"New York City, 1897
She came to America searching for her brother. Instead all she's found is a web of danger.
Cara Hamilton had thought her brother to be dead. Now, clutching his letter, she leaves Ireland for America, desperate to find him. Her search leads her to a houseful of curious strangers, and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh. Despite her brother's warning, Cara trusts Rourke, revealing her purpose in coming to New York.
She's then thrust into a world of subterfuge, veiled threats, and attempted murder, including political revolutionaries from the homeland out for revenge. Her questions guide her ever nearer to locating her brother--but they also bring her closer to destruction as those who want to kill him track her footsteps.
With her faith in tatters, all hope flees. Will her brother finally surface? Can he save Cara from the truth about Rourke... a man she's grown to love?"
Ludwig pulls off this combination of "historical romance" and "romantic suspense" genres well with an atmospheric story that pulls you into the dark, stormy streets of New York, a boarding house harboring secrets and emotional battles waiting to happen, and in and out of alleyways and warehouses and secret meetings. The suspense is well-crafted, and the danger and high emotion involved add up to some great romantic tension. All of the different perspectives and the continuously raised stakes make this quite the intriguing read.
I confess that the back story - a crucial piece of the puzzle and the answer to the question of motives (for most of the characters) - never fully came together for me. Perhaps it was all those different perspectives... Perhaps it was that I read through it too fast without taking the time to really connect all the pieces in my mind. Whatever the reason, I personally was confused by what exactly happened (and why it happened) during that fateful event that led to all of these misunderstandings and bad feelings - and how each character was connected to each other.
I was also left a little unsatisfied with some "loose threads" (at least to my thinking) left in the end. Some things could be left for the continuation of the series, if each book builds on the next...or not. I guess that remains to be seen! The ending is still quite satisfactory, just not completely "finished" in its explanations as I saw it.
All of that being said, this really is an enjoyable story, especially if you like unique romantic suspense. The setting is just right for such a story - plenty of twists and turns in the city and in the plot. From Cara's first glimpse of America, this is a story filled with uncertainty and mystery. The cover sets the mood well: be prepared for suspicion, foggy feelings, and a handsome man with lots to hide - as well as a light found in love that penetrates the darkness.
*With thanks to the author and publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*