The Headmistress of Rosemere is set in early 19th century England, a time when an unmarried woman of 25 is already considered a spinster. Patience Creighton is such a woman. She loves her work and all her little charges in her father’s boarding school for girls and after her death, throws herself into running the school successfully despite her mother’s withdrawal from all activity and her brother’s disappearance to London.
Within this romance novel are lots of secrets waiting to be revealed: a handsome landlord with the reputation of a cad who needs quick cash, the attraction between him and Patience, a barn that burns down for no apparent reason, an orphan whose fees are paid regularly by the local minister, and a racehorse who could be the answer to several, if not all, of the problems for both landlord and headmistress. When Patience’s brother, Rawdon, finally returns to Rosemere bringing with him a new wife and a former teacher and suitor of Patience’s and the intention of turning the girls’ boarding school into a co-ed establishment, Patience’s world begins to fall apart.
This is a tale well told with something for everyone: a love triangle, a misunderstood wealthy landlord, creditors with a violent streak, a little orphan who steals hearts, a woman making her way in a man’s world, and a sudden rescue for both Patience and William. Ladd’s story and writing is reminiscent of that of Jane Austen and her period heroines and heroes. There are enough twists and conflicts to keep the reader enthralled and I’ll be reading more of Ladd’s books, for sure. * * * *