Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Secret Lover - Julia London

Eight years after fleeing England in the wake of a terrible scandal, Sophie Dane is no longer the trusting debutante betrayed by love. Now as companion to a worldly French widow, she returns to London where her arrival instantly sets tongues wagging?and attracts the roving eye of aristocratic Trevor Hamilton. But it is his mysterious brother, Caleb, in whom Sophie senses a kindred soul--and who captivates her as no other man has before. Reared on the continent, Caleb has come home to his ailing father--only to be shunned by society as a fortune-hunting imposter. Sophie, alone, seems to believe in him. But an unexpected series of events sets them both in flight once more. As scandal pursues them to a remote ancestral estate, a man and a woman haunted by the past will defy every convention on earth for a future in each other's arms?

This book is part of the Rogues of Regent Street series but I think this one can be read as a standalone. This is the story of Sophie Dane, a young woman who, 8 years before our story begins as eloped and married a gentleman of the ton only to find herself at the hands of an abusive husband. Helped by her brother, one of the Rogues, she runs away, divorces him and goes to live in France as a result of the scandal.

She has been living as a companion of a lively and flamboyant woman who decides she wants to travel to England. Sophie does try to keep a low profile but she is recognised by some less than kind young ladies. However she starts being pursued by Trevor Hamilton, Lord Hamilton's son which gives her family hopes that she might marry and be accepted by the ton again.

While Sophie finds him polite, if a bit arrogant, she doesn't feel any particular attraction to him. She is given to walks in the Park where she meets a young man with whom she feels comfortable and that is later revealed as Trevor Hamilton's half brother and Lord Hamilton's bastard son.

There's a bit of a mystery surrounding Caleb, Trevor's half brother, we never know much about him and who his mother was and I think the story would definitely have been better if we had known more about his and Sophie's past. Just to make them more rounded characters and so that could feel more empathy towards them.

As it was I can't say I found them very interesting or that I cared about their problems. Sophie finds herself forced to choose between Trevor, her family's choice, and Caleb, the man she loves. And then there's the mystery of what really ails Lord Hamilton and why doesn't Trevor wants Caleb near him. Everything is solved to everyone's satisfaction in the end but I found it all very bland and truth be told, one week having after read it I'm having trouble remembering exactly what happened. I guess that says it all.

Grade: 3/5

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