At a lavish estate in Mercy Falls, California, Addie Sullivan finds danger-and quite possibly the love of her life.
Growing up as the lightkeeper’s daughter on a remote island at the turn of the century, Addie Sullivan has lived a hardscrabble life. When a long-lost and wealthy relative finds her and enlists her to work as a governess at a lavish estate, she hopes to discover the truth of her heritage. But at Eaton Hall, nothing is as it seems. Not the idyllic family she hoped for, not the child she was hired to help, not even the aloof man she’s immediately attracted to. Soon she must turn for help to Lieutenant John North, a man who views her with suspicion.
As Addie edges closer to the truth, danger threatens even as her romance with John blossoms and together they unravel a decades-old mystery. As Addie faces down her enemy, she discovers that faith in her one true Father is all she needs.
This book is equal parts historical fiction, romance and mystery. I felt that the plot catered evenly to each of these elements but left room for further development if more focus had been placed on one or the other.
The pieces of the mystery puzzle started to come together for me half way through, but the major revelation at the end was well concealed. If one backtracks and follows the crumb trail of clues it would be easy to deduce the “whodunit,” but I just let the plot carry me where it wanted to.
I am not a fan of love-at-first-sight romances, but that is a personal preference. I can get caught up in the emotion and chemistry between characters as easily as the next reader, but I have difficulty placing the label “love” on Addie and John’s relationship early on in the story, especially after such a fleeting encounter. The romantic elements grew stronger and more convincing as the story progressed.
I wans’t enamored with the dialogue because it sometimes got away from itself in the quest to be historically genuine. Too much attention was placed on being true to the rhetoric of the time period at the expense of relating emotion that the reader could feel. For me, Addie’s internal struggle with duty and obligation and finding her true identity was the most interesting aspect of this story. Her quest for identity went beyond discovering a name, but discovering who she wanted to be in spite of that name.