Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Lily Brand - Sandra Schwab
Forever Marked: Troy Sacheverell, fifth earl of Ravenhurst, was captured in France. He'd gone to fight Napoleon, but what he found was much more sinister. Dragged from prison to an old French manor on the outskirts of civilization, he was purchased by a rich and twisted beauty. And more dangerous still was the stepdaughter who claimed him.
Lillian had not chosen to live with Camille, her stepmother, but none escaped the Black Widow's web. And on her nineteenth birthday, Lillian became Camille's heir. Her gift was a plaything: a man to end her naiveté, whose face and body were made for the boudoir. Yet even as Lillian did as she was told, marked that beautiful flesh and branded it with the flower of her name, all she desired was escape. In another place, in another world, she'd desired love. Now, looking into burning blue eyes, there was no place to run. No matter should she flee, no matter where she might go, she and this man were prisoners of passion, inextricably linked by the Lily Brand
So while her heart remains locked in ice, his burns with hate. Will they ever find true happiness?
Well, I recently read a medieval noir and this story is definitely a regency noir full of emotional angst!
We know from the beginning that Lily and Troy are both victims of the Black Widow. In different ways both will be scarred forever by Camille and her actions. Lily has lived with her since her father died and dreams of running away and leaving the castle where her stepmother subjugates men through pain, she is a sadomasochist, making them her personal sexual slaves. Troy is the latest to be brought to the castle and is intended as a plaything for Lily. Wanting the girl to follow in her footsteps Camille punishes Troy when he doesn't obey her and gives him to Lily to walk in the garden on a leash.
But soon Lily has the opportunity of escaping and takes Troy with her so he wont be blamed after her disappearance. On the outside she leaves him in the forest and proceeds to where her old nurse is waiting for her to take her to her grandfather in England.
As soon as Lily is presented in society it is only a matter of time till she meets Troy. She doesn't know it but we do and Schwab keeps us waiting in anticipation for their confrontation. While Lily has become an ice maiden trying to forget all that happened to her Troy burns with a rage that finds its mark in Lily. When they finally meet it is violent and painful.
Society being what it is they end up marrying and Troy takes Lily to the country where for while they mostly live separate lives. She believes he is entitled to hate her and does nothing to make him believe otherwise and it will take a long while for him to start seeing her as a human being and not just a heartless bitch. One may wonder why Troy doesn't decide to punish Camille instead of Lily, or at least both of them, but I thought he probably spent more time alone with her and she was present in every punishment he took so when he saw her she was the main focus of his rage, the woman who branded him.