Drawn by desire, Elliot and Evangeline discover a powerful love neither thought possible. But malevolent forces surround them, and soon their secrets will be exposed and their hearts tested to unthinkable limits. Only if they can forgive the past will they have a future....
Comment: This book has gotten in my radar once because somehow I got in my head the hero would love the people that helped him one rainy night so much, he wouldn't be able to forget them and a new life for all would suit. Te reality isn't far from this, but the details surely changed my expectations enough to make this a good read but not as sweet and perfect as I wanted.
This is the story of Elliot Armstrong, a true rake that going after his loud and determined mistress to end things with her, gets lost and is indeed rescued by a family living in an estate far away enough from the other villages that Elliot doesn't know anyone and vice-versa. He is rescued, fed and allowed to spend the night and the group of people he meets seems such a world apart from the cynic and automatic behavior of the ton, he is immediately charmed. Evangeline, the young but apparent head of the family is very different from all the other women he knows and he starts to fall a little bit in love for her. In the following weeks he finds excuses to return, namely the commission of a portrait but their lives are closer than he ever imagined and soon too many secrets and decisions have to be revealed and done...
I liked this book, to be honest. For the most part, it was quite interesting to follow and I was curious more often than not but some scenes or parts of the book didn't seem to matter as much and I was also slightly bored here and there. The plot is complex, many people and actions to weight in and move forward, but in some parts things were - in my opinion - unnecessarily too long and dragged in...at least to the point I did stop reading and did other things. If you don't have an urgency to keep reading all the time, then there's something about the book that isn't perfect, whether the theme is difficult or the writing not always inviting.
The plot has a lot of things going on. Too many details and connections. I get the idea, the author really thought about all the things in there and how the characters would be linked so everything could make sense, but the development is quite lengthy and often I think some things could have been told with less time or passages. I don't think that would ruin the mood or atmosphere the author intended. I wouldn't go as far as to say less 100 pages would have been fine, but a few less detailing and showing of all little action wouldn't make this different from what it is.
The story didn't go the way I imagined based on the beginning and what I've read...I thought this would be a sweeter story, more focused on the good things, practical ones... but there were too many things to pay attention to and some of them weren't all that interesting for me and, after thinking about it, for the plot either.
The main characters, Elliott and Evangeline, are good together, each brings the good and passionate out of the other, but apart things are more clearly different. Obviously, Evangeline is sweet and practical but Elliott, for such a intelligent man (aren't all protagonists supposed to be like this?), surely does things and tells others to do them as well, that not only are wrong according to decent notions, but not always have a need to be done, I mean, if you are so smart and strong and independent and want to prove others whatever, why would you be mean and act like you have no friends or need them? I get it, yes, there's a certain dark cloud over Elliott because of several things, but isn't he supposed to be better on his own and not just because of the heroine? Eventually this happens but only closer to the end, I think it would have been a better "lesson" if he were to make small changes sooner...
As for their romance, of course it's quite interesting, I liked the sexual tension between them, I liked it wasn't insta-love, I liked they took time to think and fee before acting on their feelings but Elliott isn't the type of hero I prefer...somehow he didn't really connect with my expectation of him.
Still, of course I liked they found their HEA.
The secondary characters are good enough for to be honest some of them are there just to add numbers. The connection between the family is important, we do see it and Elliott does interact with some of them as well, which is great, so in a way, this is one of the best parts of the book. But the other characters outside the welcoming family often have behaviors I didn't really follow, like there was a purpose on the secrecy of some things they did, but I wasn't much interested in it and when all was revealed and solved I wasn't concerned about those things.
All in all, this was a good enough story, had good parts but some other things weren't as thrilling as I hoped and that sort of affected my will to read and my final enjoyment of the whole book.