REVIEW of The Governess of Penwythe Hall (Cornwall #1) by Sarah E. Ladd

governess of penwytheDriven from Cornwall by her late husband’s relatives, Delia Greythorne finds refuge as a governess, becoming devoted to her young charges. But when her new employer dies three years later, she finds that the children are being left in the care of their estranged uncle and that his estate of Penwythe Hall lies a mere twenty miles from the dangerous coast she has tried to forget. Upon her return to Cornwall, Delia’s secrets will not let her rest in peace. Despite her overwhelming trepidation, however, she pours herself out daily for her young pupils, comforting them, instructing them, and inducing them to accept their new guardian, Jac Trethewey. But as Mr. Trethewey proves himself fair and faithful, thoughts of romance spring up unbidden–is it possible that Delia Greythorne could fall in love a second time?

Jac Trethewey inherited a millstone around his neck when he inherited Penwythe Hall, but his dogged persistence and unfailing industry may still right the floundering estate. As he seeks to finance a new cider mill and increase apple production in his orchards, he receives the added burden of his older brother’s five children. Sad, angry, and bewildered by their father’s death, the children look to Jac to set the tone of their new relationship. Fortunately, their governess has come along to help manage the painful transition. A far cry from a Georgette Heyer gentleman, Jac works like a common farm laborer, digging ditches alongside the hired hands. He realizes, however, that he must break from his business pursuits to form a relationship with his new wards. As Jac finds himself growing fond of his new houseguests, he finds Mrs. Greythorne becoming more and more indispensable to his own happiness as well. But among his own tenants there are whispers about the woman who bears the Greythorne family name, and he must decide whether her connections will imperil the safety of those he holds dear.

This novel combines a classic Regency with the windswept Gothic moors of a Brontë or Daphne du Maurier book. The theme of reconciliation is woven throughout this book. Delia must reconcile with her brother who has failed her so woefully in the matter of her marriage. Jac must reconcile with his eldest nephew who is convinced that Jac has robbed him of his inheritance. The theme of courage is there as well. Both Jac and Delia stand tall under pressures from the outside, refusing to break or give in. For Jac, the pressures are financial, and the risks he must take are in loans and securities. For Delia, the pressures are psychological, but the reality of physical danger is always there. Jac and Delia’s romance is sweet and convincing, making this book another lovely read from Sarah Ladd.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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