Monday, 5 September 2011

Seductive Secrets by Lynne Connolly

To survive, she’ll have to trust him with all her secrets.

The Secrets Trilogy book 1

Nick is back.

After eight years of facing public scandal and private humiliation with her head held high, Isobel’s courage fails when the man she never stopped loving returns and asks her to marry him. Once he discovers her secret, he won’t visit her bed more than once. And she can’t bear his rejection.

Nicholas, Marquis of Cardington, is confident he can cope with the baggage Isobel carries from her first marriage. It doesn’t matter that the beautiful widow once left him to elope with another man. After all, he was partly to blame for that disaster. All that matters is he has always loved her, and now she’s free to accept his proposal.

Only on their wedding night does Nick learn the terrible secret Isobel has harbored for eight long years. To win his wife’s trust will take every ounce of tenderness he possesses—when what he really wants is to show her the passion he saved for her and her alone.

But just as Isobel begins to believe her heart is safe with Nick, the blackmailers who drove her first husband to suicide reappear. And they want their pound of flesh.

Isobel must finally trust Nick will all her secrets—and her life—or their enemies will destroy them both.

I’ve read Ms Connolly’s Richard and Rose series and loved it to death. Now I’m loving this series to death. Ms Connolly is so adept at writing historicals that I can’t fail to fall in love with every one of them once I start reading. I love the way, with her historicals, she has a mystery that needs solving. Also love the way she has a large cast of characters yet I never get lost as to who is who. I think it’s because she imprints each one so firmly in my mind upon their first appearance—what they look like, how they act, who they are to the main characters—that the next time they appear I remember them instantly. Everyone comes together at certain points during the mystery solving, and it really creates such a gorgeous blending of people all out to find the truth that I sigh with contentment at finding an author who ticks every single historical box for me.

The arcs of Nick and Isobel are wonderful. Nick, jilted by Isobel years ago, went on to bed many women in a bid to forget the one woman he’d ever truly loved. Isobel suffered a marriage of hell with the man she eloped with after jilting Nick. This could be called karma biting her on the bottom, or it could be called a huge mistake in life, or even events between herself and Nick, which caused her to jilt him, sending them both in directions they never should have taken. It all makes for a delicious, tense, emotional journey when they get back together.

People don’t understand why Nick would want to marry the woman who jilted him, but love is a powerful thing, and no matter what happened in the past, he can no longer run away from the fact that he adores Isobel. She, on the other hand, is a somewhat frightened lady due to the horrors she suffered with her now-dead husband, Harry. He killed himself—and boy, do you want to know why. Isobel is shocked to discover the real reason behind why she was treated as she was, and after she marries Nick, the past that she thought she’d laid firmly to rest returns to haunt her in the form of some nasty piece of work sending her letters that never should have found their way into the blackmailer’s hands.

Isobel’s apprehension on their wedding night is totally understandable, and ladies, Nick’s reaction will melt your heart. At that point, I adored him myself, and I smiled knowing I could join them on their journey where he taught Isobel that sex wasn’t a dirty thing but something to be treasured.

As always (and I love this fact!), we have a baddie, one written so incredibly well that dislike will ooze out of you every time this person appears. And then we have the “whodunit?”, where you try and work out what the hell happened and who was responsible, only to find you were wrong all along. This part of reading a Ms Connolly book is so engrossing—my fave part when I have the shock that I was wrong, yet at the same time a pleasurable discovery because then all the clues slot into place.

Top image: As the travel-stained vehicle drew to a halt, the great doors at the top of the sweeping flight of stairs were thrown open and an august personage emerged from the darkness within.

Top image #2: …she leaned forward to impart a confidence, her smooth round shoulders rising gently out of her gown…

Top image #3: He put his finger to his lips, musing, and then spun back to face Hugh, his coat swirling about him with the sudden movement.

Top sound: Isobel looked up as the gentle hiss of petticoats heralded the arrival of Miss Marwick.

An absolutely wonderful read once again from Ms Connelly. I won’t lie, I am a huge fan. She takes me back in time to a place where I see all the lovely furniture, the clothing, the manners, the workings of a household with maids and whatnot—the whole historical shebang. She was, in my opinion, born to write these books. Stunning author, stunning plots, and one extremely happy reader! Join me in the Lynne Connolly Appreciation Society! Get yourself over to Samhain and purchase a Lynne Connolly historical title today. I’ll even say I guarantee you’ll love whatever you pick.

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