her mother that never really feel cleared up. At the end, I just didn’t think the story had tied up every loose end and a few things felt too predictable.
But at the end of the book, I can’t deny that I enjoyed it. Ladd effortlessly transports the readers back in time, and in truth, I just loved the idea behind the story of this novel. It’s still a book I would reccommend for anyone looking for a good regency era novel.
About the Author:
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 husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.
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