A Stranger at Fellsworth by Sarah E. Ladd (review by Kristi)

a stranger at fellsworth

About the book:  Could losing everything be the best thing to happen to Annabelle Thorley?

In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, the home of her long-estranged aunt and uncle, where a teaching position awaits her. Working for a wage for the first time in her life forces Annabelle to adapt to often unpleasant situations as friendships and roles she’s taken for granted are called into question.

Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to eventually purchase land that he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to the lovely Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s tragic death, Owen begins to dream of a second chance at love.

As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.

Paperback, 336 pages                    Published May 16, 2017, by Thomas Nelson

 

My review:  If you are looking for a Regency era romance with all the trimmings such as fancy ball gowns, elegant ladies, and dashing men then this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a Regency era book with a good storyline, relatable characters, and a pace that doesn’t slow down then this is the perfect book for you! A Stranger at Fellsworth is a great read!

The main character in this book, Annabelle Thorley, is easy to like and have empathy for. Her family has been through a lot and she is now being forced to marry someone she does not want to. To escape the marriage she runs off to Fellsworth and the school there that is run by her uncle. Helping Annabelle is Owen Locke, gamekeeper for Bancroft Park, the estate adjacent to the boarding school. Owen is a likable character and also has a somewhat scandalous past that he is trying to get away from. These two characters, although different in social standing, have scandal as a common bond and a friendship soon develops.

I enjoyed this story and the two main characters. I liked the natural progression of their relationship from strangers to friends. I also enjoyed Uncle Langsby’s character. I liked how the author made him seem gruff to the young Annabelle yet a kind person to the adult Annabelle. Aunt Lydia was equally likable and added a bit of lightheartedness to the story.

It was interesting to read of Annabelle’s struggles to adapt to a life without a maid. Even though Crosley accompanied Annabelle to Fellsworth, it was easy to see the chinks in their relationship as Crosley found her freedom. I didn’t really care for Crosley as I found her cold and untrustworthy but that just showcases the author’s ability to write characters for readers to love and to hate.

This story has a mystery to it but it doesn’t overpower the book. There is a great balance between romance and suspense in this story. There’s just enough of each to keep readers interested and on the edge of their seat.

Although this book is the third in the series it does quite well as a standalone. Fans of the author are sure to love this book and those new to her are going to be left wanting more. A Stranger at Fellsworth is Sarah E. Ladd at her best.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.

 

About the author:  Sarah E. Ladd has always loved the Regency period — the clothes, the music, the literature and the art. A college trip to England and Scotland confirmed her interest in the time period and gave her idea of what life would’ve looked like in era. It wasn’t until 2010 that Ladd began writing seriously. Shortly after, Ladd released the first book in the Whispers on the Moors series. Book one of the series, The Heiress of Winterwood, was the recipient of the 2011 ACFW Genesis Award for historical romance. Ladd also has more than ten years of marketing experience. She holds degrees in public relations and marketing and lives in Indiana with her family and spunky Golden Retriever.

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