Genteel Secrets

Narrated by: Talmadge Ragan
Length: 3 hrs and 34 mins
4 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What do a well-bred Southern Belle and a Northern working class Pinkerton detective have in common? Espionage . . . and romance. At the start of the US Civil War, while young men begin dying on American battlefields and slavery is headed toward its end, behind the scenes, female undercover work and Pinkerton intelligence are alive and well. But in the end, can the love between this novella's Romeo and Juliet couple survive, or will they be just another casualty of war?

©2016 S. R. Mallery (P)2018 S. R. Mallery

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Emotionally Charged

This historical novel sets in the heart of the Civil War. Two people who are opposites meet and find a love that is true. Hannah is blackmailed into helping getting secrets from Union soldiers, while James enlists as a Pinkerton agent. The war and family are against them. When Hannah is sought by the Pinkerton agency, James makes a choice to save Hannah. Getting out of Washington, D.C. will not be easy, but they follow the underground railroad out. How the underground railroad operates is historically correct and I love her explanation of the quilts. It's probably the best one that I've read about. This story is emotionally charged, and sometimes I felt I was right there with James & Hannah.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Genteel Secrets

Being a longtime fan of S. R. Mallery’s writing, I’ve been delighted to get my hands on her new historical novel, knowing in advance that I’ll enjoy it, and I certainly did!
“Genteel Secrets” is not just a love story, even though the romance between the two main characters was one of the things that I enjoyed immensely in this novel, but it’s a meticulously researched historical fiction, which deals with the espionage, questioning of the moral right of one ethnic group owning another, polar views of life by the Confederate South and the progressive North and many more important issues.
I really enjoyed the setting of the novel, which reminded me of “Gone with the Wind” a lot; and just like in this well-known classic our main character, Hannah, is a spirited, fearless girl who is ready to fight for what she feels is right, despite the protests of her family members and general opinion of the southern society of that time. I absolutely loved how well-read she was and how much interest she showed in politics and current events, even though her outspokenness, both in words and deeds, was something that was frowned upon by society. And when she got involved with something much more dangerous than expressing unpopular views, I couldn’t stop listening because I just had to find out how hers and James’s, her beau’s, story would end. Loved the narrator's accent by the way! She really brought South and Hannah to life.
Highly recommended for all fans of historical fiction genre! Absolutely outstanding!

1 person found this helpful

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Civil war era brought to life

Genteel Secrets encapsulates the Civil War era, a trying time in US history, within a love story unfolding between a Belle of the old South who may be part of a network of Confederate spies, Hannah Mayfield, and a Yankee doctor who takes up a new career as a Pinkerton Detective, James Neely. The obstacles between them are hard to surmount, in an atmosphere of political division, suspicion and treachery that puts both of them in danger.

S.R. Mallery’s work in this book is meticulously researched, which brings the era to life, even as a romantic moment is crafted: “All his instincts were focused on her now, her arms encircling his neck, her tiny moans as he tried to press against her body, so well hidden by her fashionable corset and hoopskirt.”

Having read the book, listening to the audiobook that has been gifted to me (in exchange for an honest review) brings the story to life. The narrator, Talmadge Ragan, has an engaging voice. Her father was a North Carolina's Poet Laureate, her mother—a journalist. Her caring for the written word is evident through her delivery. Every word is voiced with precision, the emotion never too heavy or over the top.

Five stars.

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an unusual romance

I was gifted a copy of Genteel Secrets. I thought it was a good story. It took some time for the story to take off but once it did I couldn't stop listening to it. However, I felt that the ending was a bit lack luster. I did like the hero and heroine. Hannah is a true Southern bell with a conscience. I hope to read more from this author in the future.