20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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Julia London is a wonderful writer whose books have always kept me enthralled from the opening page until the last, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. The same cannot be said, regretfully, of "The Secret Lover." The story revolves around a divorced victim of marital abuse, Sophie Dane, who moves back to London for a fresh start after years of living abroad as the companion to an eccentric Frenchwoman, Honorine. As she tries to transcend her scandalous past, she meets two brothers, one legitimate, one not, and has to choose between following her heart down a path of further notoriety or taking what appears to be the safer route encouraged by her family. The main problem with this book for me was the lack of any really likeable characters in it. The heroine is retiring, easily manipulated, and insecure. These are probably honest qualities of a victim of domestic abuse, but as I was reading the book, I kept thinking to myself,"Get some backbone, Sophie!" The hero is lackluster, the villain is wholly one-dimensional, and even the secondary characters, Sophie's Frenchwoman, Honorine, and her servants, Fabrice and Roland, who are supposed to provide comic relief, leave the reader feeling flat. What is truly sad, however, is what Julia London does in "The Secret Lover" with Sophie's brother, Julian Dane, and his wife, Claudia, who were the protaganists of her earlier book, "The Ruthless Charmer." If you loved them in that book, you will hate them here, as they have turned into pompous know-it-alls, with no compassion and little humor. Maybe it was because I did not warm to any of the characters that I found this book to be an incredibly slow read. The book is well written from a technical standpoint, but unless you can identify with a heroine-as-victim, you may find that it lacks that special "sizzle" that have marked Julia London's previous works.
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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Ms. London, well known in the romance genre for her popular series, Rogues of Regent Street, acquaints readers with Sophie Dane, the younger sister of a former rogue, Julian Dane. The year is 1836, when Sophie elopes with Sir William Stanwood, unaware that he would physically abuse her. Eight years later, Sophie has survived a scandalous divorce and is a traveling companion to Honorine Fortier, a free-spirited French-woman with whom she has traveled the globe. But to Sophie's dismay, Honorine wishes to journey to London where Sophie must relive her sordid past and face the members of the ton.
Spending her London days in a nearby park, Sophie spies an attractive man across the pond. As he soon becomes aware of her studying him, the two societal outcasts become friends before they become lovers. He just happens to be Caleb Hamilton, the illegitimate son of Will Hamilton, father of Trevor, Sophie's apparent suitor. While Sophie attempts to discover the nature of Trevor's attraction to her, he does everything possible to prevent Caleb from having any contact with their ailing father. Adding substance to the plot is Honorine's interest in Will and her ability to aid his recovery from a seizure disorder.
But as the affair between Sophie and Caleb progresses, Caleb becomes reluctant to keep theirs a secret relationship. Will Sophie succumb to familial pressure to marry Trevor, the legitimate heir, or follow her heart before Caleb is lost to her forever?
Ms. London has created protagonists who stand apart in the romance genre with a very profound love found in a relationship both believable and enviable. The elements of romantic tension are sufficient to thicken the novel's plot without creating so much strife as to detract from the read. And the supporting characters are especially colorful, from the free-spirited Honorine to her traveling companions, Fabrice and Roland. In the sub-genre of historical romance, Ms. London is one of the very best.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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I was having a good time reading the Rogues of Regent Street series and I couldn't wait to get to the story of Sophie Dane, whose first love turned out to be the worst. Actually, this book is pretty good. I agree that it did have moments of stagnancy...but they were brief and nearly painless. It was great to watch the relationship between Sophie and Caleb develop. However, I wish Ms. London would have given them more dialogue instead of describing the kinds of things they would talk about when together. But that initial meeting and the next were perfect. I really enjoyed the secondary characters...Honorine Fortier and Will Hamilton, Fabrice and Roland, Lucie Cowplain and even Trevor (especially as his insanity grew). I could really picture all of them living as I read. That is precisely why I was really aghast by the epilogue. I expected to read, you know, the traditional Caleb and Sophie become parents and reflect on how beautiful the future will be now that they're together. However, we got a glimpse into the next several decades (which I thought was great and refreshing). What I did not expect to get at the end was the telling of how family members that I became fond of died off, including this book's main character. How depressing! This is the only time I've ever read a romance novel and cried from utter melancholy at the end. I like a lot of realism in my fiction, but that was cruel.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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Lady Sophie Dane fled London and the man she had eloped with (and then divorced). The scandal would follow her forever. Sophie did not care. She never intended to return. She became the companion of a young French woman named Honorine Fortier. Things were grand for years. But then Honor announced they were traveling to London!
Caleb Hamilton was the illegitimate son of Lord Will Hamilton. Will's second son, and heir, was Trevor. Will had often visited Caleb as he grew into adulthood, but a stroke ended that. When Caleb approached to check on his father, Trevor refused to allow him entry.
All of London buzzed with gossip of "The Imposter" son and of Sophie's sudden reappearance. But the Ton did not know the half of it! Muddy waters ran much deeper in the Hamilton household then anyone could possibly guess. And Sophie's family was trying to push her into accepting Trevor as her betrothed.
*** That is all I can tell without spoiling the plot. There is MUCH more to the story than I stated above. This book starts out with a simmer, slowly builds up more steam, and ends with a bang.
On a personal note though, I did not like the Epilogue at all. All I can say is that this type of Epilogue will have no middle ground on the emotions of the readers. They will either love it or hate it! All-in-all, this is a book I can recommend to any who like Regency Romances. ***
Reviewed by Detra Fitch
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
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This was such a fabulous story! From a previous Rouges novel "The Ruthless Charmer" you would have been introduced to our heroine, Lord Kettering's youngest sister, Sophia Dane. Even if you had not read the earlier novel, you would very easily be able to pick up this book and with the prologue, surmise Sophia's earlier years and the scandal that had surrounded her eight years prior to the setting of this story. Shipped off to, France, from the scrutiny of London's haute ton, Sophia had led a quiet existence, never calling attention to herself, living quietly and healing herself, both physically and mentally. She has spent the last seven years as the companion to the widow and very eccentric Lady Honorine Fortier accompanying her on her travels through Europe.
The journey Sophia took as the companion to Lady Honorine was exceptional, but for Sophia the trip back to London, would be the most eventful so far - the haute ton had long memories, especially where the scandal Sophie had caused was so great! For Sophie, years earlier, rocked the ton by first eloping with what turned out to be a beast of man, then obtaining a parliamentary divorce - unheard of by those of the upper class!
Her family supported Sophie in her introduction back into the ton events and had hopes of her being accepted, especially when a very desirable widower Lord Trevor Hamilton started paying her marked attention. The old Sophie would have been thrilled at Trevor's marked attention, but the new older and wiser Sophie had a niggling suspicion that all was not what it seemed. Trevor had never given her a second look back in the old days, and now, practically a social pariah he is going out of his way to court her? Trying to step back Sophie had found a quiet place that restored her soul - and it was in this setting that she met the man who would become quite dear to her. Caleb Hamilton, half illegitimate brother to Trevor - shunned by the ton for the fact of his base born birth, yet in him Sophia found a kindred spirit and soul mate. As her relationship with Caleb grew, Trevor became more insistent in his pursuit. Naturally, Sophie's family was intent upon restoring her to respectability and brought pressure to have her accept the suit of Lord Trevor.
It was absolutely inspiring to see Sophie's growth. No longer the frightened young girl, but a woman who would stand on her own two feet and make choices that were hers alone to make - not for the sake of propriety, not for the sake of her family whom she loved dearly, but for herself. This was indeed a true love story. Wonderfully heart warming and thrilling - and may I say, that the sensuality was just `over the top'!
Reading this you will just fall in love with Sophie and Caleb both - they are just so RIGHT for one another. You will stand up and cheer for Sophie taking a stand against the the ton and family members who continually tried to make decisions for her. You will absolutely love Lady Honorine who is just a wonderfully loving `true original' who found her own true love as well. You will be amused by Lady Honorine's two gay sidekicks - Fabrice and Roland and the intractable housekeeper Lucie Cowplaine. All of these characters will remain in your heart long after you turn the last page. Lastly, you will take my advice and go and get a copy of this book, and treasure it as I will to reread again and again! Absolutely wonderful!