Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Bookshelf: A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd

Her secret cloaks her in isolation and loneliness. His secret traps him in a life that is not his own.
        Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could expose her disgrace. But soon after becoming a lady’s companion at Willowgrove Hall, Cecily finds herself face-to-face with a man well-acquainted with the past she’s desperately hidden for years.
        Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own—one that has haunted him for years and tied him to his father’s position as steward of Willowgrove Hall. To protect his family, Nathaniel dares not breathe a word of the truth. But as long as the shadow looms over him, he’ll never be free to fall in love.
        When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice: Will they continue running from the past…or will they stand together and fight for a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long kept?

        A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is the third book in Sarah E. Ladd’s Whispers on the Moors series, coming after The Heiress of Winterwood and The Headmistress of Rosemere. Although I haven’t yet gotten the chance to read The Heiress of Winterwood, I read The Headmistress of Rosemere a little less than a year ago, and absolutely loved it. That novel made me a huge fan of Sarah’s, and this book just reinforced that decision. Honestly, I may have liked this book a little bit better than the second one, but I’m not entirely sure. Each is wonderful for mostly different reasons, so I cannot be sure which is my favorite. No matter, for both have made it onto my all-time favorites list, and that is a real accomplishment, to be sure.
        Cecily Faire has been harboring a secret for well on five years without telling a soul, and it has made it difficult for her to make real connections with people, which has kept her from finding a “family” to stand in for the one she lost so long ago. When she is given the opportunity to become a lady’s companion for the mistress of Willowgrove Hall—Mrs. Trent—she hopes that this can be a new start for her, though at the same time she dreads accidentally confessing something that could give away her greatest secret. Will she be able to open her heart to those around her, or will she choose to leave when surprising secrets come to light?
        Nathaniel Stanton—the steward of Willowgrove Hall—has also been harboring a secret of his own, one that turned his world upside down and caused him to live a life that is not his own. He has decided that marriage is not for him, at least not until he is finally able to reveal his secret, but when Cecily arrives at Willowgrove Hall, she changes everything. He is drawn to her in ways he never imagined he could be, but he knows she holds secrets, and he fears taking a chance on love. Will he put aside his plans of not getting married, or will he let Cecily, and the secrets she carries, into his heart?
        A Lady at Willowgrove Hall is a novel full of secrets, love, and forgiveness that will sweep you off your feet and touch your heart in ways you never imagined. And the best part about this book—aside from the wonderful romance that is—is the way that it weaves in Christian themes without preaching at you, though I would most likely be okay with it if it did. Anyway, I’ve already mentioned that I added this to my all-time favorites list, so it is pretty clear that I have chosen to award it all five bookshelves. It well deserves it, since it is a wonderful novel I would recommend to absolutely anyone.
        Happy reading!

To see where I’m linking up, check out my Where I Party page.

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Sarah E. Ladd and Thomas Nelson publishing.