Monday, July 25, 2016

Dawn of Emberwilde- Sarah E. Ladd

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: Isabel Creston never dared to dream that love could be hers. Now, at the edge of a forest filled with dark secrets, she faces a fateful choice between love and duty.
For as long as she can remember, beautiful and free-spirited Isabel has strained against the rules and rigidity of the Fellsworth School in the rolling English countryside. No longer a student, Isabel set her sights on a steady yet unexciting role as a teacher at the school, a safe yet stifling establishment that would provide her a steady environment to care for her younger sister Lizzie, who was left in her care after her father’s death.

The unexpected arrival of a striking stranger with news of unknown relatives turns Isabel’s small, predictable world upside down, sweeping her and her young charge into a labyrinth of intrigue and hidden motives.

At her new family’s invitation, Isabel and Lizzie relocate to Emberwilde, a sprawling estate adjacent to a vast, mysterious wood rife with mysterious rumors and ominous folklore—along with whispers of something far more sinister. And perhaps even more startling, two handsome men begin pursuing Isabel, forcing her to learn the delicate dance between attraction, the intricate rules of courtship, and the hopes of her heart.

At Emberwilde, Isabel will discover that the key to unlocking the mystery of her past may also open the door to her future and security. But first she must find it—in the depths of Emberwilde Forest.

My Thoughts: Isabel is moved form one extreme social environment to another when she is suddenly informed of q family she had never known. Considering her life up to the point of the novel, I believe that she handled this well; putting her sister's need for home and security above her desire to control her life. I enjoyed reading from the perspective of a heroine whose driving motivation was that of love for her sister rather than for independence or personal security.

I also enjoyed Colin's perspective, as it was his scenes that contained most of the intrigue of the story. He had a sense of duty that complimented Isabel's well, along his respect of her beyond her family wealth and connections. However, though I liked them together, I also felt as though their relationship progressed rather quickly instead of over a greater period of time.

The description does not mention it, but one of the main conflicts is the domineering way Isabel's aunt tries to control her life. Personally, I found this to be a bit irritating as I would have put my foot down far sooner than Isabel did. I might have understood it better if there are had been a stronger relationship between her and any of the family or she had no other option, but since she was capable of teaching and enjoyed work I found it hard to accept her reasons for putting up with her aunt's control.

I received this book through the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.

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