Customer Reviews for

The Secret Mistress

Average Rating 3.5
( 91 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

A delightful historical romance

Sister to the Duke of Tresham Jocelyn, Lady Angeline Dudley wants a prim and proper gentleman as her husband after being surrounded by rakes. As she waits impatiently for Jocelyn to arrive, fiendish rake Lord Windrow assaults her; Earl Edward Ailsbury rescues her. His...
Sister to the Duke of Tresham Jocelyn, Lady Angeline Dudley wants a prim and proper gentleman as her husband after being surrounded by rakes. As she waits impatiently for Jocelyn to arrive, fiendish rake Lord Windrow assaults her; Earl Edward Ailsbury rescues her. His family thinks Lady Angeline is the perfect match for him; she agrees with their assessment.

No one asked Edward for his opinion. If they did he would reveal his secret love for Eunice Goddard. However Hurricane Angeline refuses to back away from her choice although she hides her doubts. He proposes but she demands passion and feels once she jumps his bones he will not be able to resist. As Angeline brings out the love and beast in her man, Edward brings out the need and desire in his woman.

The latest marvelous Mistress Regency romance (see A Secret Affair) is an amusing coupling of a rationalist with a romanticist. Edward cannot understand why logic fails to work in his dealings with emotional women while ardent Angeline cannot understand why her beloved remains prim with her. His behavior amplifies her insecurities. Fans will enjoy this comedy of errors as the proper noble and the spirited lady fall in love.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on June 28, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

22 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

BOYCOTT THIS PRICE!!!

Everyone, please start boycotting the prices greedy bookstores and greedier publishers are charging for nookbooks. B&N told me when I bought my nook last year that e-book prices would be much cheaper. This store needs to stand by what it advertised a year ago.

posted by Bandito on May 3, 2011

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  • Posted March 31, 2014

    Review is based on a CD version read by Anne Flosnik. I haven¿t

    Review is based on a CD version read by Anne Flosnik.
    I haven’t read much by Mary Balogh—only the Mistress trilogy—though I know she is one of the huge historical romance authors writing today. Her writing style is beautiful and descriptive, with humorous inner dialogue, witty social situations, clever plotlines, and realistic and likeable characters. I just prefer a little something more in my historical romance, and I can’t even quite put my finger on what that is. It’s that quality that makes me want to read every single book an author has written. The first book I read by her, More Than a Mistress, comes closest to my preference but it is still missing a certain something that makes it work for me; I actually felt that book ended too abruptly.
    Lady Angeline Dudley, the younger sister of the Duke of Tresham, is kind of a ditz, a proper and wealthy lady, to be sure, but she has a sort of Charlotte Palmer* quality about her with her constant good humor, inane chatter, and neglect of decorum in social situations. I suppose you could say she is the ideal socialite of her time. She is a silly young miss excited about her come out and wants to marry a man unlike her father and older brothers, rakes all of them. This is an admirable trait as at least she knows what kind of man she wishes to marry. Still, she seemed all of her immature twenty years.
    Yet I could feel Angeline’s  loneliness, especially when it’s revealed that she has no female friends. I related to this instantly, and it somehow warmed me toward her. I love her obsession with bonnets, too, and her sunny personality is infectious.
    Edward, the new Earl of Heyward after his brother’s untimely demise in a curricle race, is a gentleman to the core. He’s a definite beta hero, with his serious demeanor—Tresham calls him a “dry old stick”—his awareness of social decorum and expected behavior, and devotion to his old friend, Edith Goddard, a university don’s daughter. Like Edward Ferrars from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, he wishes to honor his understanding with Edith even as he is drawn to Angeline and Edith is attracted to Lord Windrow, a renowned rake and Edward’s nemesis. Even though Edward isn’t an exciting rake, he’s a genuinely nice man, the sort of man a lady wants to marry.
    The relationship between Edward and Edith is sweetly portrayed, as they are rather like siblings, and Edith’s covert plans for both Edward and Angeline are clever even as Angeline herself comes to befriend Edith. In a funny twist, Angeline thinks Edward and Edith belong together and tries to bring them together. I just love these little nuances in novels of manners and it’s one of the many reasons I love Jane Austen’s works.
    Lord Windrow is an unexpected character. He’s an aggressive rake with a smooth style. I especially liked his provocative sparring conversations with Edith and how he becomes enchanted by her calm and lovely personality. Edith’s attraction to him, while very understated, is obvious.
    The pacing of the story felt a bit slow to me, but I listened to this on CD over a month (read by the wonderful Anne Flosnik) so that might have made the story seem slower than normal. The story takes place in about a month’s time which, given all that happens, seems surprisingly short.
    But it is a testament to Balogh’s skill as a writer that Angeline and Edward—and even the secondary characters—are so colorful and  interesting and their situation so farcical, that I just couldn’t stop listening.
    Anne Flosnik, a narrator who has read several books I have enjoyed, does an admirable job with her clear, crisp, and engaging voice. I especially liked her lighter, younger girlish voice for Angeline and her deeper, more cultured and elegant voice for Edith. Secondary characters including Tresham, Angeline’s cousin and chaperone, Rosalie, Ferdinand, and Edward’s family members are all easily differentiated as well as expressing apt emotions at logical points in the story.
    A sweet and poignant novel of manners, fans of Georgette Heyer, Samantha Grace, Julia Quinn, and Amanda Forester's Marriage Mart series might enjoy.
    *From Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility

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