Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd



Heartache as a young girl is wrenched from her home and forced to grow up alone. After living at a school for girls, she is thrust into a world of elegant living, afraid that her secrets will be revealed. But Willowgrove Hall has secrets of it's own.

I just love Regency settings with wonderful descriptions of gowns and a ball. I used to do a lot of sewing and embroidery, but it's been quite some time. The main character is taught by her mother to be a seamstress and loves to embellish her clothes - a talent I greatly admire. I may have been inspired to get back into it!

This is Christian Historical Fiction that opens at Aradelle Hall, Detham,England 1814. Cecily is 16 and running away to get married with the heir of the Hall, but her father catches them and hauls her away to a school for girls. Completely cutting all ties from her. She writes several letters trying to reconnect with her twin sister, but none are ever returned as her father had been let go from his position and they were forced to leave.  So without any family or means of support, Cecily has to take a job as a lady's companion at Willowgrove Hall - a position she is blessed to get. She is dropped off at the gate, struggling to find her way in and is met by the Steward, Nathaniel, and his dog.  He takes her to his family's humble home to rest and dry out and thus begins their tale.

This is a very well told story that you sink right into and don't want to put down. There are painful secrets at Willowgrove Hall and Cecily has her reasons to keep her background to herself. Little did she know that the one she was to run away with years ago is actually the heir to Willowgrove Hall - she's to be his Aunt's companion. As far as she knew, he had never bothered to try to find her after she was taken away. The difference in their social standing is more apparent now, since she was merely the daughter of a blacksmith.

There is a lot of personal struggle between the characters and little by little you gain insight as to why. It's a pleasure to see love bloom, even with the difficult Aunt that Cicely becomes a companion to. The Christian message is light throughout the book until towards the end as Cicely is drawn to a scripture and realizes the importance of leaning on God's assurance and His plan for our lives rather than our own ideas alone. Yet even when we stray from his path He uses all for good as we lean on Him.  Sarah E. Ladd is a new author to me, and I'm now a fan! This was the third in a series. I didn't miss the earlier books in reading this, but now I want to go back and read the others.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Thomas Nelson - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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