Nineteen year old Eliza Carlisle has just returned to Lorien, USA from the UK, where she had been banished in the hope of keeping her away from drugs and her destructive lifestyle. Eliza is the only child of a rich business man, Tim and his wife Helena. Eliza had been in all sorts of trouble and now has to repeat a final year at school in order to graduate.
Sixteen year old Julia Waters lives out at Riverside, a state run home for difficult children. Both of Julia’s parents are dead. Julia is a loner, shy and timid. She really doesn’t belong in a place like Riverside. She has no friends, until she meets Eliza.
When Eliza first meets Julia, she’s immediately drawn to her. Eliza has had her share of women, but there is something different about Julia. It’s not about sex. Julia brings out the protective side in Eliza. She goes out of her way to find out all she can about her.
When Eliza hears the story about Julia murdering her father, she uses her friends and resources to find out more. It quickly becomes apparent that Julia is innocent, there is proof. But something is not right. Something is being covered up. Something that is tied up with top officials, including the Mayor of the county. Eliza is determined to leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of what is happening, therefore freeing Julia of her guilt and inhibitions. But this isn’t going to be easy and Eliza hits a brick wall whichever way she turns.
As time passes, Eliza falls deeply in love with Julia and her feelings are reciprocated. Even Eliza’s mother, Helena, approves of their friendship. But there are some who will stop at nothing to tear them apart.
Will Eliza be able to solve the mystery surrounding Julia? Or will she be putting their lives and the lives of her friends in danger?
This is Gaelle Cathy’s debut book. The book is nicely written and has an underlying mystery running through it and lots of twists and turns, making it a fast paced page turner.
The two main characters, Eliza and Julia, are both multidimensional and have a wealth of lesser characters, friends, family and enemies integrating with them and progressing the story forwards all the way through.
Eliza is the strongest of the two main characters. We read of how she evolves from a drug taking troublesome teen, into a caring, hard working and tender, but feisty young woman. We also read of how Julia the weaker character, slowly comes out of her shell with Eliza’s guidance. It’s lovely to see her gradually begin to smile and become comfortable around people and to gain confidence in herself.
Julia is a confused teenager, she has no idea of what she wants, or really who she is. Eliza never pushes Julia, but gently encourages her to be her own person. She shows her she is worthwhile and loveable. Julia meanwhile, is instrumental in helping Eliza to keep up with her studies and away from drugs. So, they both help and compliment each other.
When Eliza and Julia eventually do get together and make love, it is totally mutual, no question of Julia being forced into anything she doesn’t want. I just wanted to make that clear in case anyone thinks that sixteen is too young and Julia had been unduly influenced. There is a slow burning, intense, beautiful romance and tender love between Eliza and Julia. The book is worth reading for this alone.
The one criticism I have of this book, is the way Eliza’s thoughts are written interspersed throughout the book. There is lots of information in them, so the information has to get there somehow, but I feel it should have been integrated into the story differently, which would have made the story less choppy and a much smoother read. There were a few typos, but the price is ridiculously cheap and the book is lengthy, so it’s easy to forgive them.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be looking out for anything Gaelle Cathy writes in the future.