In his absence I had found myself slipping, retreating into myself. And I was not certain he would like who I was becoming.
Reluctantly returning to London for yet another Season, shy Nora Hamilton has nearly given up hope that she will ever find the love match she longs for. After all, the one man she does harbor feelings for-her closest friend, James-has made it perfectly clear he views her as just that: a friend. With James traveling half a world away and Nora's father pressuring her to marry for wealth and status, Nora is forced to set aside her desire for love and accept the future she has always dreaded.
Until James returns unexpectedly and Nora's feelings once again rush unbearably close to the surface. Determined to save what is left of their friendship, Nora ignores her own heart and allows herself to be swept up in the London Season, soon finding herself the object of two very different gentlemen's affections. Though she should be thrilled, both men come with a glaring fault: neither is the one man who holds her heart.
But there is much more at stake than heartbreak. When long-kept secrets are laid bare, Nora must face the fears that have plagued her all her life and decide what true love is worth.
thoughts & feelings
About a month ago I decided to be a little more thoughtful about what I was reading. I have a stack (and I do mean a literal stack) of books that I need to read by certain deadlines and I often find myself getting caught up on the goal of reading books by specific dates. Don't get me wrong I LOVE getting books sent to me, it's a dream come true, but I hate feeling confined to my stack. So I decided to rotate what I was reading. One book from the pile then any book in my entire house. I have LOVED this method of reading and have been able to dive into some books that I have wanted to read for a long time.
My most recent adventure has been staring at me for far too long. I didn't want to forget about it so I kept it on a shelf in my bedroom...where I saw it day in and day out for a year...possibly longer. Secrets and Suitors by Joanna Barker was well worth the wait. This novel is absolutely incredible and the story line kept me on my toes.
The unpredictability of the novel was one of my favorite parts. I will try to explain without giving anything away so I apologize if this doesn't make any sense. Our leading lady, Nora, ends up having not one but THREE suitors during her Season. I found myself constantly comparing the gentlemen and listing them in the order in which I would be ok with Nora marrying them. Does anyone else do that? My poor third choice was the third choice for most of the novel and then he was the second choice. Then quickly found himself out of the running and with me not being ok if that's the "happily ever after" Nora was getting. It was basically a mental game of me "telling" Joanna Barker who I would allow Nora to end up with. Even though I have never spoken with Joanna Barker and the novel is already written. Does anyone else find themselves negotiating with the authors in their heads?
What surprised me about his novel was the father-daughter relationship. I can't think of very many books that have a captivating father-daughter relationship and I loved getting to see one. I found myself drawn to this relationship and emotionally investing in it, probably more than the love square(?) of suitors. I truly loved getting to see Mr. Hamilton's personality and life story unfold. He acts like I imagine quite a few father's of the time did but I love that we get to see why he acts the way he does and how his actions have affected the entire family. I won't ruin anything so I will simply say that I'm pretty sure you will love the parts featuring Nora and her father.
Secrets and Suitors is a truly amazing regency story that will keep you on your toes, reaching for the tissues, and fighting the urge to flip ahead a few page to make sure everything works out. You will love the story and the characters, I guarantee it.
serious illness, death of a family member (remembered)
Title: Secrets & Suitors
Author: Joanna Barker