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    Engaging Regency novel

    The Weaver’s Daughter by Sarah E. Ladd sweeps readers back in time to January of 1812 in Amberdale, West Riding Yorkshire, England. Kate Dearborne lives with her father at Meadowvale Cottage and helps him with the weaving business. She is shocked when she learns her father has no intention of leaving her the business. Silas Dearborne wishes her to marry a John Whitby, a weaver who will run the business while Kate tends to the home (she is allowed to supervise the dye house). Silas clings to the old ways along with other men in the area, but the mill owners are bringing change to the industry with machines. The issue has divided the town, and, in Leeds, the mills have been attacked. Henry Stockton, heir to the Stockton Mill, returns home after fighting in the Iberian Peninsula for the last three years. On his way home, he encounters Kate and she captures his interest. Henry is surprised at the changes that have taken place during his absence and does not agree with all of them. Henry does, though, feel that the machines are needed especially if they are to keep up with the demand for their goods. Then tragedy strikes the Stockton family and Henry will face major challenges. Fate keeps bringing Kate and Henry together despite their being on opposing sides. Soon Kate will need to make a choice that will change many lives including her own. What will happen to the weavers of Amberdale? Is there a chance for Henry and Kate? I like how the author introduced three of the characters in the prologue of The Weaver’s Daughter. We get a glimpse of their personalities and it sets the stage for the future. The book is well-written, has a gentle pace and multifaceted. Sarah E. Ladd has a descriptive writing style. She creates a rich environment with her words. I could picture the village with the cottages and businesses as well as the people moving about on foot and in their conveyances. In the description of the mill, I could visualize the people working to create the finished cloth. The whole weaving industry was changing, and it was just the beginning. A process that used to be completed by hand was now being taken over by machines. However, the machines were far from perfect. They still needed to be monitored and many workers received debilitating injuries. It was deplorable that children worked in the mills, but it was a fact of life. This circumstance would not change for another hundred years (longer in the United States). The author did a remarkable job at weaving the history into The Weaver’s Daughter. The characters are well-developed, complex and realistic. The romance between Henry and Kate builds throughout the novel. They slowly get to know each other and do not rush the relationship. They know that they cannot think only of themselves. The Christian element is light and handled deftly. The mystery was well crafted (many will be surprised by the culprit’s identity). The Weaver’s Daughter is filled with tension, love, suspicion, heartbreak, loyalty, drama, and conflict. For readers who enjoy the Regency period, you will not want to miss The Weaver’s Daughter.
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