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.
I'm not sure how to review this book. I liked it, it was a good read, and Colin is a great leading male, but it was a little slow. There wasn't a lot of action going on, which I kind of expected because the first book in the series has a lot going on. But the suspense and mystery kind of plodded on and as a reader there isn't much that we see to the mystery being solved. I had mentioned the previous novel, but you definitely don't need to read it to understand what's going on. You won't be confused or anything if you read it out of turn.
Because the forest was in the title, and on the cover, and because the mystery is based around it, I kind of expected more from the forest. ...it's supposed to be dark and menacing, and very little actually takes place there, especially from Isabel, who is drawn to it, but only goes in once.
While I normally love rags to riches stories, this was a little weird to me because it happened to Isabel twice, and I couldn't help think that one: that seems a little excessive, and two: what are the girls at her school thinking about all this?
As a Christian novel, there really isn't much in the way of spirituality. A few scriptures are read, and that's about it. It's clean though, so that's always a big plus. I will admit to wanting a little more from the romance area. Not anything steamy or anything, but they characters barely knew each other and had limited interactions. Lots of thinking about each other, but hardly any real interactions, and when they did they were short and not really about each other.
This is definitely a book that I don't mind having read, and I will keep reading more from this author, but my over all feelings are that for a mystery and for a romance, it's all a little slow.
Title: Dawn at Emberwilde
Author: Sarah E. Ladd
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published: May 2016
Source: I received a copy from the publisher and Litfuse in exchange for a review.