While Lady Angeline Dudley’s pedigree dictates that she must land a titled gentleman, the irrepressible beauty secretly longs for a simple, ordinary suitor. No wild rakes like the men of her family, just a kind heart and good nature. So when Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, rescues her with unmatched civility from the advances of a scoundrel, Angeline thinks that she has found her true love. Persuading the earl is another matter entirely.
Edward has his future neatly mapped out. He hopes to wed his steadfast companion, a woman who shares his values of loyalty, respect, and decorum. But arriving in London to take his seat in the House of Lords, he is derailed by Angeline, an exquisite bird of paradise seemingly devoted to sending his predictable life into chaos.
From the brilliant hues of her fashion to her hoydenish antics, Angeline is the last woman on earth for Edward. And yet a stolen kiss in the moonlight awakens something deep and primal within him. Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after compromising a lady: He offers marriage.
Angeline knows that Edward’s proposal is born of duty, not love. But denying something so provocative and passionate is easier said than done. Deep down, Angeline believes that Edward’s dedication to convention will melt behind closed doors, where sensuality and seduction play wicked games. For a proper wife by day can become a husband’s secret mistress by night, when delicious desire rules.
Listen to more in the Mistress Series.
©2011 Mary Balogh (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
After reading the other review, I was sceptical about getting this one, even though I have enjoyed other Balogh novels. Although not high literature, this recording was a pleasant enough surprise. I enjoyed the slightly flightly main character, who is somewhat more lighthearted than Balogh's other more serious heroines. It was worth using a credit.
The term "secret mistress"! I wondered how it could be named such other then to just fit in with the other two in the mistress series. But once it was revealed I smiled.
Definitely Angeline. Having listened to the other two first (they are definitely titled out of order for the story line even if they were physically written in that order) I already knew her, all of them! But I totally enjoyed the story of how she came to be who she was... all of the quirkiness made perfect sense. I just wish I had know that this was the beginning of their stories.....
I believe that her exquisite delivery of distinct voices and situations makes the tale! She always delivers a perfect performance. However she, like all narrators has some limits and is perfect within each book. But to listen back to back it gets just a tad confusing as no one can deliver, with such perfection, all those voices without repeating some in different books.
Not so much... it wasnt a cliff hanger-! By far not my favorite of ms baloghs books. I enjoyed it but it doesn't go on my repeat listen list.
I can't stress enough that this is the beginning of the stories not the end. But I doubt I would have listened to the other two if this one had been my first. It was less inspired and felt a little like a afterthought. .. don't get me wrong, I totally enjoyed it!
The love story was created too fast and the characters were not developed as well as expected. Angeline was a simple minded chatter box the hero would have never liked prior to meeting her. A forced love and a far below par story I have ever read written by Mary Balogh. Don't purchase. Move on to a better book.
It's hard to rank. I really enjoyed the story but I wish it had a different narrator. I admit it's probably just my personal preference but I wish someone like Roslyn Landor or Phyllida Nash had narrated it.
I honestly cannot think of a book to compare to this one. I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. Edward and Angeline are unique. He is so determined not to be like his older brother, who died while curricle racing, that he is thought to be a "dry old stick". Angeline's youthful spontaneity brings out his passionate side when they are alone. She has two older brothers who are similar to Edward's older brother. She sensibly chooses not marry someone like them. But, because she is playful and loving, she teases Edward by saying that though they will marry she will pretend to be his Secret Mistress.
She did make an effort to differentiate the characters by changing the pitch and accents. I can't help wishing that Roslyn Landor, who narrated book one in the Mistress series had also done this book.
An sweetly romantic love story.
This story is simply based on the advice not to judge a book by its cover. Seriously, ignore the cover art. Angeline and Edward's story is very touching, romantic and rewarding.
This audiobook is an "ok" story but the narrator's voice is irritating. I also like to be drawn in by the characters but this book didn't achieve that.
I thought this was the best of the triology. It was light hearted and funny. It was enjoyable to read about a woman not falling in love with a rake and the actions of the "proper" man that she fell in love with. Would definetly read this one again. Also great narration by Rosalyn Landor
While its title might lead you to believe this book is a sequel or at least in the same vein as Balogh's previous "Mistress" books, the truth is it is a boring and disappointing volume. Balogh has to stretch the truth to even incorporate the "Secret Mistress" moniker. Don't bother with it. Anne Flosnik's narration is, as always, excellent but she has little to work with. This is by far the worst Mary Balogh book I've read or listened to and I count myself a real fan.
I am an optimist, so when a book appears to be a total whiny waste of my time, I will usually give it atleast a couple more chapters. Because this was Mary Balogh, one of my all-time favorites, I kept listening up to half way through the second part. I finally had to give up. This IS NOT a typical MB book, I should know, my library is full of her books. I kept thinking some one at Audible must have made a mistake. The story line is really stupid, and OMG the 2 main proagonist are hurtful to even listen to! Don't wast your credit!
I'm not a huge fan of Romance Novels and this is admittedly my first. This was very well written and I found it increasingly difficult to stop listening to it.
Did you ever wonder what life might be like for the sister of a rake? That's what Lady Angeline Dudley is -- the sister of not one but two handsome, charming, and utterly incorrigible rakehells, the Duke of Tresham and Lord Ferdinand Dudley. Moreover, her late parents were famous for their many indiscreet affairs, and she has decided never to marry a man who is anything like her brothers or father.
Lady Angeline is on her way to London for her first season and is to meet up with her elder brother at a coaching inn in Reading. When she finds herself alone in the inn's tavern and is approached by a strange man, another stranger comes to her defense. He leaves without introducing himself, and Lady Angeline falls for him on the spot.
Quote: How could one not fall instantly in love with such a man, Angeline asked herself as she stared at the door after they had both left. In a few short minutes he had shown himself to be her ideal of manhood. Of gentlemanhood. He seemed perfectly content and comfortable with his ordinariness. He seemed not to feel the need to posture and prove his masculinity at every turn, preferably with his fists, as most men did in Angeline’s admittedly rather limited experience. He was, in fact, more than ordinary. He was an extraordinary man. And she had fallen head over ears in love with him. Indeed, she was going to marry him—despite the fact that she would probably never see him again. End Quote.
Her savior is Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heywood, who has succeeded to the title after his brother's death in a curricle race against said Duke of Tresham. Of course, he and Angeline are destined to meet again and again, and while she falls ever deeper in love he finds her to be all that is improper and unappealing in a lady. While his many female relatives urge him to court Lady Angeline, the season's most eligible young lady, he has determined to marry Eunice Goddard, the shy, bookish daughter of his favorite Cambridge don. They had agreed years earlier to marry at some point in the future, and Edward looks forward to a very proper future with Eunice.
As the season progresses, Edward finds himself repeatedly in the company of Lady Angeline and feels a reluctant attraction to her. His determination to marry Eunice, however, does not wane, although Eunice believes that he must marry higher in society now that he is an earl. She rejects Edward's proposal and urges him to marry Lady Angeline. But when he proposes to Lady Angeline, she rejects him as well, because he does not love her. Indeed, he doesn't really believe in romantic love.
Edward is perplexed, but like the true gentleman that he is, he carries on with his duty to find a suitable wife and set up his nursery. I won't go any further with the plot so as not to spoil the surprising developments. Suffice it to say that the last third of the book is romantic and funny at the same time and reminded me of something Georgette Heyer would have concocted (only a little steamier).
Mary Balogh does an excellent job of creating many secondary characters and weaving their stories into the main plotline. And while Lady Angeline is a singular young lady -- tall, dark, not demure, and wearer of loud, attention-getting bonnets -- it is Edward who is Balogh's most original creation. He is nothing like the standard HR hero. He is not tall and broad-shouldered. He doesn't cast smouldering looks at ladies. He doesn't gamble or drink to excess. He's never fought a duel or placed a wager at White's. He doesn't have a mistress, nor does his mighty wang spring to attention at the sight of every desirable woman. His father and brother were careless, self-centered men, but Edward bears few inner scars and is certainly not "tortured."
What I found most fascinating was Angeline's romantic dreams of her perfect man -- so unlike the typical HR hero:
Quote: I have sworn and sworn that I will not marry a rake, even if it means marrying a dull man instead. Better to be dull than to be so unhappy that one is forced to take lovers. * * *
I did not know for sure until then that there were gentlemen like you. I had experience only with gentlemen like my father and my brothers and their friends. I did not want to marry anyone like them, for whoever I chose would not remain faithful for long, and how can there be marriage and parenthood and contentment and friendship and happiness and growing old together unless there is fidelity? * * *
I want you just as you are. I want you to live your dull, blameless life of duty and responsibility. I want you to be a very proper, perhaps even stern husband. I want you to make me feel you care. I want you to be a father who spends more time than is fashionable with his children. End Quote.
It is not unusual in HR to see the rake, reformed by marriage, become like the man Lady Angeline describes, but typically the heroine is simply hoping that life will turn out that way. In The Secret Mistress (and the title won't be explained until the very end), Angeline is determined to rely on something other than hope; she will control her own destiny. And Edward will learn that his destiny is not nearly so dull after all.
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