top of page

Reading Room: Visit Regency England with Two Great Books

My choice of reading material lately has either been rereading Johanna Lindsay's Malory series, or escaping into sweet reads like Shadows of Swanford Abbey and The Letter from Briarton Park. Both are enjoyable books by talented writers. Scroll down for more.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Shadows of Swanford Abbey, so I kept an open mind, and glad I am that I did. Part mystery, part sweet romance, and part history, the story drew me in and kept me interested enough to want to know what was going to happen with each character. The setting is lovely and the description detailed enough so I could see every crack, stone, and tree, but not so much that it took away from the story. An enjoyable book, and a clean read.

About the Book

Agatha Christie meets Jane Austen in this atmospheric Regency tale brimming with mystery, intrigue, and romance.

When Miss Rebecca Lane returns to her home village after a few years away, her brother begs for a favor: go to nearby Swanford Abbey and deliver his manuscript to an author staying there who could help him get published. Feeling responsible for her brother's desperate state, she reluctantly agrees.

The medieval monastery turned grand hotel is rumored to be haunted. Once there, Rebecca begins noticing strange things, including a figure in a hooded black gown gliding silently through the abbey's cloisters. For all its renovations and veneer of luxury, the ancient foundations seem to echo with whispers of the past--including her own. For there she encounters Sir Frederick--magistrate, widower, and former neighbor--who long ago broke her heart.

When the famous author is found murdered in the abbey, Sir Frederick begins questioning staff and guests and quickly discovers that several people held grudges against the man, including Miss Lane and her brother. Haunted by a painful betrayal in his past, Sir Frederick searches for answers but is torn between his growing feelings for Rebecca and his pursuit of the truth. For Miss Lane is clearly hiding something. . . .


Sarah E. Ladd is an auto-buy author for me because her stories always draw me into beautiful settings. Her wonderful characters and interesting tales add an extra layer of enjoyment. Cassandra and James have great chemistry on the page, and though Ladd keeps her books clean, the attraction is undeniable. With a touch of intrigue and plenty of sweet romance and chivalry, The Letter from Briarton Park is worth reading.

This book releases March 1, 2022, which means I will get to enjoy it again in the spring. I had the pleasure of reading an advanced copy.

About the Book

In Regency England, one letter will alter a young woman’s fate when it summons her to Briarton Park—an ancient place that holds the secrets of her past and the keys to her future.

Cassandra Hale grew up knowing little about her parentage, and she had made peace with the fact that she never would. But Cassandra’s world shifts when a shocking deathbed confession reveals a two-year-old letter from Mr. Clark, the master of Briarton Park, with hints to her family’s identity. Stung by betrayal, she travels to the village of Anston only to learn Mr. Clark has since passed away.

James Warrington is a widower and the new master of Briarton Park, where he lives with his two young daughters, his sister, and his mother-in-law. When Cassandra appears at his doorstep with a letter from the previous owner and then proceeds to assist his family in an unexpected way, he is honor bound to help uncover the answers she seeks.

The more time Cassandra spends in Anston, the more she begins to suspect not everything—or everyone—is as they seem. As details emerge, the danger surrounding her intensifies. Using wit and intuition, she must navigate the treacherous landscapes between truth and rumor and between loyalty and deception if she is to uncover the realities of her past and find the place her heart can finally call home.

Sarah Ladd’s latest Regency romance, first in the new Houses of Yorkshire series, combines mystery and intrigue with the best of historical storytelling.


The Reading Room is where I share books, because authors are readers, too. I don't rate books on my blog, but I do like to share books I've read and enjoyed (My mom recommends a few, too.). My tastes are eclectic, so expect to see everything from sweet, wholesome romance to edge-of-your-seat, sexy thrillers, and more in between.


bottom of page