It seems like people have been telling me forever that I need to try a Lisa Kleypas historical. Better late than never, I finally got around to taking their advice, and I have to say –they were right. This book was great.
Annabelle is a beautiful young lady whose family is on the brink of financial ruin. Since her father’s death, she, her mother and brother have been in a slow decline from the aristocratic lifestyle they knew. Now, their bills are past due, there is nothing left to sell and this is Annabelle’s last season. She would definitely be a good wife to any peer, but she has no dowry, and because of that, her prospects are dim. The only man who seems to really want her is Simon, a wealthy commoner who will never be accepted among the ton.
Simon hasn’t been able to stop thinking about Annabelle since they met two years ago, but she wants nothing to do with him. He’s too blunt. Too candid. And he’ll never be a gentleman. But it’s looking like no other man is going to marry her. In fact, rumors are flying that she’ll have to become someone’s mistress, so why not his? He has more money than the others. So he redoubles his efforts to get under her skin.
Annabelle has one more chance to find a husband, and she’s not going to let anything stop her. In fact, she teams up with the other wallflowers in a joined force to meet her goal. The book follows that growing friendship and their efforts to land Annabelle a lord. This, as Simon proves he is someone who can’t be ignored and won’t be denied.
I adored the dynamic between Annabelle and her new friends. All of these women are so different, so hopeless when it comes to finding the husbands they want. But they are so good for each other. It’s great to see a pure, supportive female friendship like this. They make each other happy and strong. Together, they are more than the sum of their parts –and I hope to see this theme continue in other books of the series.
As for the romance, you might be worried you won’t like Annabelle for her dismissal of Simon as a match at first, but she warms up to him pretty fast. I enjoyed her realization that she actually liked him. It was great seeing their friendship develop amid their banter and games of chess. And I loved that Annabelle accepted her own feelings once she recognized them. There are times you can see how very aware of class she is. For me, it didn’t make me dislike her, though, because most of it stays in her head and she realizes what matters over the course of the story.
Simon is a sexy and smart hero. He could have easily pushed Annabelle into something she didn’t want, but he proved to be better than that. I loved how totally far gone he was over her, and it didn’t take any kind of life or death peril for them to come together. That’s not to say there is no peril… it just comes later.
I don’t want to give everything away, but there is a lot this book has going for it. And it sets the stage wonderfully for book two. I can’t wait to see more fire between Lillian and Marcus.
Click to purchase: Amazon
Secrets of a Summer Night
by Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: October 13, 2009