Title: Lady Catherine’s Secret
Author: Sheridan Jeane
Series: Secrets and Seduction #2
Genre: Victorian Romance
Despite Lady Catherine’s love of fencing, she needs to stop pretending to be a boy and fraternizing with men…but not until after the fencing tournament! Her mother plans to marry her off by the end of the season, so this will be her last chance to enjoy her freedom. When she impulsively puts her reputation at risk to save the life of a dashing competitor, all seems lost when he sees through her disguise, but he vows never to reveal her secret. Thank goodness for gentlemanly honor!
Daniel, Marquess of Huntley, wants to overcome the rumors of his father’s madness so that he can be embraced by London society. His plan is to marry the most proper woman who will have him, and then raise stable, respectable children. He certainly isn’t interested in some hoyden with a penchant for masquerading as a boy and flaunting society’s rules. In fact, he’d prefer to keep his distance.
When an obsessed suitor discovers Catherine’s secret and threatens blackmail, the only path out of social ruin is marriage. But what kind of protection does matrimony provide when a vengeful suitor is plotting the ultimate revenge?
Source: Review copy from the author via email
This was a pleasant historical read, with a nice romance between the protagonists, rather a lot of fencing terminology and a little bit of action towards the end. It’s slow-moving throughout and the romance never quite gripped me as much as I’d hoped. The plot meanders about a bit too, making me think we were going in one direction, before actually going somewhere else.
Such as the tension between Grey and the Wentworth on their first meeting. I expected at least something to come of this, and was kind of sad when it didn’t. I also expected more trouble from Daniel’s previous choice for marriage. That definitely looked like it was leading somewhere, with rumours about his potential father-in-law, but nope, instead the main focus is Catherine.
Which isn’t a bad thing. I really liked Catherine, she’s different and confident, a modern-thinking miss who still managed to just about work in a Victorian setting. I really liked that there was a good reason for why she started fencing, and that it provided a link between her and her father (who I wish we’d seen in the book, I really liked the sound of him). Admittedly, the fencing itself was a bit too technical to be all that enjoyable for me, and I wanted her to use it at some point outside the training room, so was kind of sad that she didn’t, but at least she had a real secret and plenty of reasons to keep it.
The romance between her and Daniel is pretty slow going, with only a few meetings here and there, but when they do meet their connection and chemistry is nice. It might have been even nicer if there had been more meetings, and the engagement wasn’t quite so rushed. I had expected a touch more about Daniel’s father’s madness too, and his own intention to never fall for anyone, but by the time we reach that part of the novel the vengeance plot sort of takes over, leaving the emotional issues far behind. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since far too many books get caught up in a hero’s terrible parental issues that mean he must Never Fall In Love! on pain of derangement, dismemberment, death, etc, but still, a slightly less immediate change of tack might have been nice.
So it’s not perfect. What it is, though, is an enjoyable read about a different kind of historical heroine and a surprisingly understanding hero. The characters are nice, the plot certainly keeps itself busy, and although slow at times I never found it boring. In all it was a pleasantly enjoyable read. I’d love to read more about Catherine’s siblings some time, since I really liked both of them. For now, though, I shall be content with reading about Wentworth, since his book is up next.
Lady Catherine’s Secret is Out Now!
Visit Sheridan Jeane for more details.