How can he get the justice he seeks and protect the woman who has become his wife? This is Justain’s struggle.
Madeline St. James is the daughter of a duke and is escaping an unwanted suitor. She decided to go to her aunt. At an inn, she has her money stolen and she meets Justain. When he assists her, she is in his carriage and shots are fired. The carriage crashes and it becomes a life and death struggle until they are found. Madeline is shot in the leg and as the earl and Madeline were in a cave alone, it means they must marry. Madeline struggles to understand where she stands with Justain as he seems to be the kind, caring man she desires and a hard-hearted man who does not stand for anything getting in his way.
Justain Delveaux, Earl of Devonshire, is trying to find one man. Justain was the second son but on the death of his brother, he has become the earl. He is at the inn as he received a message that Barrow, the man he is seeking, is there. Instead, he rescues Madeline from a thief and then from a carriage accident. Justain is obsessed with finding Barrow but he does have good reason. Barrow has committed serial crimes such as exploiting children, arson and the murder of his brother. He does the correct thing in marrying Madeline but at times has little patience with her.
The newly married pair visit her family home. It is there Madeline has to face her nasty step-mother who is not a very nice person and treats others abominably. Although this wasn’t stated explicitly in the story I think she wanted control over her step-daughter by marrying her to her (step-mother’s) brother or her nephew both who are nasty and unworthy males. Madeline loves her father and is able to spend some time with him before he dies. The truth of the Duke’s death also comes out.
Justain really swings between his obsession with capturing Barrow and trying to be seen as the man who really cares about Madeline. He has also turned his back on his faith much to Madeline’s despair. It is not until he comes to realise the carriage accident was directed at Madeline that he has his revelation. He decides that he will leave Barrow to others and just make Madeline his true heart’s desire. Madeline has strength in her beliefs. She also believes that no one can meet their maker until he or she has made their peace with God. She believes her father died without doing so and this causes her much distress as does her husband’s lack of faith. While this is an inspirational story, the reader will not be overwhelmed by the Bible references but these references do give a good indication of the depth of faith of Madeline and those around her.
I liked this story.