A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah Ladd Review

(c.) 2014 by Thomas Nelson
Title: A Lady at Willowgrove Hall ["Whispers on the Moors" #3] 

Author: Sarah E. Ladd

Published: 2014 by Thomas Nelson

I first heard about Sarah E. Ladd through the blogosphere when her debut novel, The Heiress of Winterwood, was released.  The striking cover design and the sumptuous title caught my eye and immediately piqued my interest.  However, I never got the chance to read any of her books until now.  A Lady at Willowgrove Hall’s intriguing story of hidden secrets did not let me down!

Cecily Faire of the Rosemere School for Young Ladies is thrust into the position of lady’s companion at Willowgrove Hall.  Believed to be a high born lady, she conceals her true heritage.  The daughter of a blacksmith, she fears her scandalous teenage dalliance will be revealed when she re-encounters Andrew Morton, the heir to Aradelle Park, years later.

Meanwhile, steward Nathaniel Stanton hides a secret as well.  He is the illegitimate son of the deceased Mr. Trent, the master of Willowgrove Hall.  Forced to keep silent as not to ruin the reputations of his sisters, he is tied to Willowgrove Hall’s stewardship until Mrs. Trent passes.  Ladd reveals Cecily and Nathaniel’s pasts to the reader at the very beginning of the novel, so we are left reading with anticipation to see how these secrets will come to light and be revealed to the rest of the characters.

I love historicals set in England’s early 1800s.  I felt that Ladd’s dialogue and writing lends to an authentic-sounding voice for the time period that is still understandable for the contemporary reader.  It brings to mind one of my favorite Regency authors, Julie Klassen (who actually endorsed Ladd’s The Heiress of Winterwood).  With all the secrets and strained relationships, there is also a tension as well that well illustrate the burden that secrecy can cause and the liberation the truth can bring.  I also loved the characters as well.  Their motivations are believable and even those playing slight antagonistic roles such as Mrs. Trent or Mrs. Massey are never completely unlikeable.  I’ll definitely be checking out more from Sarah E. Ladd in the future!

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the author.  No compensation was received and the opinions expressed are my own.*

(Edit: spotted a typo!) =)


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