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Apr 17, 2013

The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

Fantastic Regency era romance full of intrigue and faith values!

The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers on the Moors Book #1) by Sarah E. Ladd
Christian Historical Romance
Thomas Nelson; April 9, 2013
Paperback 320 pages
Review copy provided by publisher via LitFuse in exchange for this review, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:Totally Awesome! 5 stars

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I edited out some of the plot in the following synopsis....
Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?
Darbury, England, 1814
Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.
Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.
Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them.

I must say I devoured this one, I could NOT put it down. I am VERY glad I didn't read the synopsis or back cover thoroughly, or I would have been anticipating what was a big twist in the story. (I HATE when marketing gives away the plot!) ..vent over..The above synopsis is safe for consumption since I deleted the middle.

The story is set during England's Regency era where Amelia Barrett finds herself as a temporary guardian of an infant. Nine months later, the father of the infant comes back to retrieve her, and Amelia is willing to stop at nothing so that the baby can remain in her custody. Captain Graham Sterling is a neighbor to Amelia, but he has been away at sea for most of his life. Upon his return to his estate he finds his brother William has ran it into debt, and he is not worthy of caring for his daughter. Amelia is the best person for the job, but Amelia's intended does not want anything to do with the Sterling baby.

Turns out this is really not just a romance - as there is more suspense and intrigue that you can shake a stick at!! Amelia realizes that her engagement to a shady Edward Littleton must not be acted upon, but it turns out that Littleton doesn't really want Amelia anyway - he wants her estate and is ready to move heaven and earth to get it. In an era where a woman is bound to be loyal to a man and her family, Amelia has little hope of achieving her dreams of being a mother to her friend's baby when scoundrels like Littleton stand in her way.

Many plot twists occur which have us losing breath as we try and keep up with Amelia's headstrong ways as one disaster after the other happen at breakneck speed - which is why I could not put this novel down! I loved how the faith factor was skillfully inserted, both Amelia and Graham have to mend their ways and the novel shows how they approach their faith in order for them to have a happy outcome. The narrative seamlessly shifts from both of the main character's point of views and we are eager to see them both succeed. The love story was achingly slow, as we knew these two are made for each other, but it was a nice backdrop to the fast paced intrigue. A fantastic debut for author Sarah Ladd, and I CANNOT wait to see what is next.. since this is book one of a series, I am guessing that the ill-fated cousin Helen will be featured in book two.... (no spoilers, so I'll hush!!)

The journey towards absolute trust in God + idyllic setting + good vs. evil + sweet romance + a plethora of interesting characters = a new favorite novel and five star read!!

My Goodreads Reading Progress:

04/07page 320
100.0%"Squeeeeeee.. Loved it!!!"
04/07page 262
81.0%"I love this book - will be sad to see it end. But I can't stop myself from reading it!"
04/06page 135
42.0%"Methinks they shouldn't leave Amelia unprotected tonight, after that shocking announcement!"
04/06page 82
25.0%"Amelia is betrothed to a cad."
04/05page 1
0.0%"OOHH first lines: 'Katherine was going to die. And Amelia could do nothing to prevent it