Julia was left with her virtue intact but her reputation in tatters. Her life became a struggle to defend herself against gentlemen who henceforth considered her easy prey.
By now, Julia knew better than to trust any man, even when that man was the overwhelmingly attractive Lord Nicholas Daventry, Robin's own uncle. But if Julia had learned how dangerous blissful ignorance was in matters of the heart, she had yet to discover what folly it was to be too wise...
I have really enjoyed some of Layton's books that I have enjoyed in the past so I'm always looking forward to find more. This one didn't quite match my expectations though.
The opening scene is Julia's elopement and the author does make it sound like there is a big mystery surrounding the groom's actions but in the end they were not that mysterious. The action then jumps to a few years afterwards. Julia's reputation suffered, she had to go away and find employment so that her sisters wouldn't suffer from her bad behaviour and she is now working as a governess but thinking of leaving her post.
That's when Nicholas Daventry makes his appearance. He is the uncle of Julia's potential groom in her botched elopement and he seems to believe that Julia was the one who left his nephew and treated him badly when the opposite was true. He is looking for his nephew and came up with a plan to take Julia with him to make the young man happy. We can immediately see that the young man must be an immature idiot who concocted a story to keep his uncle at bay. That he did it by harming Julia once doesn't seem to matter much.
I really didn't like Nicholas Daventry. He is arrogant and domineering; he forces Julia to go with him through a mad and a bit too convoluted scheme and eventually becomes violent when provoked. Even without that I just couldn't believe that taking Julia would be a guarantee that he would find his nephew so I thought it all a bit exaggerated. Since he was a disagreeable character I also couldn't understand how Julia kept giving him the benefit of the doubt or why she kept feeling attracted to him.
They do spend quite some time together till they find Daventry's idiot nephew but I never could overcome my initial dislike of the hero enough to be happy for them. I did like Julia but in my opinion she was too good for that hero. Daventry's stepfather sounded like an intriguing character and I wonder if he has his own book...