Review: A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd

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. Continue reading

Book Convention Survival Tips (with book giveaway)

Jesus calls His followers to be lights in the midst of darkness. If you’ve ever been to (or thought of going to an ABA book conference), the darkness is rampant.

During the first week of May, I got to hang with other readers at the RT Booklovers’ Convention in Atlanta, GA. This convention moves every year, and in 2018 it will be in Reno, NV. But despite the ever-changing city, the crowds flock to this convention for the parties and opportunities to meet with their favorite authors.

 

I’m by no means an expert at book conventions but this was my second RT (I went to Vegas for my first RT in 2016) and I thought I’d pass along some tips and hints to make the trip more enjoyable and worthwhile.

And if you hang with me until the end of the post, I’m doing a BIG giveaway for fans of Christian fiction (with multiple winners)!! Believe me, you’ll want to stick around and enter!!

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Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E Ladd

Dawn at Emberwilde

For whatever reason, I seem to have a hit-and-miss relationship with Sarah Ladd and her books. While I enjoyed The Curiosity Keeper immensely, her latest offering, Dawn at Emberwilde had me struggling through the first third. It wasn’t until about midway through the book where the story started to captivate me. With that said, I am glad I kept on reading.

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Probably the thing that had me most aggravated about this book was the lack of interaction between the two main characters. Their conversations were brief, the two barely got to know each other beyond polite, formal interactions (some while in groups of people). Even the mystery of the Emberwilde Forest took a while to delve into. There could have been quite a bit more done with this to keep the action moving along.

Isabel Creston is a bit naïve and she doesn’t explore her gut feeling about a certain gentleman when she becomes uneasy around him Thankfully, she is smart enough to not give in to the urgings and expectations of her aunt. Colin Galloway is a good man but he should speak up for himself more often.

I’m sure a lot of this cunning and betrayal within families occurred during this time when land was passed through bloodlines. And again, this could have been explored more. It was almost as if the author had a lot of ideas she wanted to put in the book which led to a general pass over instead of deep exploration—and I would have preferred deep exploration of the relationships between Isabel and Collin as well as Isabel’s aunt and cousin or aunt and uncle.

Not a horrible story by any means, it was entertaining and just intriguing enough for me to keep pushing through the slow beginning. And of course, I had to make sure our heroine got her HEA in the end.

***Thomas Nelson Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

From the desperate streets of London to a wealthy country estate, Sarah E. Ladd draws readers into England’s past, secrets, and heart.

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Camille Iverness has spent the past ten years of her life attending her father’s shop. Since she was young, she has kept the accounts and inventory of the curiosity shop—a place where wealthy people come to find treasures for their collections, a place she has called home. When a man breaks into the store asking about something she’s never heard of before, life as she knows it is about to come to an end.

Jonathan Gilchrist cannot, in good conscience, let a woman be hurt. When he intervenes during the robbery, he immediately feels protective and responsible for the young woman in the curiosity shop. Unsure of whether or not she is involved in the theft of his father’s ruby, Jonathan considers his options and determines that if Camille Iverness trusts him, then perhaps she will assist with retrieving the ruby—something which he wishes he’d never heard of within a couple of days’ time.

Camille’s grit and courage are a mask that disguises years of hurt, of feelings of inadequacies, something Jonathan Gilchrist has experience with himself. He has no desire to follow in his father’s footsteps and run their estate. He is happy working as the local apothecary and caring for the people of his small village. From their first meeting, readers will want the best for these two people. Two people who have not lived under the best circumstances, two people who deserve happiness. While the mystery of the ruby is woven throughout the book (and I believe readers will have a pretty good idea where it the entire time—at least I did), the true beauty in The Curiosity Keeper is the journey Camille embarks on to find her new life.

***Thomas Nelson Fiction provided me with a complimentary advanced reader copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.