In nineteenth century England, Hannah masquerades herself as a lowly whore to get revenge on the man who betrayed her. But that man, Sebastian, is broken and blind, living in a gloomy manor in the moors. What purpose does revenge serve against a man already beaten down?
The author, Evie North, has done a fine job in describing an historical setting far out on the moors of Yorkshire. The background serves the story, giving us subtle details of the era, the country, and even the weather, without suffocating the plot or overwhelming the characters.
Hannah is a wonderful character. She’s smart, strong, and driven. Plus, she embraces her feelings, in good and bad. On the one hand she seeks vengeance over the wrongs done to her, but on the other she feels a strong bond to the fallen hero, Sebastian. At one time they were intimately close and spoke vows of forever. Then tragedy struck, and both were cast into the wind, to try and find a place in a cold, cruel world, but are unable to shake the ghosts of the past.
We get varying points of view, one chapter at a time. Sometimes the points of view mix unexpectedly, which distracted me at times. Nonetheless, the narrative was alluring, and I turned pages onward to learn more. Sebastian’s cold, reserved nature serves as an intriguing counter balance to Hannah’s fiery fury. In fact, they seem well suited for one another.
The content of the story is more than laced with erotic interludes. The plot is filled with sensual scenes, as befits a man wanting to bed a ghost from the past and a woman pretending to be a whore. As the past events slowly unravel, we learn how things became the way they are today. That slow progression was done well, one piece at a time in the puzzle.
The writing is extremely sensuous, and I found every scene to serve a purpose. This wasn’t sex for the sake of sex alone. Each moment moved the plot forward, as the past became the present. I find North’s writing quite able and descriptive in the right places.
Without revealing the ending as a spoiler, I will nonetheless say that the overly rosy and sugary ending spoiled some of the enjoyment of the story. The leap from utter misery to perfect happiness just didn’t ring true. A woman’s worth seemed lessened by the physical change, and you’ll understand that reference once you read the last few plot twists.
Overall, this is a definitely worthwhile read. If you enjoy tortured heroes and the women who heal them with tempests and fury, you’ll love this. For the sensual scenes alone, this piece of historical erotica will titillate you from beginning to end.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.