Penwythe Hall, deep in the heart of Cornwall, England. Sweet. Simple.
Haunted by fear.
Penwythe owner Jack Twethewey has enough on his spade, so to speak. Truth be told, Penwythe is failing. He's gambled Penwythe's future--and all those who depend on it--on some sickly apple orchards out back. The villagers think he's crazy. His staff thinks he's crazy.
Jack thinks he's crazy.
And then his nephew and two nieces show up. Their father--Jack's brother--has died and strictly instructed that the children be raised by Jack. A strange request--the brothers wanted nothing to do with each other in life.
But now, here the trio stands.
Quartet, really. With the children comes Delia Greythorne, their governess, fleeing a past and secrets all her own. Secrets that are so bold to find her even at Penwythe--a place she'd sworn never to return.
The Governess of Penwythe Hall, the first book in Sarah E. Ladd's new Cornwall series, is much like Penwythe itself. Sweet. Simple. Gentle. The story rolls like the hills of Cornwall, or the sea beyond those hills. It's not as fast-paced or suspenseful as some of her other works . . . but maybe it doesn't have to be. Governess is a gentle story of overcoming fear.
That being said, the climax was what really sealed the deal for me. When the past finally came to call, the fears finally made themselves known, and Jack and Delia had to stare their ghosts in the face. I won't give it away, but it's well worth the read.
Not to say the climax was the only good thing in this book! Sarah Ladd did a good job building the tension as the book went on--a slow, pulsing tension that you could feel in the air as you read and that rolled into the climax wonderfully. Plus, she took a reader (that's me) who never knew Cornwall existed, or some bits of its fascinating history and made me see, hear, smell, and feel it.
Brilliantly explosive? Maybe not. But Penwythe Hall wouldn't be a bad place to spend a couple days. Who knows? You might even overcome your own fears during your stay.
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