Well, I planned on writing a blog yesterday, but I got a little distracted. The mail lady (kinda funny if you think about that) brought me my advanced reader’s copy of The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd.
There went my day. And night…
Here’s my review:
As a lover of everything Jane Austen and of novels set in the early 1800s, I jumped at the chance to read The Heiress of Winterwood. Author Sarah Ladd didn’t disappoint! I’m also a writer and an editor, and I have to say, this is one of the best (well-written, thought out, didn’t make me roll my eyes once) novels I’ve read in awhile. I’m definitely adding it to my list of NOVELS THAT MADE ME STAY UP ALL NIGHT BECAUSE I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN.
The Heiress of Winterwood held all the elements that, to me, make up a must-read/gotta-recommend-to-everyone novel.
1. PLOT-DRIVEN STORY: Before Katherine Sterling dies, Amelia Barrett promises her two things. She promises to give a letter to Katherine’s husband, Captain Graham Sterling, and promises that she will take care of, and never leave, Katherine’s newborn baby, Lucy. When Captain Sterling arrives from sea nine months later, Amelia fears he will take his daughter from her forever. Amelia can’t let that happen. She grew up without a mother and refuses to let that happen to Lucy—and, she’s not willing to lose another person she loves. There’s only one solution: Amelia must marry Graham Sterling so that she can keep her promise to her dead friend and take care of Lucy. But things, of course, don’t go as smoothly as Amelia plans. Graham Sterling has no intention of marrying again. And Amelia is already engaged to Edward Littleton, a handsome, but not-what-he-seems man. Throughout the novel, Amelia and Graham must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has planned for them.
2. CHARACTERS: All the characters were believable. I felt for them, cried with them, was frustrated with them, laughed with them, understood them—even the characters I wasn’t sure which side they would take at the end . . .
3. SCENE: The Heiress of Winterwood is set in the early 1800’s. Sarah Ladd does an amazing job sprinkling in relevant facts without making it read like a textbook.
4. MYSTERY: Who really kidnapped the captain’s daughter and her nurse? Usually I can figure out who did it right away, but I wasn’t too sure… I had my guesses, but Sarah Ladd made me doubt my assumptions and a few characters along the way.
5. SPIRITUAL ASPECT: The Heiress of Winterwood didn’t preach at me. The characters all struggled with issues that are relevant even today. Doubt. Fear. Guilt. Surrendering control. And as it is in real life, it wasn’t a next page realization. It took the characters a whole book full of experiences (first impressions, tragedy/loss, joy, testing) to learn the lesson that God has a purpose for everything and is in control.
6. ROMANCE: The romance was very well done!! People reacted to touches, looks, and words (Some that were, at times, not appropriate for a gentleman to say to a lady), proving they weren’t dead or immune to normal human reactions/feelings.
7. SNAPPY DIALOGUE & ACTION: The action was non-stop. The prologue grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go to sleep until I’d read the last page. Every chapter was a necessity, no fluffy or just ‘cuz chapters. The sentences were short and choppy at times, but it helped moved the story along without stopping and parking in a scene—usually I skip whole sections of books…I didn’t skip any of The Heiress of Winterwood.
And THE MEN TALKED LIKE MEN! (Thanks Sarah Ladd!!)I
8. A SATISFYING ENDING: The ending wasn’t contrived, or tied up in a neat little bow. There are still things that need to happen . . . I eagerly await the sequel!!
Much thanks to Sarah Ladd for a GREAT read!