Mary Balogh's The Secret Pearl starts off with an emotional wallop with the "brutal deflowering" of the destitute and starving heroine by the "hero." This is a book where the hero basically rapes the heroine and yet is NOT the villian of the story-- the villian is described as being worse. I could not fathom how these two could ever have anything like a HEA ending and it was that curiousity that kept me reading, but Balogh managed to pull it off, just barely. I think it's a testimony to her writing chops that I didn't throw the book even once, though there were countless in the plot where a lesser writer would have blown the whole thing to smithereens. This was not a happy book, despite the happy ending.
A very unusual romance novel with atypical characters and situation. The hero is scarred and married to someone else and the heroine is a prostitute (sort of) and an accused murderer. If these ingredients don't sound very romantic, they aren't. However you have to read the story to find out why you should root for them and why nothing is as it seems.
The Secret Pearl is romantic and drawn out with carefully paced moments of tenderness and angst. It is a slow burning story. This is one of those books that sticks with you. The characters are two people who are really ruined in so many ways. They are victims of circumstance and perhaps their own desire to be upstanding (an adulterer doesn't sound upstanding, but read the story and it will all make sense).
As for steaminess, not so much. Balogh is more interested in telling the story of the falling in love not the making love.
The reviewer who said the hero rapes the heroine at the start of the book is exaggerating. This is NOT one of those books where the hero is a rapist and we're supposed to root for him. I'm not saying the heroine liked the situation, but she was there voluntarily and he certainly wasn't using force. Don't let that review mislead you.
This is the last book I needed to read to complete my Summer Reading Challenge. I AVOIDED this book and left if for last because it has adultery in it. I don't enjoy reading about adultery at all, but somehow, Mary Balogh makes it work. This book is very intense, it is a story about a hero and heroine that, have yet to catch a break, that is until an encounter with each other one night. The story starts off with a bang, and then moves a little slow. The story soon picks up and the writer does an excellent job of showing the spirit of the main characters. The journey for Adam and Fleur's love was a HARD road to go down, and I wondered how on earth Mary Balogh was going to give this story a Happy Ending. Despite that hard road, each brief encounter between the two proves to build up tension, and the realization that they were soulmates. As Jerry Maguire put it, They completed each other. I highly recommend this book. It's deep, but very well worth the time invested reading about this forbidden love.
What a beautiful story. My heart ached for Adam who is so noble and always trys to do the right thing.He is so often handed lemons in his life and still makes lemonade. The characters are well fleshed out and there is humor in this often heart-wrenching story. I esp liked the relationship between the duke and his valet. The irreverent retorts that only a long time employee/friend could get away with are very funny.
A cruel guardian has given Fleur no choice but to run and hide in the teeming mass of humanity that is London. When her money eventually runs out and no other employment can be found, she resorts to selling the only thing she has left to sell...herself.
Adam is the powerful Duke of Ridgeway. Disfigured in the war and scorned by his beautiful, selfish wife, he thinks to take his frustrations out on the ragamuffin inexpertly offering herself outside the theatre.
Their worlds collide violently, and soon intertwine. But to what end...?
I really enjoyed this book! The characters were likeable and the chemistry believable. Well worth a read, whether for the first time, or just the first time in a long time.
A difficult book with a rape scene, but the characters' motivations both before and after are within the realm of reason. I remember that rape scenes were treated as love scenes when I first started reading romances--it's refreshing to see one treated for what it is. And this is quite a compelling love story, to boot. Balogh doesn't fail to write intelligently and sympathetically. A favorite author of mine.
This is a complex novel and it is definitely thought-provoking. I didn't know what to expect since this is my first book by Mary Balogh. Well, I certainly didn't expect the opening salvo!
It took a time to work my mind around this storyline to say it was different is an understatement. Fleur is a young woman who has run out of options. She's a hunted woman who is hungry, without a place to sleep, friendless and doesn't know where to turn.
She takes the only choice she sees; I could understand her position. What I had a hard time with was what I saw as Adams brutality. Yet, Adam tries to make amends and shows himself to be a flawed human, trying to do the right thing.
After their first encounter, Fleur is afraid of Adam. Balogh takes her time; Fleurs opinion changes slowly and that is very realistic. This isn't a quick story it, takes time for things to change. After all, Adam is married to one of the most beautiful women in England.
The story moved rather slowly for awhile, until Adams brother, Thomas Kent arrived on the scene. The two lead characters have lots of layers and they are disclosed slowly. The secondary characters were also memorable. Balogh did a wonderful job of making them breathe, make mistakes and be human.
This isn't a book I can read once; Ive decided to wait several months and reread it. In the meantime, I plan to try some of Mary Baloghs other novels.
This book has an amazing start.........within the first 10 pages you are in an encounter that defines the rest of the story. Mary Balogh always amazes me with her ability to round out these characters and make you care about their lives.
To the woman known simply as Fleur, the well-dressed gentleman with the mesmerizing eyes is an unlikely saviour. And when she takes him into her bed, she never expects to hear from him again. But then Fleur accepts a position as governess to a young girl..and is stunned to discover that her midnight lover is a nobleman. As two wary hearts ignite-and the threat of scandal hovers over them - one question remains, will she be mistress or wife?
This was one of those books that you hate to put down and want to just keep on reading. Fluer who was the daughter of a baron and whose father and mother had died was left in the hands of her cousin. Read and find out what happens to her and how her life is changed.
He first spies her in the shadows outside a London theatre, a ravashing creature forced to barter her body to survive. To the woman know simply as Fleur, the well dresses gentleman with the mesmerizing eyes is an unlikely savior..
To the woman known simply as Fleur, the well-dressed gentleman with the mesmerizing eyes is an unlikely savior. And when she takes the stranger to her bed, she never expects to see him again. But then Fleur accepts a position as governess to a young girl...and is stunned to discover that her midnight lover is a powerful nobleman.
Flleur takes a stranger to her bed and never expects to see him again, but then Fleur accepts a position as a governess to a young girl... and is stunned to discover that her midnight lover is a powerful nobleman. As threat of scandal hovers over them... one question remains: will she be mistress or wife?
He first spies her in the shadows outside a London theatre, a ravishing creature forced to barter her body to survive.
To the woman known simply as Fluer, the well dressed gentleman with the mesmerizing eyes is an unlikely savior. And when she takes the stranger to her bed, she never expects to see him again. But then Fluer accepts a position as governess to a young girl...and is stunned to discover that her midnight lover is a powerful nobleman. As two wary hearts ignite-and the threat of scandal hovers over them-one question remains: will she be mistress or wife?