Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden {Review}

Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden
Paperback, 384 pages
Publication: March 6th 2018 by Shadow Mountain
Source: I received a copy from the publisher, which had no influence on my thoughts and opinions.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ashes-on-the-moor-sarah-m-eden/1126932557?ean=9781629724027  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35909696-ashes-on-the-moor?from_search=true  http://amzn.to/2CWdwfv

 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.

My Review: 4 Stars

This story is very inspiring as it progresses, but it definitely starts out somber. Right away, deep sympathy is felt for Evangeline and her situation. It's hard to imagine being thrust into an unfamiliar situation and expected to be successful, but she has good reasons to work hard and to figure out how to survive. 

It's hard for me to picture how tough the times were for so many people during this time period. Eden paints a vivid portrayal of that. It's also tough to imagine families being so heartless.

Although this book is labeled as a romance, and a Proper Romance at that, the romance is very, very mild, gradual, and gentle. While the book does focus on some relationships, especially those of Evangeline and her Yorkshire students and of her and her Irish neighbor, Dermot, I thought most of the energy was concentrated on the language and teaching methods. This is a great historical fiction, especially for those who are interested in this area and time period. 

The last line of the blurb sums this one up well--inspiring, courage, quiet strength, and confidence and all of those characteristics were gentle developed throughout the book. 

Content: squeaky clean romance and content 


  1. I'm glad this one isn't too heavy on the romance. I only like romance where there's more going on than just the love story! I'll be reading/reviewing this one soon. Can't wait.

    Glad to have found your blog via the LDS Beta Readers group on Facebook :) I'm adding it to my blogroll so I can remember to come back often and visit!


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Susan! It's always interesting to see where others come from. :)

      I'm excited to see what you think of this one and I'll be sure to stop by.