Colin is the fourth Eversea son and has always longed for his place under the sun. He's restless and eager for adventure -- but adventure inevitably leads to trouble for Colin. Catlike in his ability to always land on his feet, Colin suddenly finds himself framed and convicted of a murder he did not commit.
He has always had someone to rescue him -- or he manages to find a way out of his scrapes. But it surprises even him when he is saved from the hangman's noose just minutes before he is scheduled to hang from it.
And it surprises him even more when he discovers who was behind the daring escape.
Colin needs to prove his innocence and to prove his worth to Louisa -- a girl from Pennyroyal Green whom he has loved for as long as he could remember. But Louisa is scheduled to marry his brother Marcus -- which makes Colin's quest all the more urgent.
Colin persuades Madeleine to help him, promising her more than her original fee if she could get him back to his family in time.
They follow the trail of clues and discover that blackmail and the Mercury Club is involved.
Madeleine Greenway still feels the weight of the loss of her family and her life five years ago and yearns to find that happiness again -- hoping that America would be the answer. Her job to rescue Colin would have been the last of that sort of work that she does and she would have had enough to start her new life.
But the plan goes awry when her safehouse is compromised and she gets shot at. Proud of her ability to always know what to do and to always have a plan, she finds herself without one -- and so she must trust Colin to find a way for them.
A haven is something that has eluded Colin and Madeleine --
Colin believes that Louisa would provide him with the peace that he needs. And for Madeleine, dreams of a farm and a new life in America have kept her afloat and alive for the last 5 years.
Colin never expected to fall in love with Madeleine. He believed that he had given his heart many years ago to Louisa -- but he discovers that love comes in many forms and degrees --
What I loved about this story is how Julie Anne Long presents the dichotomy of the many aspects of life -- innocence and guilt, need and greed, intent and outcome, etc.
There is a thoughtfulness to Long's writing -- and a deliberateness. The conversation between the doctor and Colin was wonderfully executed and reflective -- and shows us the complexities and the layers that we possess as human beings. To what extent do we follow our passion? And at what cost? The doctor is very clear on his goals. But what about Colin?
I also love how Long uses the small details to create a very palpable world.
At one point, Long uses the word haiku in the story -- and I will use the same word to describe her work -- in a few words and details, she captures the depth and breadth of love, desire and want so eloquently --
This story was a bit of a "coming of age" for Colin -- as he discovered clues to prove his innocence, he also discovered something of himself and what he is capable of.
The Colin at the end of the story is a man who still has a carefree and happy spirit -- but it is also clear that this one restless soul has finally settled into a haven that he has longed for.