Title: The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd
Whispers on the Moors Book Two
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Historical, Inspirational, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by the Publisher & Blog Tour Company Through NetGalley
Patience Creighton has devoted her life to running her father’s boarding school. But when the enigmatic master of the estate appears at her door, battered and unconscious, the young headmistress suddenly finds her livelihood—and her heart —in the hands of one dangerously handsome gentleman.
At twenty-five, Patience Creighton is already a spinster. The busy headmistress of Rosemere always expected a dashing man to sweep her off her feet and take her away . . . but that man never came. And since her father’s death, keeping the school running and her mother happy has been plenty to keep her occupied.
William Sterling dallied his way into financial trouble and mortal danger. When he is assaulted by his creditors’ henchmen on the road home from a tavern, he guides his horse to the doorstep of his tenant, the Rosemere School for Young Ladies. After being tended to by Patience, the wounded William rides off into the dawn—but makes a point to learn more about the lovely headmistress.
As he spends more time at Rosemere, something delicate begins to develop between William and Patience. But that will not deter William’s creditors. With little money to repay his debts, and less for the upkeep of his estate, it becomes clear that sacrificing Rosemere may be the only way to preserve his legacy. But it may also cost him his happiness.
Sarah E. Ladd’s The Headmistress of Rosemere is a very charming historical romance with an engaging cast of characters. William Sterling’s efforts to turn his life around provide a powerful and uplifting message of redemption. There is also a spiritual journey for Patience Creighton and William as they rediscover their lapsed faith. Fully rounding out the story, there is a dash of intrigue and mystery when a business opportunity takes a rather dangerous turn.
Patience has been acting as headmistress at the family’s school for girls in the aftermath of her father’s death and her brother Rawdon’s departure to London. She is also struggling to help her mother as she battles depression while grieving her husband’s loss. Patience is fascinated by William after their first encounter and her admiration for him grows after she gets to know him better. However Patience is soon sidetracked by a few unexpected arrivals and an unwelcome announcement by Rawdon.
Instead of shirking her responsibilities, Patience admirably rises to the challenges facing her. She is levelheaded, loyal and dedicated to keeping her father’s dream alive. She is well-loved by her students and servants and she shares a close friendship with fellow teacher Cassandra. Patience’s first romance ended years before and she has not had the opportunity to find another suitor in the intervening years. She has grown weary of shouldering the burdens alone and her concern over Rawdon’s lack of communication is tempered by her increasing anger over his prolonged absence. As her life takes an unforeseen turn, Patience tries to reclaim the faith she lost in the aftermath of her beloved father’s death.
William has pretty much hit rock bottom and he is desperately trying to claw his way of the mess he has created for himself. He was already pretty wild when the end of a relationship sent him reeling into a downward spiral eight years ago. In danger of losing his inheritance and with a debt repayment looming over him, he enters into a business deal with a friend soon after meeting Patience. William’s misgivings about his business venture increase when his rather unsavory new partners propose changes that could pose problems in the future for Patience’s school. While trying to decide where his loyalties lie, William begins to explore the faith he has ignored so long.
Rawdon’s return brings unanticipated complications that threaten more than just William and Patience’s growing feelings for another. His future plans for the school come as a huge surprise to Patience but it is dismissal of her accomplishments that is most unexpected and hurtful. Rawdon is also accompanied by some surprising companions and their presence has an impact on almost everyone’s lives.
The Headmistress of Rosemere has a number of subplots but Sarah E. Ladd flawlessly weaves the various threads together into one fascinating novel. The faith aspect of the storyline is very understated but it adds another layer of depth to an already well-conceived storyline. The overall story is quite fascinating but it is the growth of the characters that makes it an outstanding novel. While The Headmistress of Rosemere is the second novel of the Whispers on the Moors series, it can easily be read as a standalone.