Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband.So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.
Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing—and persistent—admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition . . . but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.
Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon—and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses . . . and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.
This is the first in the wallflower series and sets the stage nicely for the next three books. The four main characters are distinct, yet they share the common bond of being hindered by their inability to conform to society at large, forcing them into wallflower status.
The prologue introduces the Annabelle and Simon Hunt in a unique way, which explains so much the animosity she shows him in the first few chapters. Annabelle is a ravishing beauty with her classic English looks, but she has no dowry as her father died unexpectedly leaving the family no means of a steady income. Kleypas does a great job of showing the struggles of women of the late 1800's while keeping her characters strong and in control.
The romantic lead, Simon Hunt, is a self-made man, which I love. He doesn't care about the opinions of they aristocracy. He was born a butcher's son, and he is proud of the fact that he came from humble beginnings. It's obvious from page one that he is taken with Annabelle, but the complexities of social status puts him at a distinct disadvantage. At times his pride makes him seem like a jerk, but then we are shown his softer side which makes him even more attractive. I also love that Kleypas allows the reader to grow with Annabelle as she discovers that there is life beyond the English peerage.
There where times that I felt the story dragged a bit. I'm used to stories that move at lightning speed, and Kleypas' style of writing is to languish, allowing the characters to move slowly through an experience. I've come to appreciate that and hope to explore that type of writing in my next project.
If you love settling in on a cold winter's night with a cup of coffee and a great romance novel, then Secrets of a Summer Night is just the book for you!
Posted by: Chi