Winner of the 2012 RONE (Reward Of Novel Excellence) award in mystery, and finalist in the Maggies published historical category!
Can she save him from the darkness in his soul—or will it destroy them both?
After her brother is killed in the Crimean War, innocent young Oriel Pembroke finds herself alone in the world. Disowned by the cruel father who has always despised her, she has nowhere to turn until she is taken under the wing of a glamorous relative she never knew: the former Duchess of Ellsworth, who has scandalized society by remarrying soon after her first husband’s death. At the opulent seaside estate of Ellsmere, Oriel thinks she has found a safe haven—but the darkly handsome young duke, Herron, believes otherwise. Haunted by the death of his father, he suspects that Ellsmere is sheltering a murderer.
Even as Oriel falls in love with the duke, she begins to fear that his grief and suspicion are turning to madness. When dangerous accidents start to befall both Herron and Oriel, however, she realizes that someone may be trying to stop them from discovering the truth about the past. And when her father comes back into her life, she learns that he may hold the answer to the most horrifying secret of all...
Length: about 110,000 words ~ Sensuality level: Mild/sweet/kisses
Ebook includes book club discussion questions
Gothic romance meets Shakespeare in DeWees's rather muddled Victorian tale of a haunted man and the naive young woman who loves him. When Oriel Pembroke's father disowns her, she seeks help from distant relatives of her deceased mother. To her surprise, they take her in, comforting their long-lost cousin with all the pleasures of their medieval home. There's gothic intrigue aplenty when she learns of the sudden, purportedly accidental death of Ambrose, Duke of Ellsmere, and the rather hasty wedding of his widow, Gwendolyn, to Ambrose's younger brother, Lord Claude. Ambrose's handsome, morose son, Herron, who's now the duke, clearly suspects foul play. In true Shakespearean tradition, he drapes a melodramatic pall over every scene he inhabits, especially the ones in which he takes Oriel into his confidence. As she falls more deeply in love with Herron, she worries about his mental stability, taking her concerns to either Claude or his eldest son, Charles. Tension too frequently flags as DeWees indulges in overlong narrative passages that fail to inform the complex plot of secrets, lies, murder, and love. (BookLife)
Sea of secrets
What a disfunctional family. Good read.