This was quite the book although not quite at the same level as his [b:The Woman in White|5890|The Woman in White|Wilkie Collins|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1295661017s/5890.jpg|1303710].
I do enjoy a nice dark, brooding-like beginning where you know something is just not right but it is initially difficult to pinpoint what exactly that 'something' is all about.
Valeria is a bride-to-be who marries Eustace Woodville despite warnings from her family and friends. There are some odd exchanges at the beginning of this marriage between the two. It made me wonder what drove her to marry Eustace despite the million red flags all over the place.
Of course we (and Valeria) find that he has skeletons in his closet. There is some deep secret that if uncovered will ruin the future of these two lovebirds. And we learn shocking point number two: Eustace Woodville may not really be Eustace Woodville. I know, this is all a lot to take in...
Well Valeria must get to the bottom of this mystery and she dedicates the next several (several, several) chapters to searching for 'the truth'.
Overall it was an okay ride but once you know the dark secret, there isn't that much more to find out. Valeria is a pretty fiesty and cool detective which is amazing for the time period this novel is set in. She is also financially independent which allows her to use her resources for finding out the truth.
My favorite parts were in the development of some really out of the ordinary characters by Collins: Miserrimus Dexter and his cousin, Ariel (a she)who really steal the show in many ways. Miserrius is wheel chair bound but it doesn't stop him from some pretty lively interactions throughout. His cousin Ariel is overly devoted to him and it is a very odd relationship. Lots to like, ponder over and think about with those two.
Good but not great.