What a surprising gem this book turned out to be. It wrapped me up from the very beginning and I didn't want to put it down until it was over.
At just 18, Serena Donovan fell in love during her first season in London. But Jonathan was above her station. When the two of them were caught in the midst of a tryst, she was ruined in the eyes of society. And Jonathan turned his back on her. She was forced to set sail for her home in Anguila, with her twin sister Meg at her side. During a storm at sea, Meg went overboard and was never found.
Six years later, Serena discovers that her mother informed London society that it was she, not her sister, who died in that tragic accident. What's more, her mother has been corresponding with Will, the man Meg had been in love with. Will has believed he has been writing to Meg all this time and has now asked her to return to London to wed. Serena's mother insists that Serena go in Meg's place. If she marries Will, she can restore honor to the family and help finance a future for her younger sisters.
When Serena arrives in London, she comes face to face with Jonathan again. He's the only one who seems to recognize her for who she really is. Of course, this takes time to come out in the open. In the interim, Serena does her best to stay away from the man who broke her heart so completely all those years ago. But it's a losing battle.
There was so much raw emotion in this book. Serena's anguish over her past is palpable. She is such a sympathetic character, because you can see how trusting and in love she once was. Her shattered self esteem is crushed even more as she is forced to sublimate herself to take on her "good" sister's persona. But she does it for her family... for her remaining sisters who would have no future otherwise. She struggles with the lies she must tell and fights her own heart to stay away from Jonathan... even after he reveals that he knows who she is. And even though it would be easy to hate Jonathan for all he put Serena through, you can see the depth of his grief at her loss --and the honesty in his love for her now.
It was really very good and makes me want to find more from Jennifer Haymore. Almost 5 stars.*ARC Provided by NetGalley