I read and critiqued the prequel to this novel Devotion without realizing Trey's story continued in Obsession. Trey, the Duke of Salterdon, was going to throw his duty to family away by wedding a poor vicar's daughter, Maria. She had saved him from madness and now she ran from him, later marrying another (or so he thought). Trey found out the truth moments before his own marriage. Maria was alive, imprisoned in Menson, a mental asylum.
And she was, by the time he reached her these six years later, mad. You can imagine the brutality and horror of an asylum for the criminally insane in the 1800s. Trey's grandmother, the dowager duchess, and ruthless, was responsible for Maria's placement in the asylum. Trey sets out to save Maria. He still loved her. Maria lives in a dark cocoon comforted only by the voice of her long dead brother and as she begins to enter the light again, remembers feelings of betrayal by Trey. She too has been misled and told lies and only remembers that her beautiful baby, Sarah, had been wrenched from her arms after giving birth to her in the asylum.
The story focuses on Trey's struggle to regain pride and fortune, with the undercurrent of mystery surrounding his own birth and that of his missing child Sarah. From Devotion, we meet again with Trey's twin brother Clayton and his wife Miracle. There is the added element of tension with Lady Edwina, Trey's fiancé, literally left at the altar. Will Maria ever be whole again? The ending to this novel, unlike the prequel, is very standard and appealing. I enjoyed it very much. I did not find the descriptions of Maria's stay in the asylum as oppressive as it could have been. The elements of mysticism (ghosts & miracles) are all right. The tale is uniquely told in first person. Different, wonderful reading.
A must if you have read Clayton's story (Miracle) and Trey & Maria's first story (Devotion). As other reviewers note, this book lacks the sensual appeal other novels have, but I didn't miss it in the storyline. Katherine Sutcliffe has not disappointed me yet.