HE REVENGE OF LORD EBERLIN – Julia London
Secrets of Hadley Green, Book 2
West Sussex, England – 1808
In the town of Hadley Green, master woodcarver Joseph Scott was hung for theft of the Countess of Ashwood's jewelry. His family moved to London where his wife soon died and his younger son shortly after. Tobin, thirteen, managed to get his sister Charity, eleven, into service in a household before he set out to find work on the docks. Tobin was beaten, robbed, and Shanghaied onto a ship. Through sheer hard work, determination, and perhaps a little luck, Tobin built a fortune shipping and trading guns and bought himself a Danish title. Now he's back . . .
With Charity and her daughter settled in his Mayfair townhouse, the new Lord Eberlin is ready for revenge, his main goal is the destruction of Ashwood and the ruin of Lily Boudine, the young girl whose testimony convicted his father. The former Earl and Countess of Ashwood are gone without direct heirs, and guess who now owns Ashwood and the ancient title? Through an unusual entail created by King Henry VIII when he created the earldom, Lily Boudine is the new Countess of Ashwood.
Lily struggles to save the impoverished estate and its dependents. She not only must fight her new neighbor, Count Eberlin, who bought the nearby Tiber Park and is determined to destroy her and Ashwood, but she's bent on finding the jewelry that Joseph Scott was hung for stealing.
Neither Tobin nor Lily finds a warm welcome to the neighborhood. His family history is against Tobin, and Lily must overcome prejudice caused by her cousin Keira who pretended to be Lily while she was abroad. Tobin begins to win over the locals with his generosity, but he lures away Ashwood tenants, sues for and wins 100 acres from the Ashwood estate, and otherwise sabotages its income. Lily and Tobin were once childhood friends, and as they engage in battle, they do not remain unaffected by their former liking for each other.
The plotlines and relationships in THE REVENGE OF LORD EBERLIN are highly complex. Tobin, especially, is a man damaged by his past; his hatred and need for revenge have set up a war within his soul that physically manifests itself in an occasional awkward spell. Being back at Ashwood and seeing Tobin begins to bring about memories in Lily that have her examining her previous belief in Joseph's guilt. Lily is not one to sit placidly by when there are mysteries to solve. Watch out world as Lily begins a crusade for the truth, and Tobin struggles for acceptance for himself and his sister and niece.
THE REVENGE OF LORD EBERLIN can be read alone, but some of the minor characters obviously have stories of their own. Even the author recommends reading the first book in the Hadley Green series (THE YEAR OF LIVING SCANDALOUSLY) to prepare for THE REVENGE OF LORD EBERLIN. Once you finish this novel, you will be more than ready for its sequel, THE SEDUCTION OF LADY X, coming in late March. There is also an e-novella out now called THE CHRISTMAS SECRET. As far as I can tell, it's connected but not necessarily vital to the series.
THE REVENGE OF LORD EBERLIN is an emotional and passionate rollercoaster of a story, though it has some tender moments. If you like to get deep into your characters, this book is for you.