I enjoyed this book, there are two elements of suspense in it which keep the reader mildly intrigued. I have read two previous Thornton books, neither of which I enjoyed much: The Worldly Widow, which despite numerous attempts I just couldn't get into and Scarlet Angel. This book is much better in my opinion.
A synopsis: Three daughters of an Earl, Marion, 27, Emily, 18 and 10 year old Pheobe. Their father died three years ago and the estate was entailed. It has passed to a cousin. Originally they moved into the dower house. However, that is now required by a relative of the cousin and they are homeless. Fortunately, they inherit a cottage from an Aunt, who has died in somewhat mysterious circumstances. Before she died, Edwina Gunn wrote a letter to her friend Brand Hamilton, querying the circumstances of the disappearence of her youngest sister Hannah some twenty years ago. She asks Brand to go and see her at the cottage. Unfortunately Brand does not receive the letter until some time after Edwina's death.
The three girls travel to London to stay with a cousin and enjoy the Season, before going to the cottage. There they meet Brand Hamilton. It appears that Marion is in some danger as mysterious 'accidents' keep befalling her and Brand suspects that they may be connected with the disappearance of Hannah and Edwina's letter. Marion however, thinks that the attacks are connected to a secret from her own past.
Brand appears to be paying a lot of attention to Marion and the ton begin to gossip. Brand has political aspirations and Marion suspects that marriage to an Earl's daughter would help his career. She sees herself as a spinster and has no intention of marrying.
Brand, a self-made man, is the illigitimate son of a Duke, whose house just happens to be the neighbour to the cottage that Marion has inherited. Brand's own house, which belonged to his maternal grandfather, is not far away.
So there are two mysteries to be solved, what happened to Hannah Gunn? Did she elope, or was she murdered and can Marion recall that night twenty years ago when she was seven and roaming the grounds of The Priory - what did she see? Who is trying to stop her from remembering? Secondly what is the secret from Marion's past that she is desparate to keep quiet? Are the two connected? Then of course there is the romance between Marion and Brand and also the stories of his various relatives at The Priory.