Maximillian Burke, Earl of Dravenwood and heir to a dukedom, finally stopped being cordial after being left at the altar by the woman he's loved for most of his life, who had in turn married his younger brother. Ever a danger to himself and others, Max decides his dark moods would be better endured in his most remote holding, Cadgwyck Manor. Nothing, however, would have prepared him for this crumbling, haunted (literally and figuratively) place, meeting his soul mate in a seemingly ironclad housekeeper, almost getting killed twice, and an infatuation with a ghost - Angelica Cadgwyck.
Anne Spencer, housekeeper of Cadgwyck Manor, has a good reason to chase out this new master. Before Max arrived, she had already prepared her bevy of servants to displease him, all the while using the ghost legend to drive him out. After all, the previous owners have either fled in horror or met untimely deaths, so how hard could this one be?
Anne and Max are both wonderfully complex characters who have their own ghosts to chase, yet find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other. I greatly sympathize with Max, who has been unable to accept the loss of his fiancee for a long time and could not stop the feelings of destruction within him. Anne tries to repent for her past mistake by erasing all pleasure from her life, giving all the care and comfort to her family of servants. For these two, finding a forgiveness in each other and a light to replace past hurts became their guiding love.
Teresa Medeiros's lyrical prose and superb description of scenery details fully captures the wild beauty of a haunted castle by the cliffs, adding a flavor of intrigue, suspense, and ultimately love, to Max and Anne's adventures. As the characters get to know each other, the hidden truth comes out of the past to a tumbling and happy conclusion for the couple. The only issue I have with this is in the rather abrupt ending, where there were several unresolved issues that would have been crucial given Max's circumstances, and his laconic explanation of his love. However, this would not deter any reader from enjoying this wonderfully crafted story, and I highly recommend all gothic lovers to try this book.
*Posted on The Romance Reviews