Title: Secrets of a Summer Night
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Published: 2004, Avon
Category: Historical Romance
I'm way behind on my posting. I've been busy with visitors and celebrations. But I will definitely catch up this weekend.
I've never read Kleypas before. I picked this one up because it seems like every time I read a review of one of her books, it's either a rave or a complete trashing. Few romances elicit such response. But I have to say I'm puzzled, because I thought this was a really ordinary romance. Not great, but not horrible either.
This is the first in Kleypas's Wallflower series. Four books each about a woman who's having trouble catching a husband in 1840s England. The heroine of this book is Annabelle Peyton, who has no dowry, and therefore no offers of marriage. And time is running short for her. She meets Simon Hunt and is attracted to him, but she doesn't consider him husband material because he is from a lower social class. A commoner who has made a fortune investing in railroads.
The only thing that sets this book apart is the fact that the hero is not some duke or earl. The novel shows that in this time period the landed gentry was losing some of its hold over higher economic and social spheres. The Industrial Revolution was well on its way. Savy businessmen from humble backgrounds were still looked down upon maybe, but they couldn't be ignored. Once Annabelle realizes this, she goes for Simon and his big bucks. (Of course, it's a romance novel, so she loves him too, but riches never hurt.)
Two more in this series are out: It Happened One Autumn and Devil in Winter. Scandal in Spring is due out this summer. I have no great desire to read them.