22 May 2019

The Governess of Penwythe Hall by Sarah E. Ladd

The Cornwall Novels #1
Thomas Nelson, April 16 2019,  354 Pages
Print, Ebook and Audio 

Cornwall, England, 1811
Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later her employer’s unexpected death and his last request to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall . . . back on the Cornish coast she tries desperately to forget.

Jac Trethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced at Penwythe Hall, he battles both grief of this brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess—and the mystery shrouding her past—proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, this first book in the Cornwall Novels series introduces us to the Twethewey family and their search for peace, justice, and love on the Cornish coast.

My Rating : ⭐⭐⭐

I'm an established Sarah Ladd fan, so requesting this book was a given. Mrs Ladd has branched out with a new series set in Devon, which is becoming a very popular setting for Regency novels, thanks to the Poldark series.

This delivers a lot of what readers have come to expect in Cornish novels: with smugglers, intrigue and some stunning, dramatic landscape.

The hero Jac was a stereotypical grumpy and reclusive relative, who suddenly has the children of his long estranged brother come and live with him, which comprises most of the action in the book with money struggles and family drama, as well as some hilarious faux pas by the children whom Jac grows to love.
In one passage, one of the little girls suggests they 'should listen harder' when eavesdropping on adults, before being chided by her older sister that it is unladylike behaviour.

Delia provides vague shades of Jane Eyre a governess with unexpected local connections and something of a shady past.
Then there were the six young charges of Delia. Child characters always bring a refreshing, honest and often funny view of unfolding events.
All of the characters have to learn lessons in trust and love whilst facing circumstances that could either drive the unconventional family apart, or bring them closer together.

The romance in this book was slow-burning, and most of the book went by at an easy pace, which allowed for more character development. The only reasons my lower rating were that there were quite a few Americanisms and phrases that came across as clunky and unnatural. For example, at one point a character says the children are "well cared after". Shouldn't that be "cared for" or "looked after"?

The ending also came across as a little but rushed perhaps a little far-fetched. On a couple of occasions I also found it hard to keep up with some of the characters. I think there were too many minor characters with walk on roles, and it could become confusing to remember all their names and relationships to the main characters.

None of this really puts me off this author, or the book to a great extent. Its still a good book which makes good use of the setting, its just not my favourite. I think I preferred The Weaver's Daughter. Lovers of Regency fiction and Poldark fans should enjoy it.

I received a copy of this title from the Publisher or their representatives including Netgalley. This did not effect my review and all opinions expressed are my own.


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