Daughters of Hampshire, #2
MISS ANNABEL ASHTON is a teacher at the Rogers Day School for Young Ladies in Winchester when she makes a brief visit to her family home, Highcliffe Hall, at Milford on Sea. She believes her stay will be short but soon learns that she will not be returning to the safety of the school. Instead, she remains at Highcliffe, at the mercy of her cousin, Edward Everedge.
Annabel protests, but as the illegitimate daughter of a woman who died in an insane asylum she has little say. Edward is running out of money and puts the house up for sale to avoid financial ruin. He insists that Annabel marry, promising her to a sinister, frightening man. But as the house is readied for sale, disquieting secrets are revealed. Jewelry, artifacts, and portraits mysteriously appear, suggesting that Annabel may be the true heir of Highcliffe.
She has only a few months to prove her legitimacy, perhaps with assistance from the handsome but troubled Maltese Captain Dell'Acqua. But does he have Annabel's best interests at heart?
Will Annabel regain her life and property--and trust her heart--before it's too late?
If I had to pick only one fiction genre to read for the rest of the year it would have to be Gothic Romance. And if I had to narrow it down to only one author it would be Sandra Byrd. Her newest series, Daughters of Hampshire showcases her unbelievable talent.
Mist of Midnight was the first book and it introduced us to the exotic land of India. Now the series continues with Bride of a Distant Isle and takes the reader to the mysterious isle of Malta. Our damsel in distress this time around is Annabel Ashton. When we meet her she is about to have a huge curve ball thrown at her but she doesn't have a clue. She thinks she's off for a nice little family visit and then she'll return to her quiet yet satisfying life.
But this is Gothic romance my friend so there's not a chance that things will go as planned. Annabel's slimy cousin Edward has plans for Annabel. He in essence is asking Annabel to take one for the team but the only team member that is going to benefit is Edward himself.
While Annabel may seem to be trapped in a horrible situation, there's always hope. Enter the Maltese Captain Dell'Acqua. Mmmmm . . . let the swoons begin! But the more you get to know him the more you wonder if he can in fact be trusted. There's something about him that just seems a bit shady.
When Annabel is put in an inescapable place it feels like all is lost. But Annabel isn't some shrinking violet, she's got spunk with brains to back it up. I refuse to give any spoilers, but let me just say THE COFFIN . . . yes the coffin. When you get to it you'll know what I'm talking about! Total and complete Gothic creepiness at it's finest.
I read this delicious book curled up in my bed with a storm going on outside and a small bedside lamp casting barely enough light to read by. My recommendation is that you do the same. The atmosphere is the perfect compliment to this dark romance. I must say I'm jealous of you the new reader. You are in for a wild ride. I'd love to go back and read the story again not knowing what was coming.
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