Secrets of a Summer Night (The Wallflowers, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – December 29, 2015
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From the Back Cover
Four young ladies at the side of the ballroom make a pact to help each other find husbands . . . no matter what it takes
Proud and beautiful Annabelle Peyton could have her pick of suitors—if only she had a dowry. Her family is on the brink of disaster, and the only way Annabelle can save them is to marry a wealthy man. Unfortunately her most persistent admirer is the brash Simon Hunt, a handsome and ambitious entrepreneur who wants her as his mistress.
Annabelle is determined to resist Simon's wicked propositions, but she can't deny her attraction to the boldly seductive rogue, any more than he can resist the challenge she presents. As they try to outmaneuver each other, they find themselves surrendering to a love more powerful than they could have ever imagined. But fate may have other plans—and it will take all of Annabelle's courage to face a peril that could destroy everything she holds dear.
- Item Weight : 6.7 ounces
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060091293
- Publisher : Avon; The Wallflowers, Book 1 edition (December 29, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #53,657 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I have to say, re-reading this was like reading a brand new book! I'd literally forgotten everything except the very basics.
Annabelle is a strong heroine in my opinion. Many don't seem to like her, but her family is in a dire and desperate situation. Her mother has literally been prostituting herself to pay the bills. Annabelle's only hope is to marry a rich, and hopefully, titled man otherwise she will have to become a mistress herself. She makes friends with the other wallflowers and they scheme to help her find/trap a husband. Some of the things she says or does isn't what an honest person would usually do, but she is so desperate to save her family from destitution that she's willing to do almost anything. I was thankful for Annabelle's inner dialogue for it showed me that she felt remorse for her less than honest actions and showed that she was a good natured person. And ultimately, she's not able to go through with it all because of her dishonesty and guilt.
Enter Simon! He has been around since the beginning but the way Ms. Kleypas had him right there to swoop in and fix everything was perfect. He's an interesting hero. Not all good but not all bad either. And definitely more good than bad. I was very glad that he offered to marry Annabelle and she agreed, verses him purposefully compromising her (though that is the reason they use for their rushed marriage and Annabelle agrees so I had no problem with it).
The sexy times are very sexy but are the perfect mix of emotion and physical. There's a scene where the other wallflowers are asking Annabelle about her intimate experience ("we promised to tell each other everything!") and I think Ms. Kleypas perfectly describes how sex should feel between a man and woman who are in love. I really appreciated that.
I am off to start a re-read of the next book!
I love the idea of the Wallflowers bonding together to help each other get married. I have already read others in this series but felt I should go back and start at the beginning.
This was a slow burn but a very good one!! I LOVE the idea of house parties, because that's where all the fun, action and bonding come from. Simon was an excellent hero and I loved him and grew to love Annabelle as she just wanted to take care of her family. She grew in character greatly and the end just left me thinking for hours afterwards. It's a pretty intense situation that leaves us no doubt how Annabelle feels about Simon.
The characters are definitely realistic, flawed people. H tries to be a good husband; h wants to be a good wife. They have definite chemistry. Yet I can’t help worry about the h’s feelings for the H long term. She loves him, she’d die rather than leave him... but I think the h is still going to be sad that she’s not included by society. That’s going to cause problems for her and the H.
Not only the main characters are wonderful but the secondary ones are very interesting too so it's great to know that each of the friends has her own book.
When I read historical romances with this particular theme of the impoverished family without a father I'm just so happy that I live in this time period and not theirs because it's scary to think the lack of options women had and the way men would take advantage of them. It's so easy to criticize the decisions that some times women had to make but it must have been awful to be in a society that did not let women be educated and that if you actually worked they would look down on you.
I highly recommend this book it's romantic, steamy, funny and much much more.
Top reviews from other countries
It's the "heroine". I didn't like her. Such a simple thing but there you go. My enduring love for some books is down to the fact that I want to be besties with the female lead, stemming from the first time I read Pride and Prejudice- who just didn't adore Elizabeth Bennett. Smart, witty, kind, a loving sister, a "feminist", you became invested in her success.
Maybe it was the way Annabelle's character was developed but I just couldn't connect with her. Yes she was beautiful but I found her immature, uninteresting and apart from looks couldn't see what would have attracted Simon to her so strongly. I liked Simon, he was like a more roguish, alpha John Thornton but Annabelle is no Margaret Hale. Apart from being broke what struggles had she to overcome, apart from her very snobbish treatment of Simon originally and her annoying repetition of her need to marry a peer. And as for trying to entrap one? It just didn't seem to fit with her character or maybe it did, that's how little I felt I understood her.
I'm debating whether to try the next. Lillian annoys me to no end, but Westcliff intrigues me. I don't think that's enough for me though. A good romance novel needs a good female lead that you care about. Edie I think has the most potential so I might skip to sampling her story.
Overall, Good for passing the time in the hair salon.
Annabelle's explanation to Simon about her reasons for her actions in extreme circumstances [at the end of the book] is one of the sweetest, most poignant pieces of writing - something everyone with a life partner thinks but probably never puts into words!
Annabelle is desperately trying to find herself a husband. Her father died of heart failure and the family fortune has been dwindling ever since. She is in her fourth season attending Societies Balls etc. but no husband has been forthcoming. Simon Hunt, whom she met for the first time with her brother outside the theatre has also attended these balls but Annabelle has had no interest in him. He is a self made man and is only tolerated with the aristocracy because he a rich and wealthy.
Simon Hunt is very attracted to Annebelle and very aware of her dwindling fortunes. He is also aware that the "hounds" are trailing after Annabelle's heels. Not because they want to marry her but for what they can get when her fortunes are no more and she becomes desperate. They are all vying for her to become their mistress. Simon is not happy about this and is determined to do something about it.
When Annabelle returns home one night after a ball, she encounters the horrible Lord Hodgeham who has been "entertaining" Phillipa, Annabelle's mother. Lord Hodgeham has been paying off certain family debts in favour of Phillipa's services, much to Annebelle's horrified discovery.
Annabelle and her mother travel to Hampshire to Lord Westcliffe's estate. There she meets the other three wallflowers...girls who are in a similar un-marrigeable state. They have devised a plan to acquire a husband for Annabelle. To Annabelle's horror she finds that Simon Hunt is also a guest at the Westcliffe's.
Simon Hunt is biding his time, he is attracted to Annabelle but realises that she is husband hunting and has set her sites on Lord Kendal. He waits patiently.
While at the Westcliffe's she comes face to face with the one man she loathes and fears, Lord Hodgeham. He makes it known to her that she is the one who he wants and not her mother but luckily for Annabelle, poor Phillipa manages to divert his interest away from her daughter.
Annabelle slowly comes to realise that it is not Lord Kendal she wants and eventually tells him so. Simon Hunt steps up to offer Annabelle his hand in marriage and she accepts....reluctantly. They marry, but not all is well. Annabelle has to overcome the feeling of not being accepted by either Society...High society or the realms that Simon Hunt travels.
A novel well worth reading.