The Revenge of Lord Eberlin
by Julia London
Another great read from Julia London. The second book in the "Secrets of Hadley Green" series does not disappoint. The Revenge of Lord Eberlin picks up shortly after Miss Lily Boudine has returned from Europe to settle into her newly inherited title of Lady Ashwood. Lily finds a scandal in the making as her cousin, Kiera, has pretended to be Lily in an effort to try to save the broken estate. The estate is sinking fast, with tenants leaving for greener pastures and the money running out quickly. The "greener pastures" being the estate of Count Eberlin, the mysterious nobleman that has recently taken over neighboring Tiber Park.
Lily's painful childhood is coming back to haunt her and has to be dealt with. After her testimony condemned a possibly innocent man to die for theft of the rare Ashwood jewels, the eight year old was forced to move to Ireland with her cousins. Lily only returned to the estate which brought such turmoil to her out of a sense of obligation. She soon finds out that the curious Lord Eberlin is really the son of the man she condemned, and he is bent on revenge.
Lily is a tortured, guilty soul, who has been haunted by her recollections of life at Ashwood. She is a strong woman, full of emotion and love, but someone who is distinctly vulnerable. A very self-assured, sassy female, she knows what she wants, and is not afraid to use some subtle manipulation to get it. Lily makes a very likable character, with her wanting to fit in with local society, to finding that one person who makes a love that is enduring. At times her manipulations and endless questions (does that count as harping?) regarding Tobin's remembrances of long ago events made my teeth grind. She was relentless in her pursuit of information, and because of this was not always aware of the hurt her information gathering was causing. Lily remained strong through all her tribulations, but I was overall impressed with her dealings with Tobin's sister, a person full of resentment and hate directed solely at Lily. She showed great restraint, class even, when faced with direct scorn and venom.
Lord Eberlin truly believes that his childhood friend deserves total ruination for the pain and suffering that occurred after his father's death. He has built himself into a powerful lord, albeit with a bought title, but a wealthy and successful man nonetheless. His proposition for saving Ashwood is simple: either Lily can submit to him bodily or the estate will be completely ruined.
Tobin brought his niece, sister, and himself up from the depths of poverty to live among the upper echelons of society. He has used Lily as the drive behind his betterment of self. Tobin is a man racked with pain and rage at the stunning Lady of Ashwood, whom he views as the cause of his family's demise. He has strength of will that keeps him from feeling his emotions, effectively shutting them off because he cannot process them. It is obvious to the reader that these two need each other; their hurt and redemption lie solely within each other.
Both are reliant on the other for not only the means to make Ashwood profitable, but also to heal the hurt and damage of years past. The emotional turmoil Tobin encounters in trying to come to terms with a dark childhood and his growing feelings of attraction to Lily touched me. Ms. London did a fantastic job of showing his vulnerability and pain, not to mention the grief that still controls him. The descriptions of what can only be described as anxiety attacks truly made me feel as if I was in his position and experiencing them as well.
This was a great read. I am often apprehensive with series: sometimes the flow is a little off, the story seems to run along the same course of action as previous titles, or the characters aren't cohesive. Lord Eberlin was none of those things. The basis of this story is, as I see it, is of returning home to reconcile the past. For me, these characters reach out and grab me. The story line was a little slow at first, but I felt it worked with the need to build a budding trust and understanding between the characters. The Revenge of Lord Eberlin was not what I expected. The raw emotions that the reader can feel pouring off the pages at times made me feel as if I was part of the story, and because of this emotional pull, I could not put this book down!
“Love and Revenge...can they mix for a happy ending?”
March 2012, 400 pages
Tobin Scott has not been back to Hadley Green since Lily Boudine's childhood testimony helped send his father to the gallows for stealing the valuable Ashwood jewels. Now a wealthy man, he intends to exact his revenge by destroying Ashwood and its lady. He offers Lily a choice between her life and the livelihoods of the people who depend on the estate. She chooses the former, certain she can hold his dangerous plans at bay.
Lily and Tobin's game of one-upmanship quickly becomes a delicate dance of seduction, and she realizes he is not the cold, heartless man he tries to seem. In fact, she is certain he is right — his father was innocent. Together, they set out to find the jewels that will restore his family's honor, and soon their unbridled passion uncovers a shocking secret that will change their lives forever.