Who knew that a promise made at the deathbed of a friend could lead to a new life, romance, and adventure? In "The Heiress of Winterwood" by Sarah E. Ladd, beautiful Amelia Barrett, an heiress to the grand Winterwood estate promises her dying friend that she will raise her baby no matter what. This promise leads to a broken marriage proposal, a new marriage proposal, a kidnapping, an adventure, and true love. Oh, the impact of a promise!
"The Heiress of Winterwood" is the story of Amelia Barrett and Captain Graham Sterling and their coming together to raise a child. Graham is away at sea as captain of a ship while his pregnant wife Katherine befriends the heiress to Winterwood, Amelia Barrett. Amelia cares for Katherine during her pregnancy. Before Katherine dies after giving birth to a daughter, she makes Amelia promise to care for her daughter Lucy no matter what. Amelia loyally promises her friend that she will do just that, but there is a problem! Amelia is engaged to Edward Littleton who demands that she return Lucy to her father upon their marriage. Amelia is aware of Graham's role as a sea captain which keeps him away from home, loyal to her promise to Katherine, and truly besotted with baby Lucy, so she contacts Graham and offers herself in marriage to him. Amelia longs for this to work as Amelia receives her inheritance upon her marriage, she keeps her promise to Katherine, and most importantly, gets to keep Lucy and create a family for her. Graham reluctantly agrees to Amelia's suggestion, but lots of drama await them including Edward's fury at being pushed aside, the kidnapping of Lucy, and Graham and Amelia's growing feelings for one another. "The Heiress of Winterwood" is a novel about how a promise can change the lives of people forever.
"The Heiress of Winterwood" is a novel with tons of potential, but sadly does not come together. The novel centering around Amelia's promise to Katherine is a powerful theme of the novel and beautifully creates the story of Graham and Amelia coming together for the sake of Lucy and then falling in love. They both are interesting characters individually and even more interesting when paired together.
Another interesting aspect of the novel is the state of the personal lives of Graham and Amelia. Graham lives his life at sea fighting for his country. He is so loyal to his role as captain that he leaves his pregnant wife and is not even aware he has a child until Amelia contacts him. He also has a difficult relationship with his brother that is portrayed. Meanwhile, Amelia is trapped in a life of duty where the only way she has any freedom is if she marries, but when baby Lucy and then Graham enter her life, Amelia finally finds purpose and a new way to look at life.
The problem is that the novel is rushed. The kidnapping and rescue of Lucy is rushed. The relationship between Graham and Amelia is rushed. Most frustrating is that readers never get to see Graham and Amelia's relationship continue and watch them as a family with Lucy. This novel needs a sequel or follow-up, but sadly there is not one planned at the time. This novel suffers from trying to cram everything into a story very quickly.
"The Heiress of Winterwood" is a sweet and interesting read, but it will definitely leave readers wanting more. Here's hoping Ladd decides to continue the tale of Graham, Amelia, and Lucy.
To purchase "The Heiress of Winterwood": http://www.amazon.com/The-Heiress-Winterwood-Whispers-Moors/dp/1401688357
For more information on Sarah E. Ladd: http://www.sarahladd.com/