Customer Review

107 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Balogh's very best; poignant and heartwrenching, August 26, 2002
This review is from: The Secret Pearl (Super Regency, Signet) (Mass Market Paperback)
There aren't many writers of historical romances - especially set in the English Regency period - who can make their heroine a prostitute, have the reader know about it right from the start of the book, and not only get away with it, but have the readers on the heroine's side from the beginning. But Balogh's done it, and more than once too. The Secret Pearl opens with Adam, Duke of Raybourne, emerging from the Drury Lane Theatre, parting from his friends, and seeing a sad-looking prostitute standing in the shadows. Something makes him approach her; despite the fact that she isn't throwing out any lures to him at all, he hires her. And, despite the fact that sleeping with prostitutes isn't something he makes a habit of, he takes her to a room in a run-down inn to use her.
This, we find, is Fleur's first night as a prostitute; having gone two days without food and unable to get a job, she has decided to sell the only remaining asset she has: herself. Her client, though, makes the experience almost as bad as it could possibly be: he is clinical and direct about what he wants, and - not knowing that Fleur is a virgin - he hurts her.
Afterwards, Adam does feel some guilt, and he feeds Fleur as well as giving her three times as much money as she asked for. And then he sends his secretary to ensure that she is offered a job - as governess to his daughter. His motives, he assumes, are simply philanthropic: he hates the thought of a gentlewoman down on her luck having to survive on the streets, and he feels guilty for not having realised before it was too late that she wasn't accustomed to her trade.
So Fleur takes up residence in the Duke of Raybourne's estate, delighted to have found a refuge both from her life in London and from the horrors from which she ran in the first place. Until the Duke of Raybourne comes home, and she discovers that he is the same man who fills her nightmares, the man who hurt her, the man who, in her dreams, rapes her nightly. And yet, as the days go by, he is also the man who comforts her, who protects her and who offers her a safe refuge.
And there are many more complications in what is already a complex story: Adam, of course, is married, and he is an honourable man who will not betray his marriage vows, despite his lapse in London - the only time he has ever been unfaithful. And Fleur is running from a murder charge. And her tormentor is even closer than she imagines.
Balogh creates a wonderful, believable portrait of what seems to be an impossible relationship. Adam, appallingly scarred both internally and externally as a result of Waterloo plus private torments, and who was cruelly rough with Fleur when he hired her as a prostitute, does not seem to be the ideal romantic hero - and yet he is, in every way. Fleur, a possible murderer, a prostitute, does not seem to be the ideal heroine, either - and yet she isn't at all what she seems, although she did certainly sell herself on the streets. But how is it possible that she could fall in love with the man who haunts her nightmares? How could a decent, married man fall in love with another woman? But Balogh pulls it off so convincingly that I could barely put the book down.
The Secret Pearl is a classic which will have you reading breathlessly, eager to find out what happens next. It's poignant, heartwrenching and utterly romantic, and it's a classic. I can't for the life of me imagine why Balogh's current publisher hasn't tried to reissue this; it would be yet another best-seller for her. As it is, the best you can do is to buy it second-hand, if you can get hold of it - and that's not easy, because those of us who do have it will NOT let go of it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 11, 2011 5:09:21 PM PST
CoffeeGurl says:
I totally agree with your review. I love this story and how believable the romance was. But Adam was the Duke of Ridgeway, not Raybourn. Just thought I'd point that out. :)
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

4.1 out of 5 stars (112 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (61)
4 star:
 (23)
3 star:
 (13)
2 star:
 (4)
1 star:
 (11)
 
 
 
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist
Reviewer


Location: Canada

Top Reviewer Ranking: 58,178