Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
TYPE OF NOVEL: Traditional Regency Romance
SETTING: Darbury, England 1814
SERIES: Whispers on the Moors #1
WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS:
- I found Sarah E. Ladd’s books on a list for “If you like Jane Austen and Regency romances, you should try…”
- The covers for this series are gorgeous! Yes, I do judge books by their covers sometimes! 😉
- Julie Klassen, an author whose books I love, is quoted on the cover!
Amelia Barrett is in an interesting situation: she is an heiress who is engaged to be married and yet has made a vow to take care of her deceased friend’s infant baby. A vow she intends to never break, since she understands what it is like to grow up without a mother. Only thing is, the baby’s father is about to return home from the navy for a few weeks and Amelia’s fiancé has stated that she must give up the baby when they marry… What will Amelia do?
WHAT I LOVED:
- A Unique and Peculiar Premise: I don’t think I’ve read many Regency stories where the custody of a child hangs in the balance. Not to mention an inheritance that gives an heiress a deadline to marry by in order to inherit and a fiancé who gives an ultimatum! What a desperate and gripping scenario! Like Julie Klassen says on the front cover, “It grabbed my attention from the first lines.”
- Our Hero and Heroine: Amelia’s devotion to her friend’s child is wonderfully admirable. I love her determination and strength to stand up against all who oppose her choice. In addition, she is genuine, selfless, and true to herself, all traits we easily recognize in many of Jane Austen’s heroines. And our hero, Captain Graham Sterling, shows many admirable qualities as well. He is protective, responsible, and honorable. It was very touching and endearing to see his first encounters with his daughter, Lucy and his growing admiration for and appreciation of Amelia and her situation.
- A Bit of Drama and Danger: There are some characters who are not so admirable in this story. And when they find out their plans might be disrupted it prompts a few unpleasant scenes. Amelia soon learns that some people weren’t who she thought they were. The question is, how desperate are they to get what they want? I enjoyed all the twists and turns of this plot, and our villains were so good at stirring things up!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Blend and Development: I will say that in some instances I found the writing to be a little lacking in balance and seamlessness. This story includes some Christian themes and a bit of a backstory for Captain Sterling. Both of these aspects are welcome, but I wasn’t too fond of how they were written in this story. The faith message was more overt and at times felt irrelevant, and Captain Sterling’s past felt a bit underdeveloped. In fact, that is something I could say for many of the characters – while they were intriguing and likable, they were all just a tad underdeveloped.
- A Little Lacking in Romance: When I read a period romance/historical romance, I prefer for the romance to be the focus of the story. I don’t mind if there are other elements like mystery, faith, history, etc. but for me the romance and the relationship development between the hero and heroine needs to get the most page time. In this story, it sort’ve became the other way around though. The romance got pushed aside towards the end and I found myself enjoying the book a little less as a result.
While I’m not completely in love with this new author and series, I am very glad I gave them both a try. I already own both of Ms. Ladd’s other books from this series (The Headmistress of Rosemere and A Lady at Willowgrove Hall) and I do plan to read both in the future. I enjoyed Ms. Ladd’s inventive premise and exciting plot twists!