In 1849 New England a girl with a scandalous past finds herself at a crossroads.
With a mane of wild curls, unconventional beauty Valentine DeLuca lives in a dilapidated estate with her aloof father. Her mother was hanged for the murder of Nigel Blackshaw, an eminent member of her small town of Feavers Crossing. Due to a benefactor shrouded in mystery, Valentine attends the prestigious Drake Academy, where Nigel’s heir, Rowan Blackshaw, is also a student. Despite their troublesome connection, Valentine and Rowan predictably fall for each other. However, many dark secrets threaten to rip the ill-fated lovers apart. Valentine must eventually decide between a simple life with Sam, the boy next door; going on the lam with Rowan; and her own independence. Bleak, inclement Connecticut features prominently in this gothic melodrama which is refreshingly free of any paranormal content, despite its otherworldly title. An indecisive heroine, Valentine’s inability to make a decision may be polarizing; either readers will swoon as she agonizes or leave frustrated. While complications and conspiracies run rampant, the plot still feels a bit wooden, with its boilerplate love triangle, contrived plot twists, and endless descriptions of smoldering eyes and pouty mouths. Valentine and the other denizens of Feavers Crossing are white; one adult character is developmentally disabled and is treated kindly by Valentine, in contrast to the behavior of other residents.
A soapy romance mired in contrivance. (Gothic romance. 13-adult)