Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Curiosity Keeper and Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah Ladd

It’s no secret that I am a fan of regency romance.  When I learned of an author, new to me, Sarah Ladd, and was asked to be a part of the TLC Book Tour for her latest novel, A Stranger at Fellsworth, I leapt at the chance.  I will be posting a review of A Stranger at Fellsworth next week as part of the tour.  You can also read an excerpt here.  Until then, read my reviews below of the first two novels in the Treasures of Surrey series.  They are stand-alone novels that are linked loosely by the town of Fellsworth and the school in that town.

The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah Ladd
Camille Inverness is a shopkeeper’s daughter in London.  The shop is a treasure trove of curiosities for collectors.  She longs for the return of her mother who left for Portugal years ago and for a return to the countryside of her youth.  After her father betrays her, Camille decides to strike off on her own with a help of a handsome stranger.

Jonathan Gilchrist was a younger son who became an apothecary and never thought he would inherit the family estate.  After his older brother’s death, Jonathon is roped into helping his father find his stolen ruby, the Bevoy.  Without it, they will lose Kettering Hall and his sister Penelope will not have a dowry.  While on the hunt for the Bevoy, Jonathan helps young Camille to escape her circumstances and move to the countryside.  Will the Bevoy be found?  Will Camille be able to make a new life at Fellsworth School?  Will the Gilchrist family estate be saved?  Will Jonathan find happiness?

This regency Christian romance was real page turner for me. I loved how Camille was a strong woman running her father’s shop, but that when she found herself betrayed, she was able to be make a decision to strike out on her own.  I like that both characters had to think about their own happiness and find a path forward that would be the best option for them.  I also enjoyed Penelope as that is my daughter’s name.  The character in the novel is a bit selfish thinking of her own future and not others, but it is an interesting look into the limited options women of her time had.

I really enjoyed the Regency setting.  As a Christian novel, there were no torrid romance scenes, but just nice sweet romance of falling in love. This is the type of romance I like the best. There were very brief mentions of Christianity, but not as much as I would expect from a Christian romance novel. 
I did have the suspense plot figured out pretty early on, which is the reason why I give this novel four stars out of five starts. Enjoy it for the great Regency Romance with a hint of suspense.
Overall, I enjoyed The Curiosity Keeper and thought it was a unique Regency romance as it did involve a shopkeeper’s daughter.  I would recommend this to lovers of the Regency era.

Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah Ladd

Isabel is a young orphan who has made her way through Fellsworth School and is ready to make her way in the world as a governess.  Isabel receives unexpected news that she has a family member that is still living that would like to take her in.  She leaves the school, but not without her half-sister Lizzie.  When Lizzie and Isabel arrive at Emberwilde, they find a beautiful and sprawling estate with Isabel’s mother sister at the matriarch.  Isabel learns more about her late mother and her family while also making friends with her cousin Constance.  Is everything as it seems at Emberwilde?

The servants tell Isabel to stay out of the woods and there seems to be mysterious men in the woods that could do her harm.  Colin, a local magistrate, helps Isabel’s Uncle investigate the mystery in the forest.  Isabel feels safe with Colin around, but her Aunt is trying to match her with with the handsome Mr. Bradford.  Bradford runs the local orphanage and Isabel with her teaching background likes to help the children. It seems like a perfect match, but why does her Aunt push this relationship so much when Isabel has not had time to get to know Bradford yet?

I really enjoyed this novel.  I loved the characters of Isabel and Colin and I enjoyed that the book was narrated through their two viewpoints.  I liked the suspense element of this story where the reader learns along with Isabel and Colin just what mysteries the forest and Emberwilde hold.  I also like the love triangle of Bradford, Colin, and Isabel.  I also enjoyed how the novel took a good look at what life was like for a woman during the regency period.  Being a governess or marrying well were the two main options for a woman of gentle birth.

Overall, I would highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good suspenseful Regency era romance, especially fans of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, and Julie Klassen.  
I’m eagerly reading A Stranger at Fellsworth right now – I’m loving Sarah E. Ladd’s novels!

Book Source:  E-Book Review Copies as part of the TLC Book Tour


  1. I do so like the settings and the stories here. Thanks for the reviews.

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    1. Both of these sound wonderful, Laura! I haven't read that many Regency era romances. Enjoy your weekend!