About the book: The life of an impoverished schoolteacher is not one Evangeline Blake would have chosen for herself. Torn from her home and her beloved sister and sent to work in the gritty factory town of Smeatley, Evangeline must prove herself to her grandfather, a man who values self-reliance above all else, before he will grant her access to her inheritance. Raised to be a lady of refinement, she hasn't any of the skills necessary to manage on her own nor does she have the first idea how to be a teacher. But failure means never being with her sister again.
Alone and overwhelmed, she turns to the one person in town who seems to know how she feels—Dermot McCormick, an Irish brick mason who is as far from home and as out of place as she is. Despite the difference in their classes and backgrounds, Evangeline and Dermot's tentative friendship deepens and grows. Her determination and compassion slowly earn her the faith and confidence of the skeptical residents of Smeatley, who become like the family she has lost.
But when a secret from her past comes to light, Evangeline faces an impossible choice: seize the opportunity to reclaim her former life and rejoin her sister or fight for the new life she has struggled to build for herself—a life that includes Dermot.
Ashes on the Moor is the inspiring love story of one Victorian woman's courage to fight against all odds, and the man whose quiet strength gives her the confidence to keep trying.
My review: This books opens to such a sad scene. Evangeline and her younger sister Lucy have just lost their entire family. In their town, the church bell rings once for each year of the life of the deceased. And it's tolling for their mother, their father and their two brothers. They know they have to leave the only home they have ever known with only their clothes and none of the families belongings. So. Sad. I loved the way the author uses the bell tolling in this book and the way Evangeline thinks of it as kind of an indicator of her feelings. Sad and grief filled at the beginning. To happier as the story goes on and she heals.
I loved Evangeline in this book. She was born and taught to be a lady, but her circumstances change when her family dies. And through no desire of her own, she's pushed in to the life of a teacher with no instruction on what to do or how to do any of the tasks she's been assigned. But does she sit and mope, nope! She works to learn to care for herself and the young students entrusted in her care. All without the comfort of her family. Her sister Lucy is ripped from her side and her aunt, who should be a kind influence in her life is constantly rude and snide. Wow, she was a real piece of work! But Evangeline works to rise above all of this.
And she doesn't do it on her own. Her aunt insists that Dermot McCormick show her the schoolhouse that will be her new home. But he's not the most kind man. He constantly is saying things that come out mean, when he's only trying to tease a bit. I had to laugh at the rule he came up with that Evangeline could only knock on his door one time a day! But when he realizes what's been done to her, that she was given no instructions and doesn't even know how to feed herself, he goes out of his way to help her. And by the end of the book, he's so dear to Evangeline and to the reader as well.
I really loved the plot of this one. There really is a whole town in trouble in this one that Evangeline works so hard to help, even a little bit. I loved her growth, and the growth of the whole town, throughout this whole book.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
About the author: Sarah M. Eden read her first Jane Austen novel in elementary school and has been an Austen addict ever since. Fascinated by the English Regency era, Eden became a regular in that section of the reference department at her local library, where she painstakingly researched this extraordinary chapter in history. Eden is an award-winning author of short stories and was a Whitney Award finalist for her novels Seeking Persephone and Courting Miss Lancaster. Visit her at www.sarahmeden.com.
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Labels: Clean Romance, Proper Romance, Sarah M Eden, Shadow Mountain Publishing