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The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh

The Secret Pearl

by Mary Balogh

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This books, a Mary Balogh classic from 1991, is gripping, dark, and ultimately uplifting.

In the opening chapter, a man hires a young, sad looking woman outside Covent Garden and proceeds to have swift and rather brutal sex with her, realizing only after it's too late that she is a virgin. Afterward, he is haunted by the memory and sends his secretary to track her down. Upon his master's order, the secretary hires her to be a governess to the master's five-year-old daughter. It's hard to know what to think of this man, who turns out to be Adam Kent, the Duke of Ridgeway. We gradually learn, however, that he is a kind, caring, morally decent man married uphappily to a woman who loathes him and cares not a whit for their daughter.

Fleur, our heroine, does not realize who her benefactor is until after she's ensconced at the duke's country estate. Her reaction to him is one of loathing and fear, but gradually she learns to trust him and eventually to love him.

The story is sweet but filled with obstacles -- not just romance-novelly frivolous obstacles -- but serious problems. The ultimate HEA is so touching that I found myself puddling up, which almost never happens to me when reading HR.

Highly recommended. ( )
  LadyWesley | Sep 25, 2013 |
ereader ebook
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
"The Secret Pearl" is heartwrenching, tender, and lovely; it is also, as I realized about halfway through the novel, an out-and-out adapation of "Jane Eyre" - the plot is different, but all the characters are there, and with somewhat remarkable fidelity.

In fact, the bare outlines of the plot of Jane Eyre come floating in and out of "The Secret Pearl" - Rochester's disfigurement after the fire is re-written as Adam's Waterloo wounds; mad Bertha is reincarnated as a sickly, bitter wife that Adam treats with the tortured kindness that one expects from Rochester; the half-orphan upbringing and harsh schooling, through which Jane learned self-reliance and ladylike skills, teaches Fleur the same lessons; St. Claire, the too-good-to-be-true long lost cousin of Jane's, makes an apperance as the angelic curate, Daniel. Adele, the neglected daughter, finds new life in Pamela & even Miss Ingram makes a brief apperance as Lady Underwood

It's a remarkable sort of homage, in fact, because "The Secret Pearl" reads very much like a standard contemporary romance; the language is modern, the plot has the same blend of adventure and romance that one grows to expect from a modern romance. It's only if you look that the homage to Bronte is clear, but once you see it it's really as touching as the novel itself.

Because Adam and the heroine, Fleur, really do act exactly like Rochester and Jane in a new novel...and the tenor of their romance, the mixture of Adam's painstaking correctness and his sudden flashes of warmth and intimacy, Fleur's whole character which captures exactly the mix of fragility and tremendous strength that makes Jane Eyre such a lovable heroine two hundred years later...Adam calls Fleur a survivor a number of times, and that's exactly why Jane was so remarkable.

They even sometimes have conversations that paraphrase conversations that Jane and Rochester had.

I have to say. I've had a low opinion of Mary Balogh in the past & this novel revises it. It's clever, but it's also heartfelt and emotionally very subtle. Adam and Fleur are admirable, their love is sincere, it faces real challenges and Balogh constructs a plot that gives it the time to develop and grow before the final, satisfying conclusion. Bravo. ( )
  MlleEhreen | Apr 3, 2013 |
This was my first Mary Balogh book. The premise sounded promising, but the execution was underwhelming. The writing was a bit stilted—it didn’t have to be a masterpiece, but the writing shouldn’t ‘get in the way’ of enjoying the book. Perhaps my focus on sentence construction is indicative of how the story failed to grip me in any way. The first quarter of the book was tedious and slow to get going, focusing for too long on Fleur's thoughts on her big decision and dwelling a bit too much on descriptions of the stupid estate. The tension between the hero and heroine saved the story in the middle. Yet by the time we got to the last quarter of the book, it started to get not only tedious, but also repetitive, and finally, cheesy. I kind of resent having made the foolish decision to continue to waste my day reading this when there are so many other books to read. ( )
  Samchan | Mar 31, 2013 |
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For Rita Latham, Mary Balogh, and Erma Gallagher, my sisters-in-law, with love.
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The crowd outside the Drury Lane Theater had dispersed for the night.
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Book description
The first encounter between Fleur Hamilton and the Duke of Ridgeway outside the Drury Lane Theater one night is ugly and sordid. She is a prostitute, he her customer. When they meet again, she is in his own home as governess to his daughter. His wife, the duchess, lives there too. That love should grow between Fleur and the duke seems improbable. That their love can have a future seems quite impossible.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440242975, Mass Market Paperback)

Mary Balogh has no equal when it comes to capturing the complex, irresistible passions between men and women. Her classic novel, The Secret Pearl, is one of the New York Times bestselling author’s finest–a tale of temptation and seduction, of guarded hearts and raw emotion…and of a love so powerful it will take your breath away….

He first spies her in the shadows outside a London theatre, a ravishing creature forced to barter her body to survive.

To the woman known simply as Fleur, the well-dressed gentleman with the mesmerizing eyes is an unlikely savior. And when she takes the stranger to her bed, she never expects to see him again. But then Fleur accepts a position as governess to a young girl…and is stunned to discover that her midnight lover is a powerful nobleman. As two wary hearts ignite–and the threat of scandal hovers over them–one question remains: will she be mistress or wife?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:20 -0400)

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Fleur, a former prostitute, takes a job as a governess to a young girl where she meets a former client who she discovers is a powerful nobleman.

» see all 3 descriptions

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