Since her father’s death Lillian lives in France with her stepmother, and in constant fear of her. Her stepmother keeps young men to satisfy her every sexual desire, no matter how depraved. On her 19th birthday it’s Lillian’s turn to practice what she’s learned. Her new toy is an English prisoner. To mark him as her own she burns a lily in his breast and prepares him for the tortures to come. All the while Lillian is planning her escape. In constant proximity to her plaything she has no choice other than to take him with her on the day of her escape.
A year later in London, she moves in society and even has a beau. She is ready to accept a marriage proposal. But first she is to meet his cousin and head of the family. She’s in for a surprise. Turns out that the cousin is none other than her English prisoner. Troy is shocked when he stands in front of the woman whose sign he wears. In order to save his cousin from a life worse than death he confronts Lillian. Only to be forced into marriage with her shortly thereafter. It doesn’t promise to be a happy marriage; he blames her for the tortures he had to endure and plans on making her marriage to him hell.
Reading the first chapters of Sandra Schwab’s debut one might be tempted to call this an overly dark tale. But read further and you get to explore a lighter site, never losing its intensity. The historical details are well researched and plentiful, but never intrude on the story and the characters. Characters that I won’t forget so soon. A tortured hero and heroine strong enough to be by his side. Sandra Schwab’s command of the English language is breathtaking. Eloquent and often very poetic. The Lily Brand is an exceptional debut and I only hope that the wait for the follow up book won’t be too long.