Title: Secrets of a Summer Night
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Publisher: Pitakus (UK) / Avon (US)
Publication Date: June 2010 (UK) / 2004 (US)
Paperback: 346 pages
Genre: Historical Romance
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle’s most intriguing—and persistent—admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition… but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.
Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon—and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon’s passionate embrace and tempting kisses… and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.
Secrets of a Summer Night is the first book in ‘the Wallflowers’ series, and being a newbie to the genre, the first book I’ve read by Lisa Kleypas. I really enjoyed the story and Kleypas’s writing style. The characters are realistic, the writing lovely and the story had my full attention until the very end, where I sighed in contentment.
This is an historical romance and is written in vivid detail. I was immersed in the time period of the 1840′s and London society. The time period shows women in a very different light than today’s woman. Women then always had to be chaperoned when in the company of a man, otherwise it was seen as scandalous and the gentleman had to propose to put things right. And women had to find a suitable husband before they hit twenty-five, otherwise they were seen as spinsters, passed their ‘sell by date’ so to speak. Sometimes I found society’s dictations hard to swallow as a twenty-first century chick, but it just made the story more compelling.
Annabel is the heroine in this instalment of ‘the Wallflower’s‘ and needs a husband quick as her family’s wealth is diminishing. She’s also in her early twenties and will soon be seen as an old dried up maid if she doesn’t wed soon. But Annabel and her three friends, Lillian, Daisy and Evie, have a plan! Unfortunately, things don’t really go to plan when the utterly delicious, Simon Hunt, keeps coming onto the scene!
Simon Hunt is completely gorgeous and just enough of a rogue to make your toes curl – in a good way. He’s charming, good-looking, rich… what’s not to love? Well, he wants Annabel, but not as a wife but rather as his mistress. Of course, his feelings do change as the story progresses.
Annabel is a great character who’s bright and generally sweet in nature. Completely loyal to her family and finds it difficult to see her mother being used by a wealthy aristocrat just to keep them above the bread line. However, sometimes I found her to be quite frustrating with regards to her attitude towards Mr Simon Hunt. Simon wasn’t born into a titled family and made his fortune by other means. Society looks down on this kind of entrepreneurial way of living, and so Annabel treats him with disdain. This isn’t really the fault of Annabel, just societies restrictions. It takes her a while, but eventually she is drawn to his charms.
The love scenes are passionate but tame with regards to detail. The only scene I found myself cringing slightly was one where Annabel and Simon were in a passionate embrace and Simon’s thoughts were continuously emphasising how naive and inexperienced Annabel was, which I thought detracted from the passion and I also felt slightly embarrassed for Annabel.
All the characters are so well rounded and I loved the dialogue between them. I really enjoyed the witty, restrained, banter between Annabel and Simon, and the secret plotting of the self-proclaimed ‘wallflowers’ to catch a husband.
Secrets of a Summer Night is a wonderful book. I loved the characters, the romance and the detail given to the time period. And because of this book I have now bought several titles by Kleypas, which I can’t wait to read!! I am also really looking forward to the next book in ‘the Wallflowers‘ series, It Happened One Autumn, the story of Lillian.
Source: Thank you to Piatkus for sending me this book for review.
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