May 16, 2011

A Love Warm and True • Secrets of a Summer Night

Secrets of a Summer Night book cover
Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Wallflowers #1
Publisher: Avon Romance
Publication Date: November 28, 2006
Source/Format: Bought || Kindle e-book

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.

I went on a bit of a romance kick (obviously), and this time, the author I chose to read was Lisa Kleypas. My friend Mich had introduced me to some of her more contemporary work before, but Secrets of A Summer Night is probably her first historical romance that I was able to get my hands on.

Lisa Kleypas is a great writer, that much I already knew. But to have a book that featured historic England AND a set of friends working together towards one goal AND a beautifully drawn out love story all in one? The woman just hit epic status with me.

The Wallflowers are composed of four young women who share quite a few things in common: (1) they're almost always ignored at balls and parties, (2) they're not what society would deem a conventionally good match for any young man and (3) they need/wish to find suitable husbands. I love how the story focuses on these four young women, simply because it's different from my other romance novels where the women are sought after or at least well-liked. The friendship that springs up between them is spontaneous and perfectly lovely; they're the kind of friends I would have liked to have (and do have actually).

With their group firmly in place with the singular purpose of seeing each other married, they start their work with Annabelle, the eldest of them. As she is paired with the man she thinks suitable to herself, she finds more and more that she is attracted and intrigued by Simon Hunt, a man whom is entirely unsuitable to her because he's of the wrong class.

Annabelle Peyton is a heroine who's practical, resourceful and determined to do what she has to do to get what she wants. I admire her tenacity and her spirit; there are times however when I got completely irritated with her for ignoring what was in front of her. But I do think the gradual acceptance she began to have about Simon's position and class was very realistically portrayed; and I love how her eyes seemed to be opened when they went on their honeymoon in Paris.

Simon Hunt, on the other hand, is an enigma. I didn't like him at first, to be honest. But then, watching how his love for Annabelle held steady and grew as the book progressed, it was hard not to end up loving him. I especially loved the fact that he was willing to let Annabelle have what she wanted because it would make her happy -- and of course, I'm glad Annabelle realized that she wanted him!

Secrets of a Summer Night is another beautiful love story added to the collection of my favorites. Lisa Kleypas is a master at her craft.


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