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Publisher's Summary

When Evangeline is sent to live in a small mill town in Northern England as a schoolteacher in 1871, she finds herself struggling to fit in with an unfamiliar culture. Raised with the high-class Victorian values and ideals of a sophisticated upbringing, she is unprepared for the poverty she finds in the gritty factory town of Smeatley, where the locals speak with a hard-to-understand Yorkshire accent and struggle to thrive with few resources or opportunities.

Though she has no training as a teacher, she must prove herself successful before her grandfather will release her substantial inheritance to her and allow her to be reunited with her younger sister, the last remaining member of her family after a fever claimed the lives of her parents and brothers.

Evangeline's sudden change in circumstances is complicated when her aunt - a woman who values class distinctions more than her family relationships - forbids her from acknowledging any connection to her or to her grandfather, Mr. Farr - the man who owns nearly the entire town. For the first time in her life, Evangeline is truly alone.

Heartbroken, she turns to the one person in town who has shown her kindness - an Irish brick mason, Dermot, and his son, Ronan. Despite the difference in their classes and backgrounds, Evangeline and Dermot become friends, due in part to her ability to connect with Ronan, whose behavior requires special attention. The boy is uncomfortable around strangers and rarely even speaks to the other children in town. He often fixates on details other people ignore, and he adheres to specific, self-made rules that give his life order and structure; for example, Dermot's coat must be hung on a specific peg next to the door.

Evangeline attempts to prove herself a worthy teacher and earn the respect of her hard-to-understand students. Determined to find a way to introduce them to "proper English" while still honoring their unique language and culture, she enlists the help of a local family to write down familiar stories in the Yorkshire vernacular. Because of her efforts, the students and their families warm to Evangeline and she continues to look for ways to give the children a chance to become more than factory workers in the local cotton mill.

When the town learns of her upper-class status, Evangeline must work twice as hard to win back their trust - especially Dermot's. In the end, Evangeline and Dermot discover that, even though they come from different social spheres, together they can overcome social prejudices, make a positive difference in the lives of even the humblest people, and enjoy the strength that comes when two hearts find each other.

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.

©2018 Sarah M. Eden (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Ashes on the Moor

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent read

I wish I could give it more than five stars. Loved everything about this book. This brings to mind the quality of writing in North and South.

14 people found this helpful

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Fantastic

Steeped in history, Sarah beautifully weaves the traditions of that time into a compelling love story.

9 people found this helpful

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Another wonderful story

I loved the characters and the setting. I loved the story. The narrator did wonderful with the language. I’m only sorry I’m finished.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

A story about kindred spirits

This is the first novel I’ve read from Sarah M. Eden and it belongs to the Proper Romance sub-genre of books.

It was a delightful book that reminded me a bit of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. The book begins with Evangeline Blake’s grief at having lost most of her family to a terrible fever. Only her and her sister survived and they are almost immediately relocated to go from the south of England where they’ve lived all their lives to the fictional mill town of Smeatley located in the north of England where her aunt lives. Evangeline is soon separated from her sister who is sent to boarding school while Evangeline must prove that she’s capable of being independent before she can be given access to her inheritance. To prove to her grandfather that she’s capable she’s given the job of teacher to the small town. Evangeline who has no idea of how to be a teacher must learn quickly without the help of anyone as her aunt who seems to hold an old grudge against her mother has transfer her antagonism onto her nieces. The only help Evangeline finds is from her neighbor Dermot who at first is reluctant of his fine southern neighbor. Dermot who is Irish had received harsh treatment from the people of Smeatley when he first arrived and even though most have come to respect him, he, like Evangeline is still an outsider there.

The story has several important elements. We see the social differences between Evangeline and the people of Smeatley she grew up in a fine family (upper middle class) while the people of Smeatley are struggling with poverty even as they work hard to survive. But we see them find a common ground and we see the distrust of strangers pass as they see Evangeline as an ally who wants to help their children succeed and gain knowledge that can help them in the future.

Evangeline and Dermot’s relationship has a lovely and natural progression from friendship to love. Dermot is a kind and generous person and he finds a kindred spirit in Evangeline as they both seek to help others. Although, he’s gruff with her at first he never denies her his assistance, which is a good thing because Evangeline can’t cook! Dermot also find a connection with her because of how well Evangeline connect with his son Ronan (who we in modern times can identify as mildly autistic().

In the end it’s a story about finding your place in the world, about helping other even when you yourself have not gotten much help, about finding a kindred spirit and about finding your purpose. Love and strength come along the way.

Score 4.5

7 people found this helpful

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Usually an avid fan...

I have always been a huge fan of Sarah M Eden, but this book seemed very long and depressing to me. The end was ok but I had a hard time getting through the book, where I usually can’t put it down!

6 people found this helpful

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  • KO
  • 08-18-18

Beautiful Story, Masterful Narration!

I highly recommend this book! The love story portion is sweet and pure. I especially love Justine Eyre's masterful narration of so many different types of characters ... upper class British, Yorkshire & Irish folk, young and old, male and female. She is obviously blessed with an amazing gift for accents!!

4 people found this helpful

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  • HC
  • 07-25-21

Not for anyone seeking light hearted or uplifting

I do not understand all of the great reviews for this book. It was well written and narrated very well, but it's a lot of unhappiness, hurt, and death for the majority of the book. Even when things turn around, it was an unsatisfying victory for me because (Spoiler alert) none of the bad actors ever change/learn/are punished and all the good things come from, essentially, one powerful person's actions. Sure, the MC gets their HEA (it couldn't even be called a romance otherwise) but it took so much misery to get there it didn't feel happy enough in the end balance. It left me feeling emotionally heavy through the vast majority of the read which isn't what I'm looking for. Can't recommend it.

3 people found this helpful

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Romance, empathy and morals.

Loved the story of two strangers from different worlds coming together by chance of fate and bringing out the best in each other. Family drama and romance, without erotica, enhanced the tale and the narration was excellent. The Yorkshire accents were most challenging. Looking forward to more books from this author.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Impossible to Share How Much I LOVED This!

If you love historical fiction; if you loved North & South (BBC), if you LOVE a guy with an Irish brogue and the unique sound of the Yorkshire people, please read this book....or, better yet, listen to it on Audible <3

3 people found this helpful

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Delightful

This book is an uplifting story of how a young women of wealth changes a town.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-18-18

lovely 19th century English romance

Liked how this story tackled autism. Read well except the narrator was unable to pull off a Yorkshire accent!

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  • Gail
  • 09-01-21

A lovely story

Not much to say…I agree with all the positive reviews already written. This author has a gift.