Amelia Barrett is the heiress of the Winterwood estate, but must marry before her twenty-fourth birthday in order to inherit. She is engaged to Edward Littleton, but he has a condition to marriage: she must give up Lucy, the nine-month-old daughter of her best friend, who died shortly after giving birth. But Amelia has a plan…Captain Graham Sterling has just returned to his home of Darbury in England, and has met his baby daughter for the first time, having been at sea fighting the Americans for over a year. He is still mourning the loss of his beloved Katharine when Amelia makes him an unusual offer: to care for Lucy as her own daughter, if he will only marry her to secure her inheritance. However, her current fiancé – not to mention her guardians – won’t like this development. I’m not a fan of the ‘marry or be disinherited’ plot line (was that even legal?), but I accept the need for an unorthodox way of getting the lead characters where the author needs them. The best stories are the ones that are original, somewhat unpredictable and end up being better than expected. The Heiress of Winterwood certainly fits that description as both Amelia and Graham face obstacles from both their families which turn what could have been a predictable Regency romance into a fast-paced and exciting romantic suspense with some unexpected twists.The Heiress of Winterwood is Sarah Ladd’s debut novel and was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award (for unpublished manuscripts). An author to watch. Recommended for those who enjoy Jane Austen, Kaye Dacus, Jody Hedlund and Julie Klassen. Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.