The Secret of the India Orchid

The Secret of the India Orchid

by Nancy Campbell Allen

Paperback(First Edition)

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Overview

The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen


Anthony Blake is in love with his best friend's sister, Sophia Elliot. But his plans to court her are put on hold when he is forced to resume his role as an undercover spy for the Crown. A secret document listing the names of the entire network of British spies-including his own-has been stolen. To protect Sophia, Anthony cuts off all ties to her and exchanges his life as an honorable earl for the façade of a flirtatious playboy.

Heartbroken and confused, Sophia travels to India, hoping to find healing in one of the most exotic regions of the British Empire. But the exotic land isn't as restful as she had hoped. Instead, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery of a missing sea captain, a possible murder, and a plot that could involve the prince of India. And when Anthony appears at the British Residency, asking questions and keeping his distance from her, she is stunned.

She still loves him, and, in her heart, she knows he loves her too. But how can she rebuild her relationship with him if he won't confide in her? Does she dare offer her heart to him a second time, or will their love be lost under the India sun?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781629722931
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Series: Proper Romance Regency Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 498,077
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 16 - 18 Years

About the Author


Nancy Campbell Allen is the author of twelve novels, which span genres from contemporary romantic suspense to historical fiction. She has been a speaker at numerous writing conferences and events. She has a degree in Elementary Education and is the mother of three children.

Read an Excerpt


Anthony's heart pounded in his ears. Sophia. More beautiful, more radiant, more everything. His memories, hoarded and jealously reviewed in the quiet of his private hours over the last many months, hadn't done her justice. Before he did something foolish, like weep, he extended his hand and wondered what she was thinking as she stared at him, unblinking.

He cleared his throat. "Miss Elliot, such a surprise and delight to see you here." His restraint was tested to its fullest as he fought the urge to grab her from the carriage and clasp her close. There had been a time and place in their relationship when such overt affection would not have shocked those who knew the two of them well. That time had passed, though, and now all he could do was wait to see if she'd ever take his fingers and step out of the conveyance. He tried to smile but fell well short of the mark. His heart thumped and a sheen of sweat broke out on his forehead.

She regarded him with one raised brow. "I never took you for a coward." She spoke in an undertone he barely heard. She clasped his fingers and stepped out of the carriage. An ache in his chest bloomed and climbed into his throat and he felt his eyes burn.

He kept hold of her hand when he should have released it, tugging her closer by small degrees, trying in vain to truly read her. "I am a coward," he murmured.

After one…two…three long heartbeats, she withdrew her fingers from his and he was gratified to hear the slightest hitch in her breathing. She wasn't as unaffected as she probably wished him to believe.

Who could blame her for maintaining distance? He'd left her with the impression that they were very good friends and nothing more. He'd never confessed the depth of his feelings, his intentions to court her-she'd never learned the true reason he'd left. The devil of it was, he still wasn't at liberty to enlighten her. Until the business was finished, nobody could safely know the full extent of it.

"Sophia, I…that is…" He placed a finger under his collar, cursing the humidity, the starched shirtfront, the cravat, all of it.

Her expression brightened and she smiled. "It's been such a long while. I do hope you've enjoyed your adventures-I suspect we shall have time later at dinner, perhaps, and you can entertain me with your tales."

So that was how it was to be. He'd been relegated to the status of Admirer; he'd seen her use that voice and expression more times than he could count, on gentlemen whose feelings she didn't necessarily want to bruise, but whose attentions she didn't necessarily want to encourage. He supposed he was fortunate she hadn't smacked him upside the head with her fan-it was no less than he deserved.

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The Secret of the India Orchid 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Mix in two characters that are paragons of virtue, add in a forbidden love element and some secrets, a dash of spying and a journey of many miles to a climate and setting so different from England, and you get this story. Of course, nothing is ever quite so simple or straightforward, and I have to say that many of these elements play a large, if not always logical part. Sophia Elliott has been enamored of her brother’s best friend Anthony Blake for years, and she thought those feelings were returned. But when he seems to act a playboy, and then leaves her with a letter that cuts all ties. Two years pass, and Sophia is bereft (still) and decides to set out to India where she runs into Anthony again: she still has the same feelings, but now her life is in danger, and perhaps he is the only man to save the day. Anthony had every intention of approaching his best friend for permission to formally court Sophia. He is convinced she is the one, but when his career comes calling, and the Crown requests he resumes spying by finding a letter. The thing is: Anthony knows that his work is dangerous, and he can’t share it with Sophia: and he also doesn’t feel right about having such a large secret from her while courting. So, he cuts all ties believing that she will be better off without him. So, as a beginning, after some awkward phrasing, the main characters are introduced, and we are told (not shown) that both are intrinsically paragons of virtue for their time: kind, honorable, gentle, and honest. And when Sophia boards the ship for India, an unmarried woman without what feels like a solid plan or purpose, there is nothing to connect to that allowed me to find empathy or even an emotional reaction for her. By the time we have tossed in the mystery, added the first encounter between Sophia and Anthony in the sub-continent, and worked through the very stereotypical descriptions of the Brits in India, the glossing over of the strangeness of the place that MUST have effected Sophia, and then a threat to her life I was just reading. To be honest, it’s an easy read after the initial phrasing shocks, yet the story is full of disjointed moments all seeming to serve the mysteries of Anthony’s assignments and the threats to Sophia. Emotionally the story fell flat, and there were so many moments that were not taken that could have allowed growth of the characters and their relationship to be shown, the strange (and completely contravening historic social norms) choices for Sophia in making decisions ostensibly on her own (not something that would be allowed) and the ever-longing and faithful to his first love Anthony, even after al the time and no connection, as a couple I missed them there too. Others may love the book – I was left thinking it was a story that was laden with disjointed moments, missed opportunities and the potential for truly making the story breathe and live in India was missed in favor of a magazine-cover glossiness, noticing but quickly forgetting the rich life outside the door. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
joyful334209 More than 1 year ago
Sophia in love with Anthony - who is cordial, courteous, well behaved, well groomed, austentagious and a spy. Then When he all of a sudden became - ignorant , a playboy , obnoxious - opposite of what he was - who he truly is - plus totally leaving her alone and her heart was breaking so to not to hurt she moves to the Ritzy English part of India to forget him but uuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh- no - let me tell you why - no - you have to read the book and boy let me tell you - you do not want to miss the fireworks - big ones can I tell one - ones like those from South of the border - I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher and Netgalley; all the opinions expressed in this review are all my honest review.
lilacqueen75 More than 1 year ago
I love this Proper Romance line because it's a guarantee I'm going to get a fun and clean read. There's something about India during the Regency times that is so fascinating. The exotic location and foreign people and customs almost force these people to band together, as they strive to maintain their upper class identities. It's very interesting to see single women go there in hopes of securing a match when England proves fruitless. Sophia is a very strong-willed and self-reliant young lady and when a potential suit with her brother's best friend doesn't materialize, she heads to India, only to discover that Anthony is there too. Of course, Anthony has his reasons for abandoning the blossoming relationship, but he can't tell Sophia. My favorite moments of the book are found in the intrigue and mystery, as well as in the flirtatious interactions between Anthony and Sophia. The intrigue and mystery is well done and I couldn't figure out the who and whys surrounding it. I almost felt like I was playing the game Clue. As for the rest of the story, it is sweet and gentle, but I had a little trouble fully engaging. There are many instances when the characters are mourning the loss of what could've been, which is understandable, but I wanted to feel a little more connected to the emotion. This is a pleasant read, especially for those who enjoy a Regency story out of the norm. Content: mild, non-descriptive violence (murder, etc); mild romance (kissing). *I received a copy to review, which did not influence my opinion in any way. All thoughts are my own.*
JLYoung More than 1 year ago
Set in England but mostly India at the time of colonization, it's a love story, a mystery, and history in action. I had a bit of a hard time getting into the story initially. I felt like it jumps around quite a bit and is hard to follow. It needed some transition detail or something. All of a sudden the characters were doing this and I didn't know what that was or why. I eventually got it by continuing to read but it was a little hard to follow at times. Once the story began to pick up I liked it better but continually had these moments of wondering what was going on. I felt like necessary details had been left out. Overall it was a lovely story. I haven't read too many books set in India so that was a great aspect of the book. It makes me want to read more. The author does a great job of painting pictures with words. Loved the love story part of the book. It was sweet. I would read more from this author. I received a digital copy of this book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
This is a lovely Regency romance, set in India and including a plot of espionage and secret identities. Of course, Anthony's work to recover the stolen document comes between him and Sophia, and he can't tell her a thing about it. Much of the book is the couple angsting over their feelings for each other that they think they cannot act on. There are also many details about the company they keep, shared in a formal manner, but I didn't find it interesting since it didn't relate to the main characters or show me more about them. I found myself skimming to get to the parts where things progressed in the spy plot or Anthony and Sophia's relationship. I didn't find myself connecting to their emotions but rather felt like an observer as they go through the motions of being just friends when they each secretly wish for more. Overall it was somewhat entertaining but I wished for something more that would compel me to care more about the characters and their future together. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
This is a lovely Regency romance, set in India and including a plot of espionage and secret identities. Of course, Anthony's work to recover the stolen document comes between him and Sophia, and he can't tell her a thing about it. Much of the book is the couple angsting over their feelings for each other that they think they cannot act on. There are also many details about the company they keep, shared in a formal manner, but I didn't find it interesting since it didn't relate to the main characters or show me more about them. I found myself skimming to get to the parts where things progressed in the spy plot or Anthony and Sophia's relationship. I didn't find myself connecting to their emotions but rather felt like an observer as they go through the motions of being just friends when they each secretly wish for more. Overall it was somewhat entertaining but I wished for something more that would compel me to care more about the characters and their future together. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
Utemom5 More than 1 year ago
Beautiful cover, with a suspenseful and thrilling story inside. I thoroughly enjoyed the last book written by Nancy, and was looking forward with anticipation to her next release. 'Beauty & the Clockwork Beast' was so well thought out and written, I thought for sure it be hard to beat. I prefer my historical fiction to take place in England, for homesick reasons... But after reading a recent book by Jennifer Moore, I was excited to read another story, largely set in India. With the close relationship between the 2 countries during this period, and the dominating rule of the British, I am always intrigued how they were able to coexist and at the efforts of the Upper classes to exert their influence on the Indian people. Anthony Blake, the Lord of Wilshire has served his country as a spy, and has been relieved of duty upon the death of his older brother. Inheriting the title and the estate has opened his horizon to the possibility of settling down and he has found a fondness for Miss Sophia Elliot. A sister of his best friend. She herself has had a surprising rise in status, once a servant, she now has inheritance to thank for her new station in life. A surprise visit from the man who once gave the orders for Anthony in his previous vocation immediately halts all plans and dreams for his future with his precious Sophia. With his hands tied he sets about creating rumors that will keep his one true love safe, but threatens to loose her forever, as her heart breaks. He cannot tell her the truth. I would have loved a book, on both of their back stories. Such interesting characters with much history and a past that we are given small snippets of, but nothing substantial. It's been two years and Sophia has arrived for a needed trip to India. To escape her country, her grief over her lost love and to make an effort to forget the past and move forward. Yet who should be there as she steps down from the carriage upon arrival at the British Residence near Bombay? Lord Wilshire himself. I loved this story. The anguish. The torn sense of duty over self. The location descriptions. The history. The wide range of characters, of whom I felt the main supporting ones really added richness and depth to the plot. Thoroughly unpredictable, you will be left guessing 'whodunnit' right to the very end! I would have loved to know what happened to Charlie, since so much mention is made regarding his future. Or even Charity & Beatrice. I did feel the epilogue was well done though. Sometimes there's a hurried 'wrap up' of the story, but in this case it was just right. Beautiful ending to an enjoyable read. My favourite thing? Probably the use of the flowers & colors in the lapels. Interesting! Thank you to Netgalley & Shadow Mountain for the complimentary copy. This is my honest review.
Old_Tome More than 1 year ago
A loose follow-up to My Fair Gentleman, which I adored, The Secret of the India Orchid follows Jack's younger sister Sophie. Sophie comes from a unique background, and I enjoyed her. She is both tender and strong. With her life experiences, she is different than other characters. Because of that, she has a unique voice and tenaciousness. As much as I liked Sophie's character, I liked Anthony even more. A swoon-worthy gentleman disguised as a rouge, Anthony the spy reminds me of the Scarlet Pimpernel (because I haven't read any James Bond books). A fun premise for a book set in lovely, exotic India. Well worth the read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anthony Blake, Earl of Wilshire, is going to ask his good friend, Jack Ellot, Earl of Stansworth, if he may court Jack’s sister, Sophia. To Anthony, Sophia is the epitome of the perfect woman, and he so hopes she will be amenable to his suit. But a wrench is thrown into Anthony's plans when he receives a visit from Viscount Braxton. This is not good news as the man is with the War Department and wants Anthony to serve his country once again. It appears that a valuable, confidential document has been stolen and may be sold to the French military. It contains information about all of the government operatives and their families and friends. It is imperative that it be found. With Anthony’s vast experience and title, he will be sent out as a man seeking pleasure and the easy life. As he has no other choice but to agree, he of course, cannot tell Sophia why he is leaving so he conjures up a lie that makes him appear to be an irresponsible man. Sophia is devastated. After two years of mourning his defection, Sophia decides to sail to India. Upon arrival in Bombay with a group of other young ladies, Sophia realizes that Anthony is there as well. Sophia gets caught up with the social whirl, the local culture, and meets new people. Although she is skittish around Anthony because he hurt her so badly, they do chat and realize that they do care for one another. When she learns more from him as to why he is there, she becomes involved to help him solve the mystery. This is an interesting book that delves into the life in India that the English enjoyed. The author’s descriptions are well done. Early in the book, I thought some of her descriptive comments were a bit over the top which reminds me of Danielle Steel’s books, however, that seemed to get better as the book continued. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.