Review: A Lady’s Secret by Jo BeverleyFriday, May 2, 2008 13:00
Reading the last book in a series is always a bit daunting, especially if you haven’t been following said series. But some genres pull off series books that act as standalones better than do others. That’s why, when Sybil asked me to read Jo Beverley’s latest, A Lady’s Secret I figured it wouldn’t matter so much if the book was set in her popular Malloren world, which I’d never visited before, because it’s a historical and I figured it’d stand alone.
For the most part, this book works well as a standalone. Petra D’Avirio and Robin Fitzhenry are a great hero and heroine. I liked them, and I liked the Georgian setting.
Petra D’Avirio is fleeing France and needs to get to England quick, fast and in a hurry because she’s being pursued by a ruthless and somewhat less than upstanding suitor. To foil her pursuers, she disguises herself as a nun, and it’s when she stops at an inn with Lady Sodworth, the horrible woman she’s traveling with that she meets Robin. Robin is intrigued by this soberly dressed nun at a french innyard cursing in Italian and wanting to go to England. On a lark, he agrees to help her, and the book becomes a very interesting road romance, in which Petra and Robin have to test their mettle and fight their attraction.
The first half was awesome. Petra is discomfited by Robin, who is a lighthearted, cheerful smart ass. She is undeniably attracted to him, and knows if she pursued him, that would be a very bad thing. Robin, in his turn, wants to pry out all of Petra’s secrets. There are a lot of adventures in which each rescues the other a couple of times, and my attention was caught.
The second half of the book falters. Primarily, this is because Petra and Robin spend a huge chunk of the book apart. I suspect that, if I’d read the other Malloren books, I would have enjoyed the fact that they all get trotted out at various points. Instead, I rolled my eyes at yet another author choosing unwieldy, pretentious names for the men in her universe, none of whom really seemed all that fleshed out.
The large amount of time spent apart also didn’t really help the romance. The declaration of love at the end didn’t quite work for me, because I just didn’t think the characters had had enough quiet moments where they were each being honest with each other, so I wasn’t all that invested in the romance.
I suspect that this book will work a lot better for readers familliar with Beverley’s oeuvre, but it was just OK for me.
When Robin Fitzvitry, the fun-loving Earl of Huntersdown, encounters a cursing nun in a French inn, he can’t resist the mystery. He offers to help Sister Immaculata reach England, expecting only amusement on the tedious journey home from Versailles. Petra d’Averio is not exactly a nun, though she has spent years in an Italian convent with her widowed mother. Her mother’s death has left her in danger and she must find the only person who might protect her—her true father, an English lord who does not even know she exists. This gorgeous young aristocrat will be a dangerous ally, but she’s glimpsed her pursuers and must race to the coast. She will resist him, use him, and eventually escape him with virtue and secrets intact. She hopes….
You can read an excerpt here.