Lily Trehearne was left completely alone after her father passed away – or so she thought. Soon a scheming third cousin of her father’s and his son came to “comfort” Lily in her time of mourning and before long she was being forced into a marriage she did not want. When an argument breaks out and Lily believes she may have killed her cousin, she flees with only the clothes on her back and some meager coins in her pocket.
Lily takes on a new identity and soon finds employment as a lowly scullery maid at Darkstone Manor. She is petrified of the housekeeper who runs the Manor like a prison and is equally terrified of the Lord of the Manor, Devon Darkwell, who is tormented by grief for his deceased wife’s treachery and the death of his infant son. However, Lily soon leans that Devon is not as terrifying as he seems when she is the only one he can trust to care for him when he is wounded by Riding Officers. Despite the differences in their stations, they grow to be friends – of course with an ever-present underlying sexual attraction urging them to be more.
Devon has learned from the past not to let his heart become involved when dealing with “the hired help”, but he cannot deny his attraction to Lily that soon develops to be more than just physical. Although she does her best to forestall it, Lily finds herself falling in love with Devon but fears she cannot allow their relationship to grow since she very well may be a wanted woman and he has no idea who she really is.
Lily is full of excitement with the adventures of smuggling, escaping from the police, wicked housekeepers and scheming zealots! Add to all of that the passion and love between Devon and Lily and you’ve got a winner! Over the course of the novel, I was moved to tears, laughter and edge-of-the-seat suspense. I adored Lily and found it impossible to put down this page-turner.
The obstacles keeping Devon and Lily apart are more than mere misunderstandings or stubbornness, which makes the reader really feel for their dilemma. Although, I’ve only read a couple of her novels, Patricia Gaffney has never failed to give me a novel full of sincere love and characters that I not only like, but come to care for. I cannot wait to pick up the next one!