A wounded Scottish captain devises a plan to discover the traitor who caused the deaths of his men, driving him undercover and forcing him to deceive and possibly endanger the vulnerable woman he’s falling in love with.
When a Sikh soldier saves Jack Cameron and alerts him to the existence of a conspirator working with the Sudanese slavers the English are trying to vanquish in late Victorian North Africa, Jack gives the man a deathbed promise to avenge him by discovering the truth and the betrayer. Gravely wounded soon after, Jack winds up on his uncle’s Sussex estate to heal, and as he convalesces, he discovers that popular artist Theodore Phyfe is using the terrace beneath his window to paint the landscape. Ted is often accompanied by his sister, widow Addie Hoodless, and the two siblings are unaware that they have a silent witness to their intimate conversations; Jack discovers many of Addie’s secrets, including that her officer husband abused her. Jack becomes fascinated by Addie, but when he learns that her brother has been commissioned to paint portraits of the Black Dragoons’ senior officers, he insinuates himself into Ted and Addie’s circle of friends to gain access to the artist's studio, hoping to discover something from his proximity to the officers, since he believes one of them to be the traitor. But as his investigation proceeds, he discovers damning evidence regarding Addie’s deceased husband and at the same time falls hopelessly in love with her under false pretenses. There are no easy answers regarding their complicated relationship and too many easy answers regarding Hoodless’ guilt. Convinced someone else was the true villain, Jack is under pressure to wrap things up and lay the blame at Hoodless’ feet, which would ruin Addie socially and destroy any chance for a future together. Brockway’s newest title highlights the author’s finesse with complicated plots and emotional minefields, and in Addie, we root for a vulnerable heroine regaining her spirit through the help of a special hero.
A smart, captivating romance that is both charming and intense.