The third installment of Sarah E. Ladd’s Treasures of Surrey series was a hit with me. My biggest complaint with the previous book in this series was that the hero and heroine were not together enough.
This was not an issue in A Stranger at Fellsworth. In fact, Annabelle Thorley and Owen Locke meet early in the book, and from that point forward, circumstances throw them together repeatedly.
While Owen is a gamekeeper, well below the social circles Annabelle is used to, his character stands above the majority of those in the ton. His love for his daughter and the respect of the land he works build his character as much as his desire to help Annabelle escape.
In direct contrast, Annabelle is navigating a new life, a new world. Her determination to make it work despite the obstacles she has to overcome make her loveable in her own right despite her naivety.
Add to that the search for poachers, a murder, questionable characters, and Annabelle’s scheming brother, and this book becomes one of Ladd’s best stories yet.
My only complaint about this book was the murder almost felt like an afterthought. It happens near the beginning of the book and is glossed over a couple of times until it is almost too-neatly wrapped up in the final couple of chapters. However, it did not detract from the heart of this story: Annabelle’s journey of finding herself with the help of a good man.
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.nal couple of chapters. However, it did not detract from the heart of this story: Annabelle’s journey of finding herself with the help of a good man.
In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, the home of her long-estranged aunt and uncle, where a teaching position awaits her. Working for a wage for the first time in her life forces Annabelle to adapt to often unpleasant situations as friendships and roles she’s taken for granted are called into question.
Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to eventually purchase land that he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to the lovely Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s tragic death, Owen begins to dream of a second chance at love.
As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.