Release Date: November 28, 2006
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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.
This was my very first Lisa Kleypas book. I had been on a hiatus from romance novels for awhile and before then had preferred Contemporary Romance. This is the book that changed my mind and began my love of Historical Romance.
The main characters are as different as day and night, Annabelle Peyton is a beautiful girl, who's family is destitute and they're only hope is for Annabelle to somehow catch a wealthy, titled man and marry him. Simon Hunt is the son of a butcher who has amassed a fortune in business ventures and is looking for mistress, not a wife. As soon as Simon sees Annabelle he is certain he wants her as his mistress and through a series of misunderstandings, Simon assumes that Annabelle is already the mistress of one man and begins to try and convince her that he will be more generous towards her and her family.
I liked this book, I didn't love it but I did like it. I think Annabelle, as a character was a little too bland for my liking. She's supposedly a beautiful woman, the most beautiful of the four wallflowers but other than that she really has nothing special about her. She allows her "higher" birth keep her from truly getting to know Simon.
I'm not saying Annabelle was a flat character, just an unremarkable one, especially compared to Lisa Kleypas' other heroines. Much like Simon's friend the Earl of Westcliff, I thought that Annabelle didn't deserve a good man like Simon but unlike Westcliff, I didn't change my mind at the end.
I feel for Annabelle, she was not a Wallflower by choice, she had no money for a dowry and though she was beautiful, in those times, men rarely wanted a woman with no money. She was either going to have to trick a man into marrying her or become some cruel man's mistress. Good thing Simon took a liking to her right?
Secrets of a Summer Night has some real jewels in it though. Mainly Lillian Bowman, the sharp tongued American who's parents have brought her and her sister Daisy to England to land a titled English gentleman. Lillian and the Earl of Westcliff take and instant dislike to each other and though the Earl commands respect wherever he goes, Lillian is just not inclined to do his bidding and takes every opportunity to trade barbs with him.
Overall, Secrets of a Summer Night is a good book, it starts of what is arguably, one of the best historical romance series out there. It's not the best book in the series (Many will agree it is the third book, Devil in Winter that's the best) but it is still a very enjoyable read.
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