[Book 3] of the Whispers on the Moors Series
The story of Cecily Faire and Nathaniel Stanton is likely the best of Sarah E. Ladd's Whispers on the Moors Series. I enjoyed all three of them to a certain degree, but there was something more to A Lady At Willowgrove Hall. She seemed to pay more attention to the emotions and the characters - Cecily and Nathaniel. That's not to say her characters in her other books suffered any neglect, but Cecily and Nathaniel felt more developed and rounded, and I found it easier to fall into the story with them.
Cecily starts off on the wrong foot entirely. Her father disowns her and drops her unceremoniously on the doorstep of a ladies' school in the area, never to see her again, separating her in the meantime from her twin sister, Leah. All as a result of a sixteen-year-old infatuation. And shame plagues her, harshly and desperately, over the dishonour she feels she will be forever responsible for.
Now in a fit of circumstance and unforeseen opportunity, Cecily leaves Rosemere, the ladies' school under the guidance of Mrs. Sterling, to become a companion for the infamous Mrs. Trent of Willowgrove Hall. She feels as though she is assuming some kind of facade; living a lie in a constant state of paranoia, fear, and shame. She was not raised to be a lady's companion. Her class status really begs the question of whether she is even eligible for the position. But it is upon Mrs. Sterling's recommendation that she goes, and she refuses to disappoint.
Cecily is the most curious mixture of propriety and rebellion, submission and opinion, fearless and fearful. She is so secretive, and yet so intent on being honest. So strong willed, and yet so very fragile. And she hides a tormenting secret. When she meets Nathaniel, he's the image of propriety, dedication, and loyalty. Far too good for her. But to him, she is kind and proper and has every bit of innocence he believes he lacks - far too good for him. He has his own secrets to hide.
And if they're both too good for each other, then where does that leave them?
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