Bound by Their Secret Passion

Bound by Their Secret Passion

Book - 2017
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Harlequin

A forbidden attraction… A hidden desire! 

Years ago, penniless Lorene Summerfield wed for duty, giving her siblings the chance to marry for love. But now the generous-hearted countess finds herself widowed…and the man she's loved in silence for years is falsely accused of her husband's murder! 

Although he closed his heart to love long ago, the Earl of Penford has always found Lorene irresistible. Their newly ignited passion may be scandalous, but now he'll stop at nothing to clear his name and win Lorene's hand!



Publisher: Don Mills, Ontario, Canada : Harlequin Enterprises Limited, [2017]
ISBN: 9780373299256
0373299257
Branch Call Number: FIC GASTON
Characteristics: 281 pages ;,17 cm

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FindingJane
Aug 07, 2017

Romances share similarities in titles as well as plotlines. Words like “bound”, “secret”, “scandal”, “passion”, “conquest”, “taming” or “surrender” proliferate so widely, you wonder if these writers simply riffle through a hat filled with worded strips of paper to attach them to their works.

Insipid and forgettable title aside, this book manages a few surprises. The love affair doesn’t get going for quite some time, since the lady in question is already married and then a widow under very suspicious circumstances. It is this murder mystery that takes up quite a few chapters in the book, casting an unusual pall over the (un)merry widow and her would-be swain. In fact, it sets their relationship back quite a bit since they must part in order to remove suspicion that Dell may have killed Lord Tinmore in order to marry his wife.

I also found both characters to be highly uncommon in terms of their shared interests. Dell wants his burned-out family home renovated and Lorene turns out to be admirably gifted in terms of decorating. Lorene wants to maintain her newfound freedom and isn’t eager to marry again. Her husband was a brute and now she’s footloose and fancy-free; why rush to get married when everybody knows that rich widows can do exactly as they please?

But the real kicker to this novel is the return of Lady Summerfield, the mother of Lorene, her sisters and her half-brother. Years ago, Lady Summerfield blithely left her husband and children to take off with her lover, an action that rocked their society and cast an ugly taint of scandal over her family. Years later, after her husband dies, she roars down on England, determined to enjoy herself in society, to the pain of her shocked and aghast children.

Lady Summerfield is a towering force, a giddy, amoral creature who descends on her family as if she’s been gone for a few short months rather than years. She’s unapologetic, willful, headstrong, feisty, charming and doesn’t understand why her children aren’t ecstatic to see her. She makes one scandalous move after another in society, all the while insisting that she’s not doing anything wrong. She’s the most infuriating being but she pulls you reluctantly to her side with her insistence that love is worth any sacrifice.

With her looming large in the novel, Lady Summerfield propels certain events, forcing her daughter Lorene to reevaluate her life and her decision to remain a widow. I would have preferred that Lorene hang on to her unmarried state just a little longer; I too can understand the desire to maintain the freedom that comes of being single and in possession of your own fortune. Lorene and her mother have both had unhappy marriages. Why repeat the experience?

But Lady Summerfield finally accepts her lover’s desire to get hitched and Lorene caves as well. While it would have been a far more interesting novel if both women had stuck to their guns and remained free and carefree, romance novels, no matter how scandalous, will end always with lovers tying the knot. I guess such a resolution is as predictable as a romance novel title.

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