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Dawn at Emberwilde by Sarah E. Ladd

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I'm catching up on my ARCs - and you'll be delighted to know (or not) that I finally ventured into historical romance (yes, I'm looking at you, Ezrah!).

Orphaned and living at Fellsworth School, Isabel Creston and her young stepsister Lizzie go from the strict morales of Fellsworth to the high-handed care and guidance of an aunt that Isabel can't even remember meeting.
Things at their new home, Emberwilde, are very different from the school, something strange is going on in the woods near the estate, and somehow Isabel finds herself with two possible suitors.

✱ Pages: 352 (ebook)
✱ Series: Treasures of Surrey #2 (stories in series not strictly related)
✱ Publication: May 2016 (Thomas Nelson)
✱ Provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Amazon UK | ✱ Amazon US

The cover is pretty. I was feeling guilty for avoiding things labelled 'romance.' I thought maybe it was fate?

I'm pretty picky when it comes to romance in books. It's either because I'm not a romantic, or because I'm too much of a one. Who knows? Whatever the case, I feel hesitant about picking up books that actually focus on the romance - because I'm so afraid of them getting it wrong and ruining it for me. Luckily for me, in addition to a sweet romance, Dawn at Emberwilde also provided some intrigue in the form of a nice sub-plot, so overall I was a happy camper.

The characters are the driving force here, and Isabel is precisely the kind of protagonist I like: caring, stubborn, and knows her own mind. Especially when it comes to a historical setting, I appreciate a woman actually having agency - or at least trying to achieve it. Alternating points-of-view for the chapters make the story move efficiently, and we get to know the two main characters, Isabel and Mr. Galloway. well enough to care about their happiness.

So yes, I did like this HR novel. It was sweet and innocent and romantic and I enjoyed every page of it, okay? (No, I'm not being overly defensive.)

Against my initial expectations, I did enjoy this one. If you have a sweet-tooth and you're in the mood for a light Regency romance, look no farther ;)
So. Would it be acceptable to go on a bender and start on pride & prejudice next?
What are your feelings about historical romance? Any recommendations? Let me know in the comments :)

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