Years ago Sadie O'Rourke married Jack Farrington despite the vast difference between their standings as she is an Irish horse-breeder's daughter and he is the heir to his grandfather's earldom. When he is cut off he decides after a couple years of marriage to head off and make his fortune with the help of his friend Trystan, who is the Duke of Ryeton's younger brother. Soon his letters stop coming and after a horrible tragedy Sadie believes he is never coming back, so she packs up and leaves him. He is heartbroken when he comes back and finds her gone after she had promised to wait for him. Several years later he runs into her at Saint's Row, the exclusive and scandalous club run by Vienne le Rieux, where she has set up as a fortune teller/ tea leaf reader. He has never believed in tea leaf reading but neither can help but remember all the good times and the love they had.
When Sadie discovers that Jack is part of the management team she wants help from to open her tea shop she is upset and he threatens to withhold funds. But it is impossible for the two of them to stay away from each other as the two of them have a past that was full of love and pain. Lady Gosling wants Jack for herself as she sees him as her meal ticket out of a loveless and painful marriage and she is not pleased to discover that Jack is still mooning after Sadie. Things begin to look up for Sadie and Jack but there are still secrets between the two of them as Sadie had turned to Jack's grandfather when she had needed help during Jack's absence and she worries that he will turn up in London and ruin everything for them. And Sadie is hurt that Jack does not believe in her abilities. Both of them have a lot to make up for and can only circumvent those trying to keep them apart together.
Jack and Sadie were two really great characters who throughout the course of the book undergo numerous little psychological changes that end up making them perfect for each other. There are so many obstacles in the way between the people who are actively trying to keep them apart to their past together and what really impressed me was the way that the two of them worked together to overcome it all. It very easily could have gotten too maudlin with them going into despair over who left who years ago, and while there was a really good amount of time spent on them being angsty and them talking about what happened, it never crossed over into inappropriate territory. I also really liked how their past together was talked about and that it was really happy and it was only a misunderstanding of sorts that kept them apart for so long. It made their reconciliation more believable.
And of course there was his disbelief in her abilities that was handled so very well. Although he didn't believe in her abilities he knew that he wanted her to be happy and he so wanted her to be happy that he was willing to give her a chance. The only part I didn't really like was her insistence that they could not be together because of his station even though he was willing to overlook it and all of their friends were as well. It seemed a little excessive. Their obstacles, in the form of Jack's grandfather and Lady Gosling, were also very well done as they both had understandable motives and were given real stories to make them more human and not just evil villains. There were obvious references to the happiness of the previous couple in the series and to what I assume will be upcoming books, and it was a little annoying (of course Ryeton and his wife are having a baby!) but nothing too bad.
Rating: A very well written book with two people who were genuinely in love with each other and worked with the other to make things work.