So, Downton Abbey is back and the opening episode left me less than impressed. I was in the middle of reading Sarah Ladd’s latest The Headmistress of Rosemere when the premiere aired and I found myself wanting to read rather than watch. Shocking, right? (By way of disclaimer, I received a free digital copy of the book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for posting reviews and promotional items.)
The Headmistress of Rosemere features the elder of the Sterling brothers, William, a confirmed bachelor and landlord of the Rosemere School for Young Ladies on neighboring property. Rosemere is directed by Patience Creighton, who finds herself running the school after her father, the former headmaster, dies and her brother disappears to London. When Sterling is found beaten and near-death in the school’s stables, Patience wonders if the future of the school is at risk. And William, when he is lucid, finds himself drawn to the new headmistress, whom he hasn’t seen since she was a child.
It’s the second book in Ladd’s Whispers on the Moors series (and oh, do I breathe a little sigh at these beautiful covers!). The first, The Heiress of Winterwood, satisfied my Downton Abbey withdrawal last spring, and even though it was an award-winning story, I liked this second offering far better. (And it’s not the kind of sequel that you need to have read the first book to understand the second one. The main character, William Sterling, is a brother to the male lead in The Heiress of Winterwood but the storylines don’t really intertwine.)
Patience is a wonderful blend of a strong woman who has taken what life has given her and thrived as well as a woman who longs for the traditional family life and protection of a man. She is tender yet firm in her running of the school. She takes her calling as headmistress seriously but dreams of being a wife and mother to her own family. She bears a heavy load with an inconsolable mother and absent brother. I could feel her weariness.
William has dug himself a pit of financial trouble through gambling and reckless living. His reputation precedes him from his days in London. He is desperate to restore his family’s home to its former state and make an honest living but he can’t seem to catch a break. Though terribly flawed and obviously haunted by his past, William Sterling is a hero I wanted to see win in the end.
Lots of drama and action and a little bit of mystery bring this romance to a satisfying conclusion, though without spoiling anything, I will say that I was a teensy disappointed with the way Patience reacted to a surprising piece of news about William. I wanted her to struggle with it a little more. But that’s a minor complaint.
Overall The Headmistress of Rosemere is a to-be-read for fans of 19th century fiction.
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About the book:
Patience Creighton has dedicated herself to the Rosemere School for Young Ladies. But the return of the enigmatic master of the estate puts everything she loves at risk.
Bright, sensible Patience knows what is expected of her. At twenty-five, her opportunity for a family of her own has passed, so she invests herself in teaching at her father’s school for girls. When her father dies suddenly and her brother moves away to London, she is determined to make the school successful.
Confirmed bachelor William Sterling also knows what is expected of him, but mistake after mistake has left him teetering on ruin’s edge. As master of Eastmore Hall he owns a great deal of property — including the land where Rosemere School is located — but possesses little money to manage its upkeep. When debtors start calling, he is desperate to find a new source of income, even if it means sacrificing Rosemere.
When a fire threatens the school grounds, William must decide to what lengths he is willing to go to protect his birthright. And when Patience’s brother returns with a new wife to take over management of the school, Patience suddenly finds herself unsure of her calling. After a surprising truth about William’s past is brought to light, both William and Patience will have to seek God’s plans for their lives-and their hearts.
Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/sgVC4
About the author: Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing. The Heiress of Winterwood was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.
Learn more about Sarah at: http://sarahladd.com