Secrets of the Night (1999)
Author: Jo Beverly
Genre: Romance (Historical)
Rosamunde Overton, married to elderly Digby Overton, is desperate for a child. Overtonís nephew, Edward, is part of Cotterís radical religious sect and is anxious to take over Overtonís Wenscote estate. Without an heir, Edward will displace family and servants and destroy Rosaís agricultural programs and improvements. Looking for a one night stand in order to conceive, Rosa attends a masquerade ball but cannot find anyone to her liking. On the road back to Wenscote, she finds a man drugged, lying on the side of the road. Taking him in, she discovers both mental and physical connection to him. For saving his life, Brand Malloren wants to pay his debt to Rosa, who suggests a night together. He agrees and also falls in love with her; they spend a second night together. Rosa remains masked in Brandís presence in order to keep her identity a secret and protect her husband and future child (and out of embarrassment of her facial scars). Rosa drugs Brand and removes him from Wenscote. He tries to discover Rosaís identity and find her. Meanwhile, Brandís brother is sent to investigate the Cotterites and ends up near Wenscote. Brand is with him and meets Overton. Rosa is discovered, as is her pregnancy. Brand understands her need of the child and leaves, but asks Rosa to let him know if she ever needs help. Soon after, Edward stays at Wenscote, poisons Edward, and almost aborts Rosaís baby; however, Brand finds out and rescues Rosa. Edward is killed. Rosa leaves Wenscote, assumes another name, has the baby, and Brand claims the child as his from a mistress. Rosaís name remains untarnished; Brand and Rosa marry and care for their daughter.
Geographical Setting: Northern England and environs
Time Period: 1760s
Series: Malloren series
Graphic sex is in the first third of the book; the rest is fairly clean but the plot picks up with a complex story line involving religious sects, family treachery, murder, and courtly balls. Rosa is an intelligent woman who struggles with betraying her husband though he has consented to her brief affair. Secondary characters make many appearances. The tone is serious but with many humorous instances. Dialogue is important and characters are well-developed. Descriptions of England and the historical period are thoughtful and accurate.
Similar Authors: Amanda Quick
Red Flags: graphic sex; extramarital affairs