Lily Christian's father was a dashing English Captain in the time of Queen Elizabeth I. However, due to the political intrigues of the day, her father was murdered while Lily, her spanish mother Magdalena, and the family friend, Sir Basil, were left stranded upon a desert isle.
There, Magdalena gave birth to Lily's brother, Tristram. In time, as no rescue appeared, Magdalena and Basil grew to love each other and had a girl child, Dulcie. Magdalena and Basil contracted fevers from some shipwrecked sailors and died. The three children continued to live alone on the island until the appearance of Basil's brother, Captain Valentine Whitelaw,who had come to rescue them.
In England, the children adjusted to civilized life with much difficulty. Basil's wife, sister, and son, Simon, welcomed them but legally, Lily and Tristram were under the guardianship of Lily's relative, Hartwell Barclay. The children did not want to be separated and Dulcie also went with them to Hartwell. Lily grew into a beautiful woman and, soon, Simon fell in love with her. Hartwell also began to desire her and, after a botched attack on Lily that seemed to end in Hartwell's accidental death, she and her siblings fled to the gypsies for fear of their lives.
The gypsy, Romney Lee, loved Lily also and allowed them to travel with his group of entertainers. Lily and the children created a puppet show to earn a living, telling an old fantasy story Basil had always told them on the island. However, when old enemies saw the puppet show and realized it's true meaning, Lily and her family were in danger once more.
Once again, Valentine appeared, back from trips at sea. He did not recognize the grown up Lily and he, too, desired her. Amid some misunderstandings and anger, it was determined that they must return to the island to pick up Basil's journal with all the proof they needed to solve multiple problems facing them. On the island, Lily and Valentine finally became lovers and managed to gather the journal and hidden treasure. All of which contributed to a happy ending, at last.
The good point about this story is that I actually read this books ages ago and never forgot about the couple being stranded on a desert island who grew to love each other. It certainly makes one think. The fact that Basil had a family, still, back home only adds to the whole complicated situation. What if they had all survived and returned home?
That said, as a romance, I didn't care for this book at all. The first half of the book is dedicated to the time the children spent growing up on the island. Then another quarter is spent on the children growing up in England and escaping from their guardian. By the time the hero and heroine actually really spend time together as adults in a relationship, the book is over.
This book doesn't compare to McBain's other books, such as Moonstruck Madness, which I highly recommend.