When Civil War veteran and hero Christian Marshall attempts to aid a mysterious young woman escaping a New York City asylum, he is reminded that good intentions count for nothing and painful memories are best drown in a good bottle of whiskey and the arms of a whore. Jenny Holland discovers the respite and refuge she needs at Marshall House. To remain in this sanctuary and protect her life-and-death secrets, she must make herself necessary to its master. But serving at the will and pleasure of such a dark and dangerous man might not be enough, and her attempts to heal his wounds will expose her own.
Special Author's Cut Edition
Previously Titled: Midnight Princess
Okay, this book is absolutely amazing and it is intense - or should I say that it's amazingly intense? Actually, what can you say about a book that has you sitting in a hot car on a sunny day in front of the supermarket just because you absolutely have to know what happens and you can't wait the five minutes it would take to drive home? Well, I guess this says a lot about a book, doesn't it?
This book is raw, it is emotional, it is violent, it is shocking and it keeps you on your toes. From the first page on, I couldn't put the book down.
Usually when it comes to violence against women, I don't deal well with that. I have a big problem considering rape or “forceful persuasion” as something even remotely romantic and I must admit that I end up hating the character who commits this crime. In this case though, each of the violent acts (never a “full rape though) committed is still despicable and something that I condemn, but it is also something that you can understand when you look at the personality of the characters involved.
The hero and the heroine are both very troubled characters and instead of driving them apart even the violence is something that builds trust and brings them closer to each other. Christian, our rather un-heroic hero, has been fighting his demons ever since he saw his brother die in battle and got badly wounded himself. As the last remaining member of his family he feels guilty and tries to drown his sorrows in alcohol in a straight race to the bottom. Jenny on the other hand struggles with the memories of the horrible treatment she had to endure before Christian and Scott Turner, his friend rescued her from the lunatic ward of the Jennings hospital where she had been held captive. Slowly, very slowly Christian and Jenny find a way to help each other. It is a rocky road, never straight and definitely never easy and there were times when I was just shocked, I cried, I was upset, I hated and I tried to never give up hope that everything would end well. Especially in the end it wasn't easy to trust in a happy end - which was the reason why I found myself reading in my car in the parking lot in front of a supermarket on a sunny day.
This book is not for the faint of heart because some things are really hard even when you're just reading about them. The moment you realize, that things like the treatment at the lunatic ward were reality in those times - well that's the stuff nightmares are made of! And again, as usual, it is disturbing to see how little protection women head in those times. No matter what happened, there was little-to-no legal protection when the male members of their family or their husband treated them badly or tried to get rid of them.
Even though all this sounds rather dark I really really love this book and I know that this may have been the first time I've read it but definitely not the last! The amazing, well developed and multi-layered characters and a well written, gripping story guarantee that.
*I received a copy of this book from eBook Discovery in exchange for my honest review.*