Number of Pages: 336
**** 4 Stars ****
This is my second book by this author, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both of them. The book has a bit of a gothic feel to it – dark, brooding, and mysterious with secret societies, betrayal, and murder. Both of the lead characters have troubles from their pasts that still haunt them and they also have a past with each other. All of the threads – past and current – have now come together in a well-written, exciting, story that will have you on the edge of your seat. While I figured out who the villain was early on, I doubt most will – I just have a twisted mind. One of my favorite things about the book was that there wasn’t a Duke, Marquess, Earl to be found. There was a Lord Kendal, but we didn’t learn if he was titled or was just a second, etc. son of a title.
Charity Halliwell grew up near Loxby Manor and her along with the other kids from neighboring estates were all the best of friends. There were the three Cavanaugh’s – Piers, Avery, and Seline as well as Hugh Daunt, and Tony Shaw along with Charity, who were inseparable. That is, they were all inseparable until Charity’s parents, when she was sixteen, decided to immediately move to Ceylon, and then before long Piers was branded a coward and had to move to his grandmother’s old cottage outside Liverpool. Charity and Piers were in love with each other. How could they maintain their relationship with thousands of miles between them? Subsequent events caused them to be lost to each other.
Piers returns to Loxby Manor after his sister creates yet another scandal for the Cavanaugh’s. Seline was caught kissing a stable hand – OH! MY! Seline is desperately searching for a way to contain the scandal on the evening Charity arrives from Ceylon for a visit. Charity wants to do what she can to help, but Seline is very secretive about her quickly conceived plan. Piers arrives to find the love of his life visiting – and his sister missing.
Things at Loxby Manor aren’t what they seem to be. There is a tension and pervasive darkness about the place that hadn’t be there before Charity left. What vile things must have happened there? Charity doesn’t know – and nobody will share the information – if they know.
Piers and Charity soon determine they can’t trust anyone other than each other as they try to figure out what happened to Seline. Where has she gone? What about the other strange happenings? What is this secret society they keep hearing about? Is it real? Is it harmless? OH! You’ll just have to read the book to find all of the answers.
I thoroughly enjoyed the read, solving the mystery, and seeing Piers and Charity rekindle the love they have for each other. I love that both Piers and Charity manage to overcome their pasts and move toward a future together.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.