There are two stories happening in Julie Anne Long's Since the Surrender:
The mystery one which involves missing girls, a second-rate museum and odd paintings. Rosalind March enlists the help of Chase Eversea to discover the whereabouts of her sister, Lucy, who was arrested and taken to Newgate Prison.
There is no trace of Lucy at Newgate and no record of her name or her arrest, as though she was never there.
The only lead Rosalind and Chase have of Lucy is a painting hanging at the Montmorency whose provenance cannot be determined.
Then there is the story of Rosalind March and Chase Eversea. Who had met and fallen in love many years ago, when Rosalind was still married to Chase's commanding officer. It is many years later and Rosalind is a widow whose only recourse is an almost-lover. Chase still wants her but Rosalind is determined to keep her freedom.
Of the Pennyroyal Green titles, I thought this was the weakest. The story lacked fluidity and balance. Long focused primarily on the mystery and that was done very well. I loved the angels and puppets and the Liam's cryptic observations:
"Sometimes they go in and dinna come out. Sometimes they come out and dinna go in," the boy insisted stubbornly.
- p. 181
Long was successful in creating an air of suspense over the disappearance of Lucy and two other girls. The author could have expanded this particular story and created a full-length piece of conspiracy fiction (especially with the reference to angels...and the tunnels.)
But, in so doing, the relationship between Rosalind and Chase wasn't developed as deeply. These two people have been attracted to each other for a long time and risked ruining their reputations by almost engaging in an illicit affair -- but I did not feel the tension or the urgency of so many years of longing in the two of them.
There was lust, yes -- but, longing? I'm not certain.
I am glad I read the novels out of order -- this novel introduces the Eversea cousin, Adam Sylvaine, who is the main character in Long's next novel, A Notorious Countess Confesses which comes out in November 2012.