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In 1838 England, 17-year-old Julia Elliston has lost everything: her home, her mother, and her future. An anonymous guardian plans to send her to Scotland to serve as a widow's companion unless Julia can find a husband quickly and secretly. Her plan to marry her childhood sweetheart backfires when she discovers Edward has joined the same ministry that had vilified her family on account of her father's atheism. Heartbroken, Julia accepts an offer from Lady Foxmore to find a husband, not realizing she has been drawn into a game with dire consequences, going back many years. But to survive, Julia must participate, even while everyone around her harbors secrets worth killing for. VERDICT This Victorian historical evokes a gothic atmosphere with its dark plots, brooding hero, and innocent heroine (Jane Eyre, anyone?). With crossover appeal for mainstream historical romance fans of Victoria Holt, Dotta's debut novel will have readers demanding book two immediately.