Maria Ashton & Trey Hawthorne, Duke of Salterdon
USA Today bestselling author Katherine Sutcliffe sweeps fans away to the passionate affair she began in Devotion, as one man's search for his lost love leads him to the heights of OBSESSION.
Trey Hawthorne, the Duke of Salterdon, once had a reputation that would humble the Marquis de Sade. Then he found his heart's desire in gentle, innocent Maria Ashton, whose healing touch ignited a forbidden passion between the noble duke and the lowborn vicar's daughter. Defying his family, Hawthorne intended to wed Maria -- but she mysteriously vanished before he could take her as his bride. After tirelessly searching for her for months, Trey gave up hope and reverted to his former wicked ways.Now, chance has led Trey to his beloved at last -- but the devastating truth behind her disappearance might prove more than he can bear. As he fights to rescue his beautiful Maria from a life of torment, Trey wonders if in saving her, he will also finally save himself -- or if the fight will cost him everything....
This was a very interesting read. I wouldn’t consider it a romance. In fact, this book is probably the most unromantic romance I’ve read, even though it is about the hero and heroine – and their feelings. The closest way for me to describe this story would to call it a “gothic romance-esque story.”
It also didn’t help that this is a continuation of a story started in the first book, Devotion. This is what I get for randomly picking out authors.
In brief, the book starts out with a marriage scene in which Trey is preparing to marry a rich widow because he’s in dire need of money. He’s also really cynical, bitter, and jaded – he’s lost his love three and a half years before. It was a love that reached the bottom of his heart; when Maria disappeared, he spent six months straight searching for her and was crushed when he receives a note stating that she is married to another. So he spends the next three years whoring, gambling, and drinking.
The marriage he’s to have with Edwina, the wealthy but promiscuous widow, is a marriage of convenience: he needs her money, she needs a father for the babe in her womb.
However, as they’re about to wed, the whereabouts of Maria is revealed and he finds out that his evil grandmother had Maria locked away in an insane asylum because of Maria’s social status (she’s the daughter of a poor peasant or some low class worker). When Trey finds her, she’s insane.
And for three hundred pages, we witness Maria’s insanity and Trey’s meanness as he copes with what has happened to her because of him. It’s gloomy. It’s dark. It’s depressing. But you keep reading because you’re hoping it gets better.
Then Trey discovers that when Maria was sent away by his grandmother, she was pregnant – and that the baby was taken away from her after she gave birth to it in the asylum.
When Maria finally regains her sanity, she hates Trey for everything that’s happened to her because of him and the misunderstandings that are between them, thanks to the evil grandmother.
This story is gloomy. It’s dark. It’s depressing. It drags on, telling us in great detail of how much Trey drinks, how insane Maria is, how conniving the grandmother is… it’s very Wuthering Heights-esque. It’s also unique in that the story is told from Trey’s point of view (a first person point-of-view from a male’s perspective.)
I think I would have liked this story more if I’d read Devotion. Because I didn’t, I can only guess at how much Trey loved Maria and I can only guess at what happened before to cause this situation.
The story, on its own, is a little slow… and depressing. (have I mentioned that before?) And I felt a little betrayed when Maria and Trey experience their happiness for like… three pages at the very end. I thought, “What the monkey?! I spent three hundred thirty-something pages reading about this depressing crap and I’m rewarded with a measly three pages of happiness?!”
With that said, I’ll most likely read the first book to experience the “full scope” of their love.
But I’ll give Ms. Sutcliffe credit and say that this is a very creative, unique story – in style of writing, in the presentation of the plot, and even the characters.
(In case you're wondering, I absolutely love Wuthering Heights, which is why I didn't hate this book.)