Review – A Secret Affair – Mary Balogh

23 Jul

A Secret Affair
Author: Mary Balogh
Series: #5 in the Huxtable series

Narrator: Anne Flosnik
Running Time: 11 hrs 22 minutes

Book Description:
“The Devil was about to be tamed.” Her name is Hannah Reid. Born a commoner, she has been Duchess of Dunbarton ever since she was nineteen years old, the wife of an elderly duke to whom she has been rumored to be consistently and flagrantly unfaithful. Now the old duke is dead and, more womanly and beautiful than ever at thirty, Hannah has her freedom at last.

And she knows just what she wants to do with it. To the shock of a conventional friend, she announces her intention to take a lover—and not just any lover, but the most dangerous and delicious man in all of upper-class England: Constantine Huxtable.

Constantine’s illegitimacy has denied him the title of Earl, so now he denies himself nothing . . . or so the ton would have it. Rumored to be living the free and easy life of a sensualist in his country estate, he always chooses recent widows for his short-lived affairs. Hannah will fit the bill nicely.

But once these two passionate and scandalous figures find each other, they discover that it isn’t so easy to extricate oneself from the fires of desire—without getting singed. For the duchess and the dark lord each have startling secrets to reveal, and when all is said and done, neither will be able to say which one fell in love first, who tamed whom, and who has emerged from this game of hearts with the stronger hand.

When we were first introduced to Con in the earlier books in the series, I couldn’t wait for his book to come out – or at least, hoped that his book was one day going to be released. I eagerly read the books about his 3 female cousins, and his male cousin – although, the book prior to this was a huge let-down and I very nearly didn’t pick up this last book in the series, for fear of the same – that the author would take a character I had waited patiently to see get his HEA and have it all go to hell…thankfully, she didn’t…so i am just going to pretend that book 4 was never written and wipe it from my memory 😉

I loved Con as a character, he was so damaged – the illegitimate son who missed out on being legitimate by all of 2 days (silly man, actually arriving early instead of late like most)…and then living in the shadow of his brother all his life until his death and the arrival of unknown cousins. If i was put in his situation I don’t know what I would have done. And then, there is Hannah – married at a young age to an old codger…ewww, but who is now a widower, rich and still young enough to start over…it was for me a perfect pairing. I really enjoyed the dynamics between them, as well as seeing Hannah integrated into Con’s family – his female cousins (with the exception of Vanessa) taking her in and accepting her. But it was also refreshing to see that she wasn’t the meek, mild woman that seems so often to be portrayed in regency romances. Seeing Con make up with the estranged side of his family – of course, which resulted from stupid actions taken by him – was also a bonus in the book. I was honestly starting to think that the author was going to end the series with them still not talking to each other.

When it came to the narration, I was really leery at first when I saw who the narrator was. In fact, I had been known in the past, to bypass any books done by Ms Flosnik because of a previous bad experience. But then I was reading a Speaking of Audiobooks column and saw how she had taken various critiques and criticism to heart and was trying to adapt her narration, so I figured I would give her a chance. I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the tone and intonation of her narration, as well as the various voices for the different characters. In fact, I really don’t have a lot of bad things to say about the narration in general – which is surprising for me – I really enjoyed it. I don’t know if I will go back and re-listen to any of her older stuff in the future, but at the same time, I won’t shy away from her newer stuff either.

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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Book Review


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