This book hooked me from the first sentence and kept my attention through to the last. In fact, I couldn't put it down. The mystery of the stolen Ashwood jewels is just the tip of the iceberg, and buried deeply within the story. So although the heroine, Lily Boudine is searching for the jewels there is so much going on that it's sort of one of those things on the bottom of the to do list. This is the second full length novel in this series, and though I had not read the first book it did not detract too much from the story. A few references were made to the goings on of the first book, but the story did not hinge on it.
The hero in this story is a bit of a dark hero at first. Tobin Scott is set on revenge for the death of his father. Tobin blames Lily for condemning his father to death years before. Lily was only eight at the time and Tobin was only a few years older than her but he still holds her accountable. Finding out that Lily is now the Lady Ashwood has set him on a course of vengeance. When they finally meet again, Tobin cannot understand at first why he has so much trouble staying focused on his goal and pressing on. As Lily begins to remember more of the past she threatens his vengeance in ways he never counted on.
This was the first novel I've read by Julia London, but it will not be my last. In fact, I plan to go buy a few more now. The story was lively and engaging, and very enjoyable. The characters were both likeable - eventually - and strong, coming through on the page as three dimensional with both breadth and weight. The best news is that fans of this book will not have to wait long for the next in the series. I am looking forward to seeing more work from this author.
Returning to Hadley Green after fifteen years, the young Lord Eberlin has but one goal in mind: to avenge the death of his father. But when he is reunited with the beautiful target of his smoldering wrath, his plans take an unexpected turn. . . .
Tobin Scott has not been back to Hadley Green since Lily Boudine's childhood testimony helped send his father to the gallows for stealing the valuable Ashwood jewels. Now a wealthy man, he intends to exact his revenge by destroying Ashwood and its lady. He offers Lily a choice between her life and the livelihoods of the people who depend on the estate. She chooses the former, certain she can hold his dangerous plans at bay.
Lily and Tobin's game of one-upmanship quickly becomes a delicate dance of seduction, and she realizes he is not the cold, heartless man he tries to seem. In fact, she is certain he is right-his father was innocent. Together, they set out to find the jewels that will restore his family's honor, and soon their unbridled passion uncovers a shocking secret that will change their lives forever.