Ashes on the Moor

Ashes on the Moor

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...

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Title:Ashes on the Moor
Author:Sarah M. Eden
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Ashes on the Moor Reviews

  • Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)

    This book is evidence of just why I love this author's writing! Even though the tone in the beginning is despondent as Evangeline mourns her family and struggles with her new circumstances, it shows how much she grows and how time slowly heals. She does not seem particularly strong or skilled, but her compassion and newfound grit serve her well as she continues to make the best out of what she's been given. Dermot surliness brings out her sassy side and I loved seeing their relationship develop

    This book is evidence of just why I love this author's writing! Even though the tone in the beginning is despondent as Evangeline mourns her family and struggles with her new circumstances, it shows how much she grows and how time slowly heals. She does not seem particularly strong or skilled, but her compassion and newfound grit serve her well as she continues to make the best out of what she's been given. Dermot surliness brings out her sassy side and I loved seeing their relationship develop from neighbors to unlikely friends to sweethearts. Each person in the wide cast of characters from the community are vibrant and easy to picture, and I especially enjoyed the Yorkshire way of speaking and their interesting phrases and names for things. The setting was very much a big part of the book and it felt a bit like one of my favorite movies, North and South. I liked that it was set in a smaller town though, which gave it a more cozy feel and less industrial. I have a soft spot for stories with teachers that care so much for their students, and Evangeline's determination to do the best for her students, despite her lack of training, is admirable and endearing. I was completely immersed from the get go and was happy that the initial mood of desperation slowly gave way to hope as Evangeline lifts herself with the help of Dermot and discovers her own fierce nature and strength.

    (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

  • Mara

    I was so excited to get to read this new book by Sarah M. Eden. Firstly, I love the cover--it's gorgeous.

    Evangeline and her 12 yr. old sister, Lucy, lost their parents and their brothers to a sudden illness. Right after the funeral they must leave the only home they've known to go to Yorkshire and are separated--Evangeline is to live in the small factory town of Smeatley as a schoolteacher and Lucy is sent to live with the grandfather they hardly know in Leeds. In order for Evangeline to have Lu

    I was so excited to get to read this new book by Sarah M. Eden. Firstly, I love the cover--it's gorgeous.

    Evangeline and her 12 yr. old sister, Lucy, lost their parents and their brothers to a sudden illness. Right after the funeral they must leave the only home they've known to go to Yorkshire and are separated--Evangeline is to live in the small factory town of Smeatley as a schoolteacher and Lucy is sent to live with the grandfather they hardly know in Leeds. In order for Evangeline to have Lucy live with her she has to prove that she can keep a household (cleaning, cooking, manage money, etc) although she wasn't trained to do that as her family was quite well off. She also knows nothing of how to teach children.

    The nearest neighbor to her is Dermot McCormick, an Irish brick mason who isn't quite accepted by all of the towns people. They have a rocky start but come to an arrangement of extra schooling for his son Ronan in exchange for cooking lessons for Evangeline. Their friendship grows slowly as they spend more time together. Evangeline is slowly accepted by the children she teaches and their parents until her relationship with her grandfather (Mr. Farr) and her Uncle and Aunt Barton comes to light. Then she has to decide if she wants to stay in Smeatley with Dermot and Ronan, or leave to live with Lucy and her grandfather in Leeds.

    There are a lot of depressing scenes in the story because of the time period in which it's set--factory workers and those who lived off the land didn't have an easy life in the 1870's. They didn't have the safety precautions in the factories we have now, and illness or bad weather could wipe out a herd/flock or crop. But there are also instances of friendship and caring between neighbors as they helped each other in times of need or distress.

    There were so many times I wanted to slap Aunt Barton and yell at her husband to do something instead of letting her trod all over him and have her way. The woman was miserable and made everyone around her miserable too, and I was so happy when he finally told her enough is enough. I can't imagine treating your sisters children the way Aunt Barton treated Evangeline and Lucy.

    I felt so many things for Evangeline as she was left to drag/carry her trunk up to the schoolhouse by herself, find it in deplorable condition and attempt to get it ready for the children in just a few days time. She wasn't given the proper tools for cleaning and didn't even have a bed to sleep on. Luckily she had Dermot for a neighbor, who despite his prickliness, turned out to be a great blessing to her. Teaching her how to cook, and basically being the only friend she had for awhile.

    I loved the scenes in the book with the children showing what they had learned even though Evangeline didn't teach them the way the school board supervisor said she should. She did what was best for her students to help them learn so they wouldn't have to work in the factory. I was relieved to find out why Aunt Barton was such a miserable woman--I wasn't satisfied with the answer but at least the author didn't leave me hanging wondering why she was so wretched a human being.

    This is definitely a clean romance. Thanks to NetGalley for my eARC and the chance to review this book. All thoughts are my own and not influenced in any way.

  • Julie

    I couldn't wait this book to come out. I am a huge fan of Sarah Eden and I can't think of a book she's written that I didn't like. This one was no exception!

    In Ashes on the Moor, we meet Evangeline Blake who has just lost her family. With only her sister left, she clings to her as they face an uncertain future with an aunt and uncle. But a cruel twist of fate separates them and throws Evangeline into circumstances that she's unprepared for. Forced to be the town's new schoolteacher and live in a

    I couldn't wait this book to come out. I am a huge fan of Sarah Eden and I can't think of a book she's written that I didn't like. This one was no exception!

    In Ashes on the Moor, we meet Evangeline Blake who has just lost her family. With only her sister left, she clings to her as they face an uncertain future with an aunt and uncle. But a cruel twist of fate separates them and throws Evangeline into circumstances that she's unprepared for. Forced to be the town's new schoolteacher and live in a humble home in need of a lot of care, Evangeline is lost and overwhelmed. The only person who shows her a bit of kindness is an Irishman named Dermot McCormick. He's also trying to figure out his place in the world since his heritage is looked down upon no matter what he does. But as Dermot and Evangeline build a friendship, stronger feelings flare and they must decide if love is worth fighting for.

    I loved this book. It's not a light romance, but a look back in time when a woman had few choices and your birth and heritage could prevent you from having life's basic necessities. Ms. Eden has obviously done an incredible amount of research as the town of Smeatley with its Yorkshire residents comes to life, fairly jumping off the page. So many language, dress, and food details add to the amazing setting, giving the characters even more depth. Our heroine, Evangeline, will draw on all a reader's emotions as she deals with so many losses and has to keep picking herself up over and over. I wanted her to not only get her happily-ever-after, but to stand up and make a few people accountable for what they'd done! Dermot is also a character that will stay with you after the book is finished. He's suffered and risen above it, and all the while built a foundation of love and care for others, instead of bitterness as to his lot in life. He was the perfect match for Evangeline and their romance was a sweet, slow burn, that will give you all the feels. Definitely another one for my keeper shelf!

    I think the best thing about Sarah Eden's books is that they aren't just stories, they are an experience. She pulls you into another time and place and takes you on an adventure that you won't soon forget!

    Originally reviewed on

  • Aimee (Getting Your Read On)

    It's always a happy day when a new book by Sarah Eden comes out. I am such a fan of her writing and her stories. She has a gift for weaving me right into her stories where I feel such a part of whatever emotion or activity that is going on and she does it so gently. I think that's one word I would always use to describe Sarah Eden's books. Gentle.

    This story started off sad and a bit slow for me. It took me a bit to fall into the characters and feel like I was a part of them but it did happen abo

    It's always a happy day when a new book by Sarah Eden comes out. I am such a fan of her writing and her stories. She has a gift for weaving me right into her stories where I feel such a part of whatever emotion or activity that is going on and she does it so gently. I think that's one word I would always use to describe Sarah Eden's books. Gentle.

    This story started off sad and a bit slow for me. It took me a bit to fall into the characters and feel like I was a part of them but it did happen about halfway through. By the end I was in love with Evangeline, Dermot and Ronan. I loved the glimpse into the history of the Yorkshire area, the struggles of the people and the very distinct Yorkshire accent. Evangeline, as a school teacher, kept saying that she didn't want to take their words away from them. I loved that too.

    There was so much to love about this book. It was full and rich, gentle and endearing. Just what I would expect from Sarah Eden.

    Content: clean

    - I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

  • Melissa Tagg

    Ashes on the Moor is a great book for anyone who, like me, looooooves North and South, either the BBC production or the Elizabeth Gaskell novel it's based upon. I couldn't help picturing Dermot as Richard Armitage as I read. :) The setting, factory woes, even the emotion of the book...it all has echoes of North and South while also being its own original, heartwarming story, one I very much enjoyed. I especially appreciated Evangeline's character...watching her strengthen throughout the story an

    Ashes on the Moor is a great book for anyone who, like me, looooooves North and South, either the BBC production or the Elizabeth Gaskell novel it's based upon. I couldn't help picturing Dermot as Richard Armitage as I read. :) The setting, factory woes, even the emotion of the book...it all has echoes of North and South while also being its own original, heartwarming story, one I very much enjoyed. I especially appreciated Evangeline's character...watching her strengthen throughout the story and her resolve to do right by her students.

  • Katie W

    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 h

    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

    *I received a copy from the publisher, which did not affect my opinion. All thoughts are my own.*

  • Anne Osterlund

    Evangeline has lost everyone in her immediate family except for her sister Lucy. But when their aunt comes to take them away from their upper class city home to a small factory town on the moor, she takes away even Lucy—who is sent off to boarding school. Evangeline is assigned the job of schoolmistress for a full class of students who have not had a day of education. And she, herself, has never taught a day in her life. Without her sister and with clear instructions not to tell anyone about her

    Evangeline has lost everyone in her immediate family except for her sister Lucy. But when their aunt comes to take them away from their upper class city home to a small factory town on the moor, she takes away even Lucy—who is sent off to boarding school. Evangeline is assigned the job of schoolmistress for a full class of students who have not had a day of education. And she, herself, has never taught a day in her life. Without her sister and with clear instructions not to tell anyone about her familial ties to her aunt and uncle, Evangeline is utterly on her own. And alone.

    Except for her neighbor, Dermot, who is a working-class Irishman fighting to build his own future, raise an autistic boy on his own, and who tells her--on her very first day in town--that she is limited to one knock a day. Naturally, Evangeline knocks. She knocks because there is not so much as a blanket in her new quarters, and she knocks because she is hungry and because she does not know how to cook. And ultimately she knocks because Dermot’s son, Ronan, needs extra support and help with his studies. And, of course, she knocks because she wants to see Dermot.

    Sarah M Eden’s

    is a classic example of what I love about the author’s historical fiction. The novel and setting are well researched—the lives of the working class in a factory town depicted with their harshness, a strong sense of community, and humor. The dialogue is engaging. And the challenges Evangeline faces as a teacher, especially with regards to Ronan’s autism and to the challenge of helping her Welsh students learn to read “proper” English while also valuing their own native speech gives the book very real depth.

  • Kathy * Bookworm Nation

    I can't even imagine the amount of research that went into writing this one. Ms. Eden clearly spent a lot of time studying the time period and people and was able to write a story that easily transports you back to that time. As always, Ms. Eden is a great writer, is able to create well developed characters in compelling circumstances.

    While it is a well written story, I just had a hard time connecting to it. I guess I prefer lighter novels, this was just too serious for me.

    Content: Clean roman

    I can't even imagine the amount of research that went into writing this one. Ms. Eden clearly spent a lot of time studying the time period and people and was able to write a story that easily transports you back to that time. As always, Ms. Eden is a great writer, is able to create well developed characters in compelling circumstances.

    While it is a well written story, I just had a hard time connecting to it. I guess I prefer lighter novels, this was just too serious for me.

    Content: Clean romance, no language or violence

    Source: Netgalley

  • Anna

    This book suffered from a completely unbelievable plot. From the strange behavior of Mrs Barton to the unrealistic for the time period attitudes and ideas of Evangeline it just did not work for me. The characters were what ultimately made this work at all. Eden has a great ability to lead the reader to love and care for even less pleasant characters and really want everything to work out best for everyone.

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