by Mary Balogh

December 2005 Reissue
ISBN: 0-440-24297-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

A woman never knows to what lengths she will go in order to survive until she is forced to find out. Mary Balogh brings us a story of such a woman.

Her name was Fleur and she was a whore. Knowing she would eat for several days in a rented room brought little comfort to her. Survival, she has learned, does not assuredly bring triumph. How could it when it walked hand in hand with despair? As far as she’d fallen there was still more frightful depths that could be found. Thankfully, Fleur had not reached that point of no return.

Her first customer was a dark, intimidating man though he did not treat her roughly. His scarred body proved that he’d known the fight for survival as well. She would never forget the man who’d bought her virginity.

Adam Kent, Duke of Ridgeway, was unable to forget the woman he’d met outside the theater that fateful night. The memory of her haunted his every thought. Why should he feel guilty for taking the virginity of a whore? Had it not been him it would have been another man doing the deflowering. At least, Adam knew she was not mistreated her first time. It wasn’t ideal, but she had not been abused. He wouldn’t have that assurance with the man after him. Whether he liked it or not Adam did feel guilty and he would not stop until he found the woman with the soulful eyes. He would go so far as to create employment for her in his home as his daughter’s governess.

When Fleur was found and hired on as the governess she has no inkling that her employer was none other than her first and only customer. Once she found out Fleur instantly assumed he wanted her to be his mistress. The only way for Adam to prove that was not his intention was to start over with Fleur. They set forth on a tentative path that led to an unlikely friendship. Still, nothing was as simple as it might seem. Secrets lurk in the background and as most secrets do, they have a habit of finding their way into the light of day. The past catches up with the present. Will these two tortured souls obtain the happiness they deserve?

If you haven’t read Mary Balogh’s The Secret Pearl then rush out to your nearest bookstore and buy it. Within the pages you will find an irresistible love story that will warm your heart long after you’ve turned the last page.

Reviewed in November 2005 by Rho.

Read more reviews of Mary Balogh books.Click Here