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Publisher's Summary

Perfect for fans of Poldark and Bridgerton, this Regency romance is rich with family secrets, lingering danger, and the captivating allure of new love, all taking place on the Cornish coast. 

Cornwall, England, 1811: Blamed for her husband’s death, Cordelia Greythorne fled Cornwall and accepted a governess position to begin a new life. Years later, her employer’s unexpected death and his last request for her to watch over his five children force her to reevaluate. She can’t abandon the children now that they’ve lost both parents, but their new guardian lives at the timeworn Penwythe Hall...back on the Cornish coast she’s tried desperately to forget.

Jac Twethewey is determined to revive Penwythe Hall’s once-flourishing apple orchards, and he’ll stop at nothing to see his struggling estate profitable again. He hasn’t heard from his brother in years, so when his nieces, nephews, and their governess arrive unannounced, he battles both grief at his brother’s death and bewilderment over this sudden responsibility. Jac’s priorities shift as the children take up residence in the ancient halls, but their secretive governess - and the mystery shrouding her past - proves to be a disruption to his carefully laid plans.

Praise for The Governess of Penwythe Hall:

"Brimming with dangerous secrets, rich characters, and the hauntingly beautiful descriptions Sarah Ladd handles so well, 1800s Cornwall is brought vividly to life in this well-crafted tale that kept me glued to the pages. What a brilliant start to a new series!" (Abigail Wilson, author of Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey)

"Absolutely captivating! Once I started reading, I couldn’t put down The Governess of Penwythe Hall. This blend of Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, and Jamaica Inn has it all. Intrigue. Danger. Poignant moments. And best of all a sweet, sweet love story. This is by far my favorite Sarah Ladd book. Don’t hesitate to snatch up this title!" (Michelle Griep, Christy Award-winning author)

"The Governess of Penwythe Hall is a delightful and emotionally gripping tale that will tick all the boxes for any Regency lover: romance, history, and enough unpredictable intrigue to keep you up past your bedtime." (Kristi Ann Hunter, author of A Defense of Honor)

"Lovers of sweet and Christian romance alike will fall in love with Delia’s strength amid the haunting backdrop of her tragic past and the Cornish coast. Throw in a handsome leading man willing to turn his life upside down for the children in Delia’s charge, and you have a story you can’t put down." (Josi S. Kilpack, Whitney Award-winning author)

  • Sweet, full-length Regency romance
  • First book in the Cornwall novels (The Governess of Penwythe HallThe Thief of Lanwyn Manor, and The Light at Wyndcliff), but can be listened to as a stand-alone story
  • Book length: 94,000 words
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs
©2019 Sarah E. Ladd (P)2019 Thomas Nelson

Critic Reviews

“Brimming with dangerous secrets, rich characters, and the hauntingly beautiful descriptions Sarah Ladd handles so well, 1800s Cornwall is brought vividly to life in this well-crafted tale that kept me glued to the pages. What a brilliant start to a new series!” (Abigail Wilson, author of In the Shadow of Croft Towers)

The Governess of Penwythe Hall is a delightful and emotionally gripping tale that will tick all the boxes for any Regency lover: romance, history, and enough unpredictable intrigue to keep you up past your bedtime.” (Kristi Ann Hunter, author of A Defense of Honor)

“Lovers of sweet and Christian romance alike will fall in love with Delia’s strength amid the haunting backdrop of her tragic past and the Cornish coast. Throw in a handsome leading man willing to turn his life upside down for the children in Delia’s charge, and you have a story you can’t put down.” (Josi S. Kilpack, Whiney Award-winning author of the Mayfield Family series)

What listeners say about The Governess of Penwythe Hall

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Story Lacking

Enjoyed Jude Mason’s reading. She has a pleasant, easy voice fit for the era and the type of story.

I found the story itself repetitive and lacking. The plot and character relationships were sudden and abrupt - no development to either. I normally miss a story’s characters when I finish reading it, but there was nothing to miss because you simply never got to know anything below surface level details that contributed to a surface level mystery. The storyline has great potential, but the author missed it.

5 people found this helpful

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An Excellent Story!

I've loved listening to this book today! I was eagerly awaiting its release and it did not disappoint. I couldn't stop listening!
At first, I felt quite sad for the children losing their father and their home. Moving to Penwythe Hall was a great change for them. After many uneasy moments, a relationship with their Uncle Jac began to blossom.
Delia was a wonderful governess and loved the children deeply. But she has a secret. A secret that might just be dangerous. No spoilers from me though.

I loved the drama of this book. The author describes everything so well, there were times I could almost smell the sea air mixed with apple and flowers. I could feel the emotion, the tension, and the attraction. An excellent story! Excellent narration as well!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Just Ok

I was a bit disappointed by the description which compares the author to Austin and Heyer. Good grief, did the reviewer ever read those authors? Both Austin and Heyer are witty and write charming characters. This book lacks even a pretense of being witty. The characters are boring and predictable. There is an attempt to make this a mystery, but it wasn't much of a surprise. The narrator is passable at best. I fell asleep twice. Don't listen to this one on a road trip. It wasn't totally horrible, but not that great either. I would have been a bit happier if I wasn't expecting a clever story. Perhaps the "praise" for the author should be removed from the description as it sets totally unrealistic expectations.

8 people found this helpful

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Luscious Scenic Novel

The Governess of Penwythe Hall, book one of the Cornwall series, is a thrilling and mysterious novel! Centering on the ties of family and the enchantment of the Cornish coast, this clean novel will draw you in with its first word and hold onto your until its last!

It's been three years since Delia Graythorne's husband tragically passed away. Fleeing the coast of Cornwall for the smoggy London air, Delia is happy as a governess to five children; however, after the sudden death of their father, Delia's biggest fear is about to come true. Torn between the danger that will come if she returns to her homeland and the love she has for the children who have captured her heart, Delia navigates her new life at Penwythe Hall on her tip-toes. Nevertheless, her past lurks in the shadows, drawing closer by the day, along with growing romantic feelings for the children's guardian, Jac Tretheway.

How far will you go to protect your family? Is a dark secret worth the life of the innocent?

The Governess of Penwythe Hall is a captivating novel. It was so refreshing to listen to a clean historical fiction narrative. I know there are many like it, but I thoroughly enjoyed Sarah E. Ladd’s writing style and her portrayal of Cornwall. The characters were relatable, and each chapter left me wanting more! The next book of the series is already in my library, and I can't wait to begin!

2 people found this helpful

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Captivating and Well Written

I love historical novels that are read well and hold my attention. Sarah Ladd does an excellent job of developing the characters in her stories. This one is no exception.

She leads the reader through lives & experiences that are imaginable and riveting without traumatizing her readers.

Anyone who enjoys historical novels with non-R Rated language & storyline and who appreciates integrity would appreciate this book.

2 people found this helpful

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A Great ‘Comfort’ Read

I enjoyed reading a clean, romantic novel that did not need sex and foul language to make it an excellent and enjoyable read! Thanks, Sarah! Can’t wait until January 2020 when the Book 2 comes out!

2 people found this helpful

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Delightful Story

This Regency romance includes Lots of twists and turns. Wonderful characters. Excellent narrator. Very enjoyable.

2 people found this helpful

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Intrigue and romance

Sarah Ladd has written another wonderfully-crafted story complete with enthralling settings, engaging characters, and layers of plot fraught with danger, romance and high stakes. When Cordelia Greythorne’s husband is killed, her mother-in-law threatens her and sends her away. Little does she know that her life is about to become tied with the fortunes of the 5 children she oversees. Death and disaster follow Delia, but second chances also present themselves. Will she have the courage to risk her heart once more? And who will get hurt when her in laws threaten her once more? Listen to this book for the engaging answers.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyable but slow at times

I enjoyed the story as a whole. It was warm and entertaining but there where also many slow times and it took so long for the romantic relationship to develop. The last few chapters where more exciting than the rest of the book. I don't think I'd read it again but I did still enjoy it.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful read

Great writing, believable and interesting characters, wonderful dialogue. Also great execution. Sarah Ladd and Jude Mason do not disappoint. One of my most enjoyable Regency reads to date.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cornish Maid
  • 05-20-20

A lovely well spoken story


Beautifully written and narrated. That was the first time I've listened to Sarah Lloyd's work. It definitely won't be the last.