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 sage 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 she must find it—in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.
Dawn at Emberwilde is the second book in Sarah E. Ladd’s Treasures of Surrey series, coming after The Curiosity Keeper. I read The Curiosity Keeper when it first released back in July of last year, and I really enjoyed it, so I was extremely excited for this book to finally release. What I didn’t know, however, was that I would love it quite this much! I mean, I’m definitely a pretty big fan of Sarah’s, but I haven’t read a single one of her books that I have loved near as much as this one! This book sucked me in from the very beginning, with all the secrets and mystery and intrigue, and next thing I knew I was finishing the book and completely in love with both Isabel and Colin, and their story. There were so many unexpected twists and turns that completely engrossed me in every aspect of the story, but I can’t believe it had to come to an end! I just hope Sarah’s planning on writing another novel in this series!
Isabel Creston is such a wonderful character. I love how free-spirited she is; even though her aunt tried to turn her into the perfect society lady, and Isabel tried to please her aunt as a small way to repay her for all of her generosity, her aunt could not turn her into something that she was not, and I loved that about Isabel. I loved how she stayed true to herself, and didn’t let all of the money and nice things turn her into a shallow, selfish, vain women like so many other ladies of society. And her curiosity just about matched my own: not too curious in every situation but just curious enough to get her into trouble. Now, her interactions with the two men who pursue her can only be observed separately. Though she behaved almost exactly the same with each one of them, only one actually deserved her attentions, as it is highly possible the other one is a complete fraud (It could be that this is my stance on the two of them because I fell in love with one immediately and therefore didn’t want the other to ever have a place in Isabel’s heart, but no matter. You’ll find out the intricacies of the story once you read it).
All in all, I really loved this book, and I’m so glad I own this copy of it so that I can read it again and again whenever I want. I cannot imagine giving this novel anything but all five bookshelves, and a permanent place on my all-time favorites list. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves good historical fiction, and I know it is highly likely that I will be lending this novel to my best friend sometime in the near future.
I received a copy of this book through the Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for only my honest review.
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Photo credits go to my fabulous sister, Allie, whose blog you can visit here.
All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Sarah E. Ladd and Thomas Nelson Publishing.