Monday, November 10, 2014

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah E. Ladd

A Lady at Willowgrove Hall

Eye-catching cover, huh? You know I love that.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Her secret cloaks her in isolation and loneliness. His secret traps him in a life that is not his own.

Darbury, England, 1819

Cecily Faire carries the shame of her past wherever she treads, knowing one slip of the tongue could expose her disgrace. But soon after becoming a lady’s companion at Willowgrove Hall, Cecily finds herself face-to-face with a man well-acquainted with the past she’s desperately hidden for years.

Nathaniel Stanton has a secret of his own—one that has haunted him for years and tied him to his father’s position as steward of Willowgrove Hall. To protect his family, Nathaniel dares not breathe a word of the truth. But as long as the shadow looms over him, he’ll never be free to find his own way in the world. He’ll never be free to fall in love.

When the secrets swirling within Willowgrove Hall come to light, Cecily and Nathaniel must confront a painful choice: Will they continue running from the past . . . or will they stand together and fight for a future without the suffocating weight of secrets long kept?

And now, my review:

I was attracted to this book because of its cover. Then the writing swept me into the historical setting, which was well drawn and peopled with interesting characters.  

The early conflict drew me in, our heroine ending up in the company of this man she hasn’t seen in years. But she’s found a suitable position serving as a lady’s companion, so she must tread carefully. Opportunities have been rare for her.

The hero carries his own heavy secrets, though he has tried to overcome them. He’s an honorable man, too bad the past overshadows him.

I liked the relationship between the heroine and her employer. I expected the older woman to be hard to live with, but found her likable and even compassionate (a twist for stories like this?) as I walked in the heroine’s shoes.

And I was hooked as I wondered if and when the secrets would come out. (I never read back cover copy before I begin a book, so didn’t know the giveaways in the summary above.)

I would have liked the romantic thread to be stronger, but the author did keep me reading so comfortable did I find the setting.  

Overall, an enjoyable read.

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