By K. L. Bridgewater
Fellow Hoosier writer, Sarah Ladd, recently finished her third book in her Whispers on the Moor series. The first two books are titled The Heiress of Winterwood and The Headmistress of Rosemere. If you are not familiar with Sarah Ladd’s writing, she writes Historical fiction set in the year 1814 – 1816. Ladd enjoys the regency period and lavishes her attention on the clothes worn by the women of the period. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood.
A Lady at Willowgrove Hall completes the series. This story features Cecily Faire, a young woman shamed by her past and sent to school at Rosemere School for girls. While there, Cecily teaches the younger girls how to embroider and developed relationships with the headmistress, Mrs. Sterling, who was the main character in The Headmistress of Rosemere. A rare opportunity shows itself in allowing Cecily to become a ladies companion at Willowgrove Hall to Mrs. Tryst. Upon coming to the great estate, Cecily comes face-to-face with the man who knew her past secrets, which she does not want revealed.
Enter Nathan Stanton who has a secret of his own. Working as a steward of Willowgrove Hall like his father before him, Nathan knows the ins and outs of the massive grounds and home. Nathan adores his mother and his three sisters who he spoils with little gifts and attention.
As Cecily arrives one dark and stormy night, she does not know that the bridge is floated, and she can not arrive at the home in her state. Nathan Stanton rescues her and takes her home to his humble home on the estate. His mother and sister fall in love with Cecily immediately and allow her to wear warm and clean clothes and stay in the safety of their shelter for the evening.
After working for a while for Mrs. Tryst, Cecily learns that everyone has a secret of some sort. Even Mrs. Tryst. Her health. Her husband’s son. Learning to trust Nathan more every day, Cecily begins to have feelings for him and can’t wait to spend time with him, which is frowned upon.
Sarah E. Ladd’s characters are relatable and enjoyable. Cecily felt ashamed of her past and tried to hide it, but eventually, as we all know, the past will come to light, and everyone will find out the truth. Nathan always appears to be in the right place at the right time to rescue Cecily. Either from the storm. Her necklace. Or finding her sister. He was the type of male hero every girl would want to encounter in real life. Ladd showed the flaws and doubt running through her characters. She didn't try to sugar coat them and make her characters too perfect. They were totally realistic for the readers.
The plot could have been labeled as a contemporary romance. Yes, it had all the elements to show the time period, but the writing was fluid and fresh. The story grabbed my attention within a couple of paragraphs and did not let go until the end of the story.
I truly enjoyed the story, and Sarah Ladd’s writing style. It is well-written and interesting. I’m glad to have been introduced to her writing and her Whispers on the Moor series.
You can find her books at Amazon, Christianbook.com, and other major book sellers. I suggest buying and reading all three books in the series. They are good.
You can connect with Sarah Ladd at:
I received a complimentary copy of A Lady at Willowgrove Hall from Thomas Nelson through Net Galley and the opinions are all mine.