by Jamie Heustess | 1/25/2014
" 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. She finds a scandal in the making as her cousin, Kiera, has pretended to be Lily in an effort to try saving the broken estate. The estate is sinking fast, with tenants leaving for greener pastures and the money running out quickly. "Greener pastures" is just a nicer way to contribute the decline of the land to Count Eberlin, the mysterious nobleman that has recently taken over Tiber Park. Little does Lily know, her painful childhood is coming to the surface to be dealt with. After her testimony condemns 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 returns to the estate which brought such turmoil to her because 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! Lord Eberlin believes that his childhood friend deserves total ruination for the pain and suffering that occurred after his fathers' death. He has built himself into a powerful lord, albeit a bought title, but a wealthy and successful man none the less. His proposition for saving Ashwood is simple, either Lily can submit to him bodily or the estate will be completely ruined!
This was a great read. I am many times 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 these things. The basis of this story is, as I see it, is of returning home to reconcile the past. To me, these characters reached out and grabbed me! 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. Enter Tobin, Lord Eberlin. A man who has brought his niece, sister, and himself up from the depths of poverty to live among the upper echelon of society. He has used Lily as the drive behind his betterment of self. Another wounded soul, he is racked with pain and rage at the stunning Lady of Ashwood, who he views as the main trigger of his familyâ€™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 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. For me, the emotional turmoil Tobin encounters 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. Lily makes a very likable character, from her want 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 Tobinâ€™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. 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 when dealing with her. Lily is like many of the young ladies I see today, trying to find their way in this world. I especially liked the fact that the unfolding of the heroâ€™s' emotions was gradual, not hurried and wham! all out there at once. Tobin was allowed to discover and grow in his new found acceptance of this person as an important aspect of his life.
"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! I would easily give it 4.5 stars. "