Book number sixteen and this one is full of surprises. So much of what we’ve learned about Roarke’s background has been about his criminal beginnings and about his relationship with Summerset. In this book we find out that everything Roarke believed to be true about his very early years was a lie.
Roarke has funded a home for abused women, called Dochas, which is Gallic for hope. He is touring the facility and meets MOIRA O’BANNION, a social worker who tells him she knew him as a baby, knew his mother. Except the mother she talk about is not Meg Roarke but SIOBAHN BRODY, an innocent young woman who had the bad luck to get involved with PATRICK ROURKE. The woman has a photo of mother and child and there is no doubt of the child’s identity.
Summerset was set to go away on holiday and has a fall, which has him at home recovering, and he’s as bad a patient as Eve ever was. The seriousness of the accident leaves Roarke reeling with emotion, for Summerset is more father than the father he had. To have these two events happen at the same time, Roarke reacts badly and shuts everyone out until he can come to term with everything.
He finally tells Eve what he has learned and decides to Ireland, alone, and meets up with his old friend Brian. They discover the truth, Siobahn Brody was really his mother, and she was murdered by his father. He travels to the country to inform her family of the death, even though it happened a lifetime ago, for he feels he owes them that closure.
He finds a welcome there and is overwhelmed, expecting to find anger and hate. He has all this family and they don’t seem to want anything from him. Eve puts the case aside and travels to Ireland to be with him, arriving at a time when Roarke badly needs her. Eve constantly talks of Marriage Rules, and it’s evident she has learned the most important one.
Previous characters have a more meaningful reappearance that further develops their relationship with Eve. Not to spoil the murder plot but we see a different side of Crack, the sex-club owner, and the young rookie Officer Trueheart.
The murder plot is entertaining enough, but we have these interesting characters with old secrets revealed, new truths and relationships that change and deepen.