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Secret for a Nightingale by Victoria Holt
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Secret for a Nightingale (original 1986; edition 1986)

by Victoria Holt

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282660,458 (3.5)4
Member:RGaryRasmussen
Title:Secret for a Nightingale
Authors:Victoria Holt
Info:1986, Doubleday, sb, 397 p
Collections:Book-051-Linda
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Tags:mass market

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Secret for a Nightingale by Victoria Holt (1986)

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» See also 4 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Susanna Pleydell is a beautiful, high-spirited young woman. As a young child living in India, she first became aware of her gift for healing the sick. It was truly a special gift that allowed her to soothe those in need. Yet Susanna willingly sacrifices her dream of helping others when she meets and marries the dashing and sophisticated Aubrey St. Clare.

It is only after the couple's marriage that Susanna learns something of Aubrey's true nature. When they return home to London, Susanna notices that her husband has suddenly and inexplicably changed: he reveals a darkly brooding and dangerous side; a disturbing infatuation with the occult and a penchant for opium. But most fearsome of all, is Aubrey's strange association with Dr. Damian Adair, a mysterious figure who exerts a sinister influence over her husband.

Susanna is terrified for both herself and her husband, and when Aubrey's frightening behavior eventually leads to tragedy, Susanna flees. In her mind, there is only one person to blame for all this horror - Damian Adair. She is determined to have her own vengeance against the man who effectively ruined her life.

Carefully guarding her past - keeping her dark secrets to herself - Susanna travels to the Middle East and lends her assistance during the Crimean War. She begins a completely new life as a nurse, working beside the legendary Florence Nightingale. It is in the Middle East where fate eventually brings the mysterious Dr. Adair back into her life.

And it is during her time spent in the Middle East that Susanna discovers a surprising truth about herself: her blazing desire for revenge has waned, becoming tempered with a baffling new emotion. Is it possible that her once unforgiving heart has seemingly changed; suddenly crossing the boundary between hate...and love?

First of all, let me say that while I have read a number of books written by this same author under two of her pseudonyms - Jean Plaidy and Phillppa Carr - I don't think I've read anything written under the pseudonym Victoria Holt. In my opinion, this story was unexpectedly complex and I enjoyed it very much. I give this book an A+! ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Jan 21, 2016 |
Read during Winter 2002/2003

Yet another that makes me say "No, don't do that" as I read it. Susanna marries Aubrey, who turns out to be a dissolute drug taker. She is amazingly naive to start and then carries a bitter hatred for the doctor whom she blames for her husband's addiction and child's death. This revenge carries her to nursing in the Crimean War under Florence Nightingale where she unaccountably falls in love with him and forgives him all the horrors she believes he is responsible for, though he freely admits to most of them. Her immense hatred is far-fetched and the complete turn around disturbing. Perhaps the most odd is her love interest makes no bones about his ruthelessness and arrogance and expects her to love him, not despite it, but for it. Not one of Victoria Holt's best.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
An interesting twist on Ms Holt's usual gothic romances. Susanna Pleydell falls for a dashing and sophisticated rich man named Aubrey St. Clare. At first their married life is ideal and their baby son is the center of her existence. But she finds a dark and evil side to her beloved husband that leads directly to the death of her baby, and then the death of her husband. She finds a focus for her hatred in the man she blames for the horror - Dr. Damien Adair.

Thus far, the story seems quite similar to others of this line. But as Susanna plots her revenge, she must find a purpose to go on living. She finds it in volunteering to to work for Florence Nightingale in Crimea. The historical aspects of this story are fascinating and advance the characters and plot in a most inspired way. Recommended. ( )
  MerryMary | Jul 26, 2012 |
NIL
  rustyoldboat | May 28, 2011 |
This was a different book and if it had not been Victoria Holt, I may not have finished it. The book is dark with death, war and drugs but there is a lot of compassion and good happenings. This is a time of Florence Nightingale and nurses. I was not quite sure how it would end as it could take many different turns but I did enjoy it. ( )
  mnleona | Oct 22, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Victoria Holtprimary authorall editionscalculated
Tahvanainen, LiisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
To my dear friend Patricia Myrer who first aroused my interest in Dr. Damien and the young woman who inevitably became involved in the Crimean War. In memory of many productive hours we have spent discussing my "people."
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On the night before my wedding I had a strange dream from which I awoke in terror.
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Book description
As a young girl in India, beautiful, high-spirited Susanna Pleydell had first became aware of her special gifts to soothe the sick. But she had sacrificed that calling when she married the dashing and sophisticated Aubrey St. Clare. When they return home to London, however, Aubrey has changed. Susanna discovers she has married a man with a weakness for opium and the occult. And even more menacing, Aubrey has met the sinister Dr. Damien Adar, whose hold over him is fierce and frightening...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449212963, Mass Market Paperback)

As a young girl in India, beautiful, high-spirited Susanna Pleydell had first became aware of her special gifts to soothe the sick. But she had sacrificed that calling when she married the dashing and sophisticated Aubrey St. Clare. When they return home to London, however, Aubrey has changed. Susanna discovers she has married a man with a weakness for opium and the occult. And even more menacing, Aubrey has met the sinister Dr. Damien Adar, whose hold over him is fierce and frightening....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:19 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Susanna is aware of her special gifts to soothe the sick. She puts aside her dream of helping others and marries dashing Aubrey St. Clare. But Aubrey is not what he seemed. He has a weakness for opium and the occult. Even more frightening is his association with Dr. Damien Adair, a powerful man with a sinister hold over her husband. When tragedy struck, it was Damien whom Susanna held responsible. Even as she fulfilled her dream of becoming a nurse, following Florence Nightingale to Crimea, it was Damien who haunted her dreams and who held the key to the most sinister secret of all.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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