A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. All opinions are my own.
Published by Thomas Nelson on May 10th 2016
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical, Love & Romance, Regency
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 yet unexciting role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would provide her a steady environment to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father’s death.
The unexpected arrival of a striking 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 mysterious rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. And 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.
Dawn at Emberwilde is book two in the Treasures of Surrey series by Sarah Ladd. However, each of these novels can be read as a standalone. It is not necessary to read them in order as they are not connected.
The covers of every book in this series is absolutely stunning but I think Dawn at Emberwilde is my absolute favorite.
Having said that, I enjoyed this book but I really wanted to love it. Don’t get me wrong, I did like this book but there were a few things that just really bothered me.
- The dreaded love triangle. I don’t hate all love triangles but some just feel forced. This one felt rushed and forced to me.
- The conclusion was too tidy. Everything was wrapped up in a neat little bow. Isabel went from confusion over which guy she wanted to completely and hopelessly in love with her chosen mate. It felt—forced. While the characters were all well developed, I simply felt I didn’t have enough time to accept Isabel and View Spoiler »Colin « Hide Spoiler as a couple.
Things I loved:
- Goodness, how I loved to hate Isabel’s aunt! I love a well-written villain. This was a character that was written for me to hate and I mean that in the best possible way. The reader is intended to dislike her and boy, did I ever.
- The mysterious forest and the promise of a mystery—though predictable—was an appreciated element.
I know it sounds like I didn’t enjoy this book and that isn’t entirely true. I did. I appreciate the character development, the setting and the general storyline. I just wanted—no, I needed more. I needed more romance, more wooing, more mystery—just more.