For readers of the Tenacious Trents novels, this installment is not only an interesting parallel (and juxtaposition) to the lives of the Trent brothers, but also a somewhat conclusion to a story arc that has been carried through the previous titles. I would not recommend reading this book unless one has read the other titles in this series, as the characters and their relationships and interactions will make little sense otherwise. Beyond that caveat, this was a highly enjoyable book.
In one respect, this particular story does explore the topic of nature vs. nurture and what one can become given one's circumstances and upbringing. Which is better - to suffer abuse or to run away? And if one does run, what are the consequences of that action and how do those consequences affect others? As a toddler, Julia's mother took her away from an abusive household, changed the family's name, and moved to another country. The Trent brothers lived a life of wealth and privilege while suffering at the abusive hand of their cruel father. Julia and her mother (and her soon to be born twin sisters) fled, and while they were able to avoid abject poverty, their lives took a pointedly different direction based upon the choices they were forced to make in order to survive. Even while their circumstances were so drastically different, there is a lot to be said regarding genetics and the personality traits we inherit from our parents. Julia is capable of great love, as was her mother, but also carries with her the ever-present Trent stubborn streak that can cause its owner to overlook common sense and wisdom, even when it is against their best interest.
Julia/Juliette knows nothing of her birth or background. When the only life she has ever known collides with the lives of the Trents, her world is thrown into chaos. She does not know how to behave, who to trust or what to do. To a certain extent, she doesn't even know who she is anymore, and following her journey is almost like a slow-motion train wreck. The reader can see the collision coming and can do nothing to stop it, but also can't help but wonder what will happen when the collision occurs and what will be the fallout. Also prominent in the mix is Drake Finton/Viscount Acker. Readers have met Lord Acker in several of the previous Trent books, but always as a peripheral character and friend of the family who seemed only present to help along with the stories of the Trents. In this story, it is his actions that end up reuniting the Trents.
Unlike the previous Trent stories, this book centers more on the drama of the family dynamic than on romance. Make no mistake - there is romance in this book, but it is secondary to the main story of the Trent family. I loved that Ms. Charles did not "clutter" the plot with gratuitous scenes. Often books of this nature will include salacious content simply for the purpose to satisfy the voyeuristic proclivities of the reader, but gratefully Ms. Charles does not stoop to that level. When the steamier passages do appear in this book, they are part of the action, not an aside to the action. These things are happening for a reason, not just so that the reader can fantasise as they read.
Other reviewers of this text have mentioned typographical errors in this book, and while they are present, they are so few and far between that they are negligible. One particular instance that comes to mind is a passage describing a character pouring a cup of "tee". The errors that do occur in this book are of that nature, and if there are more than a dozen in the entire book, I would be surprised. I would assume that somewhere along the line Ms. Charles changed who was publishing the electronic versions of her books, as this certainly was not the case in earlier titles. Kudos to her for making this switch. It has removed many of the distractions that were present in the previous titles in this series.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. It is my understanding that there is at least one more title in the Tenacious Trents series (and hopefully more) and I look forward to reading about the further adventures of this fascinating family.