On the moors of the English countryside
rises a tale of purpose and redemption.
Sarah E. Ladd’s The Headmistress of Rosemere (Thomas
Nelson), book two of the Whispers on the Moors series, is a Regency era novel
that carries all the charm of the period: the restrained romance, complexity of
societal roles and distinctive rhetoric.

at 25, Patricia Creighton had the role of Headmistress of Rosemere
School of Girls thrust upon her after the untimely death of her father and the
subsequent abandonment of her brother to London. Left to manage the financially
strapped institution along with her grief ridden mother, she is existing day to
day by serving her student girls wholeheartedly and reconciling herself to her
new calling. She grows weary of carrying the burden of responsibility and
receiving the ungrateful belittling of her mother. Patience struggles to
acknowledge the yearning of her heart for something more–the comfort of

Sterling master of Eastmore Hall and negligent landlord of Rosemere has funded
a disreputable lifestyle with his gambling and rogue ways after a devastating
heartbreak eight years prior. Now his misfortunes have come to call in the form
of violent creditors and he is left battered in body and spirit at the mercy of
Rosemere’s benevolent and gentile headmistress. Circumstances continually draw
him back to Rosemere and to the calming and alluring presence of Patience
Creighton. He dares to hope that a second chance at a respectable life is not
beyond his reach even when startling truths are unveiled and betrayals laid
bare. William’s past is inescapable but not unredeemable in God’s hands and
with the support of Patience. If he can first forgive himself, then he will
find solace in the plans God has for his life.

suspicious fire on the grounds of Rosemere serves as a catalyst for Patience’s
brother Rawland’s return. Her leadership is usurped by his high-handed ways and
accompanied by the unwelcome return of a past suitor who is determined to finally
claim her as his own. The life that she thought was perfectly laid out has been
thrown into turmoil and left her in desperation for direction. Herein lies the
persistent theme of the novel: it is not circumstance that gives value to life,
but character and how one chooses to respond. Destiny and purpose lie solely in
God’s hands; the solution to life’s hurdles is not in man’s strength, but in
His outpouring. Both Patience and William are drawn towards the Lord’s gentle
beseeching to surrender and reclaim their joy.

Ladd’s sophomore novel carries the same ease with the setting, mannerisms and
decorum of the Regency era that she demonstrated in The
Heiress of Winterwood
. She deftly employs the distinctive dialogue and rules
of propriety that characterize the period, yet imbues her characters with
an emotional depth that makes them relatable. Her integration of period details
is executed with precision, enough to establish the setting but not to
overwhelm with description or cause a scene to feel contrived. There is
authenticity in the characters’ reactions and struggles that lures the reader’s

Headmistress of Rosemere
is primarily a historical novel with definite romantic
leanings, there is a subtle mystery element that adds atmosphere and tension to
an otherwise predictable, yet engaging, plot structure. Sarah Ladd has made her
presence known as a budding novelist with this alluring series and promises to
be a strong voice in Regency novels.

Lydia Mazzei is
a Canadian high school teacher by day and a blogger by night. She has been a
lifestyle blogger since 2007 and began her book blog The Overweight
in 2009 to share her favorite past-time with fellow book
addicts. As the name of her book blog indicates, Lydia has a voracious appetite
for books that has resulted in bookshelves so heavy, they just might crash
through the floor supports. Lydia also serves on the Advisory Board of the Inspy

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