Sunday, May 8, 2022

Review: The Letter from Briarton Park by Sarah E. Ladd

by Sarah E. Ladd
Release Date: March 1st, 2022
2022 Thomas Nelson
Kindle Edition; 336 Pages
ISBN: 978-0785246725
ASIN: B09831LP11
Audiobook: B09886RVJ6
Genre: Fiction / Historical Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.25 / 5 Stars

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.

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.
My Thoughts
The Letter From Briarton Park was a light, easy historical mystery.  This book was a mix between some light romance, family secrets, and a murder mystery, and while I enjoyed it, I did find it predictable and felt that really nothing new happened in this book. 

Cassandra was a fairly strong woman and I enjoyed her search for her family's identity. She was a bit trusting of others, believing they all had her best interests at heart, but her sheltered upbringing hadn't really taught her how to be wary of people. James was a lonely widower with a deep sense of family and I liked how he interacted with his daughters and his sister. He had nothing but patience with his demanding mother-in-law as well.  I did feel like all of the characters were stereotypical, including the antagonists, and I while I enjoyed them, I didn't feel particularly empathetic towards any of them and I didn't really notice any development in them throughout the story.  They just were.

The plot was fairly predictable, with Cassandra discovering a letter written to her with information about her family.  It was fairly easy to figure out what that information was and who her father was, but I did think the search was interesting.  I like this kind of intrigue so that part of the story was something I enjoyed, even if the story was more about telling and explaining than about figuring it out.  And while I really liked James, I didn't really buy into their relationship as the chemistry simply wasn't there.  You can't build a relationship simply on shared experiences over a secret and that's what I felt this was.  To be honest, I kind of liked the mom-in-law as she seemed to see clearly the situation that actually existed during this time period.  

The Letter from Briarton Park was a fairly predictable read.  I did enjoy the mystery, but thought the characters were a bit shallow and one-dimensional. There were hints of Gothic overtones, but the plot  focused more around Mr. North and James and their pursuit of Cassandra as well as the mystery of Cassandra's parentage without going too deeply into any of it, so it felt fairly superficial. I did like the author's writing style, so I will try another book in the future; if you are looking for a light, fluffy read, you may enjoy this one.  



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