Review of "The Thief of Lanwyn Manor" (The Cornwall Novels #2) by Sarah E. Ladd

Ladd, Sarah E. The Thief of Lanwyn Manor. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2020.

EBook | $8.99 USD ($15.99 USD Print) | ISBN-13: 978-0785223269 | 352 pages | Christian Fiction/Regency Romance

I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley to read in exchange for a fair review.

The Thief of Lanwyn Manor is the second in Sarah E. Ladd’s latest series, the Cornwall novels, but, as is typical of the author’s style, while there are small connections you appreciate if you read in order, the stories completely stand alone and the characters of book one have almost nothing to do with this book.

And admittedly, I’m kind of glad, as while that first book was ok, it was one of her weaker efforts, and very cliche, while this one is more of a return to form. The constant is that the setting of Cornwall remains beautifully realized, and the story feels atmospheric, while exploring a different nefarious deed that hasn’t been treaded to the point where it’s become a stereotype.

Isaac in particular is great, with his concern for those working in the mine he and his family own. Ladd’s books have slowly begun to focus more on the issues of the working class in this period (an aspect I also loved in her previous stand alone book, The Weaver’s Daughter), and she does so in a way that left me feeling enlightened and reflecting on the issues in comparison to today.

I really enjoyed the romantic tension in this one, especially as Julia grows closer to Isaac, in spite of his brother initially seeming like a more ideal suitor. This also leads to great character development between the brothers as well, especially given Matthew has a connection to the things going on.

There is a mystery, but while Ladd’s build-up is fantastic, as noted with the development of setting in terms of Gothic atmosphere, the reveal is a little underwhelming and predictable, and now that I’ve grown as a reader, I can recognize that as a flaw in many of her books, where it’s less “aha!” when you put the pieces together, and more “but of course it is.”

This is not my favorite Sarah Ladd title, but I still enjoyed it for the most part. I recommend it to people looking for a sweet read that also has a thread of suspense.

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