When Emma Stiles arrived in Haven Falls from New York, she was fortunate to find employment as a governess to twelve year old Henry Havens. Emma is to live in at the dilapidated Havenswood Plantation, home of the Havens family.
Cole Havens, his sister Jane and Henry are all offspring of the late Colonel Vincent Havens, a civil war hero. Cole has neither the money or the enthusiasm to restore Havenswood back to it’s former beauty. Most of his days are spent drinking himself into oblivion. As a consequence, Henry has been allowed to run wild. Hence the decision to employ a governess.
Jane Havens is the mistress of Havenswood. She’s a light hearted, but lonely young woman. She does her best to keep things running on an even keel, but it’s not easy when she has no backing from Cole. She loves her family, but she is restless.
When Emma and Jane meet, Jane is immediately smitten with the beautiful Emma. It transpires the feeling is mutual. It’s not long before they are both head over heels in love and begin a passionate affair.
However, Emma is hiding a deep, dark and terrible secret. A secret so awful, that it may well be the demise of Emma and others alongside of her.
It isn’t long before strange things begin to happen in the Havens household. The blame is being laid at Emma’s door by some. Jane, of course, won’t hear one word said against her. Is Jane right though? Should she be siding with a virtual stranger? A stranger she doesn’t really know very well.
The Havens family are about to have their closets thrown wide open and all their family skeletons come tumbling out. Secrets hidden for years may well destroy the Havens family in it’s entirety. But even this doesn’t compare to what Emma is hiding.
What is Emma’s dark secret? Will the all consuming passionate love Emma and Jane share be enough when Emma’s secret is finally exposed? Or will the Havens family have been destroyed?
This is Patty G Henderson’s third gothic historical romance. It is in my honest opinion, the best she’s written yet. This is a book that once started I couldn’t put down. I found myself tearing through the pages in order to see which direction the story was going to take and how it was going to end. There are lots of twists and turns throughout. Just when I thought I’d figured out the plot, so it veered off in another direction. Because I read this so quickly in my haste to find out what happened, I had to start it all over again when I’d finished to do this book the justice it deserves.
The two main characters, Emma and Jane, are as different as night and day. Jane is light hearted, Emma carries within her the darkness thrust upon her by the actions of others. However, the two women compliment each other. They are both multidimensional and their interactions are like watching a synchronized dance. They simply flow together. The other characters are all essential in the progression of the story.
As the story unfolded, I began to realize that it wasn’t going to be a simple straight forward gothic historical romance. Oh no, it’s much, much more. I’m not at liberty to put in anything that would possible spoil this for you, but please do look for the message here that Patty G Henderson is telling us.
From the scenic descriptions I was able to totally immerse myself in this story. The dark and brooding run down plantation house, the surrounding fields and forests, the smell of the wisteria, all had me transported back in time.
The love story told between Emma and Jane is deep and profound, with some rather hot scenes added in for good measure. All tastefully written, of course. This is a first for Patty, she’s never before ventured into writing love scenes. Now she’s shown us how good she is at writing such titillating romantic hot sexy scenes, I’m hoping she will do it more often.
This is without a doubt, the best gothic historical romance book I’ve read to date. I’m hoping there will be many more books from Patty G Henderson in the very near future.