From international bestselling author Vina Jackson comes the seductive story of a love affair that spans the globe
Growing up, Aurelia was haunted by the mysterious death of her parents when she was very young, and she has always longed to know the truth about her past. At eighteen, she meets a man who will change her life forever, and when he disappears before she can learn his name, she vows to find him again.
Thanks to an unknown benefactor, Aurelia travels to America to continue her education. There she comes across the existence of an exclusive ball that has been held every year for centuries. The decadent celebration of the senses travels from country to country, cropping up in secret locations and inviting only a very selective list of guests.
Caught up in world of passion and intrigue, Aurelia soon becomes one of the ball’s star attractions. But little does she know that as her involvement with the festivities increases, she is coming ever closer to discovering the truth about her mysterious benefactor, her own past, and the identity of the one man she has ever truly loved.
Vina Jackson is the pseudonym for two established writers working together for the first time. One is a successful author; the other a published writer who is also a financial professional in London.
This lugubrious addition to the Eighty Days series (Eighty Days Yellow, etc.) moves between two stories that converge all too slowly. The secretive, centuries-old annual Ball is described in its hedonistic, magical, and hypnotic glory in chapters set in 1788 France, 1847 Venice, 1916 New Orleans, and 1964 Auckland. The second storyline follows 17-year-old Aurelia, orphaned as an infant and now living in England with her godparents. Soon after a mysterious man kisses her at a carnival, an anonymous benefactor arranges for her college education. Soon the man reappears for a night of dream-like sex so powerful that it permanently marks her body. Aurelia passively wanders through her life, discovering her destiny with the Ball through erotic adventures, and asserting herself only near the end of the book. The "Inking" that envelops her body as a result of her sexual experiences lends a magical air, but like the Ball's origins and most of the rest of the story, it goes unexplained, leaving Aurelia and the reader in the dark.