When I seen this book for review I was hoping it would be offered in print. It was the cover that caught my attention. Just beautiful. This too is my first opportunity to read a work penned by Sarah E. Ladd. I cannot wait to see what is next in this writer's future.
Where to begin. I'm just going to jump in here. This is my second book this week I have read by Thomas Nelson. When I choose a Thomas Nelson novel there is one thing above all else that I expect. Faith. A novel where faith is at the center. That is what was missing for me in this novel. As a reviewer for Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher, I could not review a book without sharing the disappoint I feel where faith isn't to be found in a novel published by them.
If this were a secular fiction I would give it five stars. Sarah E. Ladd is exceptional. This was a beautifully penned novel. Once I began reading I didn't want to put down this book. I have a friend who calls these "Unputdownables". There is so much about this novel that I loved. But without being faith-based it was missing an element that could have made this novel soar.
We start in the year of 1801 in Amberdale. Oh, this time period is one that I love and Ladd did a fantastic job in the details and bringing the pages alive for the reader. She captured the time and place with poetic beauty. We find ourselves going back in time to a weaver's life in England.
This was a time of uncertainty. A time where so many wanted to remain with tradition, but times were a changing and the people of Amberdale didn't want to see machines come in and take jobs away from the people who so desperately depended on them. This is who they were. The identity was based on being a weaver.
The weavers and millers didn't see eye to eye. Too much was changing and hanging in the balance. You have some wanting to remain as is and others who were hopeful in this new generation coming forward to bring a new way of life.
Our main characters are Kate Dearborne and Henry Stockton. Kate a weaver's daughter, and Henry Stockton, a miller's son. The Dearborne family and the Stockton family were enemies. The weavers were loyal to tradition. The millers were stepping in to advancing to a new era of production. Nothing wrong with either side, that is unless you were on the other side of their views.
These are the two main characters, but there are other characters who I found myself admiring. One would be Kate's brother and the other would be Henry's sister. This story is just so well put together. The author gives the reader a glimpse into the heart of each character. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly. We see their struggles. But it doesn't stop there. We get to witness these characters growing into better people. They move past what was done and expected in the past. They see beyond the prejudice and look at the heart.
The father of Kate and the grandfather of Henry expected them to honor them, to be loyal. They weren't suppose to have feelings and allow their emotions to get in the way of being loyal. But these two characters overcome the hatred of their earlier generation and step out and learn to be loyal to their own self, seeing how others should be treated and not allowing a hate to live within themselves.
Oh, there is so much I could share about this novel, but then I would give away too much. I truly enjoyed this novel. I only wish, especially coming from Thomas Nelson, that faith could have been at the center of this Christian published novel. If the faith aspect was there this would have been far above a five 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 star review for me.
This novel was a gift from Thomas Nelson for sharing my review with you.
Sarah E. Ladd received the 2011 Genesis Award in historical romance for The Heiress of Winterwood. She is a graduate of Ball State University and has more than ten years of marketing experience. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing family and spunky golden retriever.