Could losing everything be the best thing to happen to Annabelle Thorley?
In the fallout of her deceased father’s financial ruin, Annabelle’s prospects are looking bleak. Her fiancé has called off their betrothal, and now she remains at the mercy of her controlling and often cruel brother. Annabelle soon faces the fact that her only hope for a better life is to do the unthinkable and run away to Fellsworth, where her estranged uncle serves as the school’s superintendent. Upon arrival, Annabelle learns that she must shed her life of high society and work for her wages for the first time in her life.
Owen Locke is unswerving in his commitments. As a widower and father, he is fiercely protective of his only daughter. As an industrious gamekeeper, he is intent on keeping poachers at bay even though his ambition has always been to purchase land he can call his own. When a chance encounter introduces him to Annabelle Thorley, his steady life is shaken. For the first time since his wife’s death, Owen begins to consider a second chance at love.
As Owen and Annabelle grow closer, ominous forces threaten the peace they thought they’d found. Poachers, mysterious strangers, and murderers converge at Fellsworth, forcing Annabelle and Owen to a test of fortitude and bravery to stop the shadow of the past from ruining their hopes for the future.
A Stranger at Fellsworth by author Sarah E. Ladd was an interesting tale that dug deeper into the nuances of the English countryside in the early 1800’s. This is a story about Annabelle and how she is trying to find a solid foothold in her life and the people, who should be protecting her, like her brother, are the very ones she needs to flee from. There was such an atmosphere of impending danger and entrapment in this novel that had me really sympathizing with Annabelle. Annabelle runs away to the only family she has left, her aunt and uncle who run a school at Fellsworth. She is helped by the mysterious yet noble gamekeeper Owen Locke.
Owen, fueled by the tragedy of his past decides to do what he can to help Annabelle in her current circumstances. Owen is also dealing with poachers on the land that he is gamekeeper of and surrounding countryside’s. I found the historical aspect of poaching very interesting and due to this story, poaching has been put in a different context for me. I guess I always looked at it from the peasants’ point of view instead of the owners and thus the gamekeepers’ point of views. So this novel definitely gave me food for thought on that historical subject. I know this novel takes place after the medieval age but poaching still seemed to be a real problem that if caught came with very drastic consequences.
Evil fiancés, familial abuse, murder, poaching, and betrayal added with hope and true love all mixed together to make this third novel in the Treasures of Surrey a page turner.
I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and all the views and opinions expressed are my own.