Review: A Lady's Secret

Rating: 3 / 5

In Jo Beverley's A Lady's Secret, Robin, the Earl of Huntersdown, is returning to England from Versailles when he comes across a swearing nun. Convinced that the beauty in nun costume is an adventuress, he offers to provide her an escort looking forward to some amusement over a long journey.

Petra D'Averio or Sister Immaculata, aforementioned nun, is at wits' end. Rejected by Milanese society since she is the bastard of an English lord, she has no friends to support her after her mother's death. She needs to find her father before her old lover Count Ludovico, can capture her. After meeting carefree and rakish Robin she's unsure if she's leaping from the frying pan into the fire. But, she accepts Robin's help and the rest is a sort of comedy of errors on the journey with villainous Italians, murderous peasants, a papillon dog and a hero and heroine whose secrets are revealed over the course of the journey.

The book was likable and entertaining enough that I didnt stop reading. It has some humorous moments, fun banter between the principals and a clever spin on an old nursery rhyme (Who Killed Cock Robin). But, I'm a bit tired of all the stereotypical contrivances of this genre. And I'm sick of rakes who spend the entire book lusting after the heroine or pages full of sexual innuendo only to suffer from instant regret once the deed is done.

The hero, Robin or Cock Robin is one of those beta heroes I think. Much like the crowing cock, he makes grand promises to the heroine to protect her and falls flat. Often. His only saving grace is he is charming. Petra is a good character, she's gutsy and well able to take care of herself. Since, Petra saves herself each time, it beats me why she is in love with Mr. Cocky. And then we have a married villain pursuing Petra across Italy, France and England only to make her his mistress. Illogical, much? Even Petra wonders why.

I've read Ms. Beverly's medieval romances before and they were good reads. If you want to start off with her, I'd say pick those up.


magicalsummer said...

refreshing to see an unabashed lover of romantic fiction!
coming to your review - makes promises, only to fall flat, often, and to have more than enough charm to compensate - this hero is surely modelled on what i call the 'new cad in town' hmmm... definitely material for another post!

Anonymous said...

You surely have an indefatiguable appetite for offbeat fare :) The links were interesting.

Smita said...

Ah!!! "bit tired of all the stereotypical contrivances of this genre" So true...I dunno why romance has to be written this way only....

I guess chic lits are also coming to the saturation point with all books being similar to a large extent....

Will look out for the books you've mentioned at the end...

Needless to say fantastic review nd analysis :-)

Bouncing-Bubble said...

crispy yet informative review.

eye-in-sty-in said...

Rake was an interesting read! Thanks for the link.

couchpapaya said...

hi all, thanks for dropping in. have limited to no internet connectivity this week. will reply in detail and catch up on all my reading next week!!!

Mama-mia said...


i somehow never pocked up romances! i guess it had to do with the fact that i read whatever was availble at home. and book buying was done by Dad!

maybe i should just try some! nahi?!

great review woman!



avdi said...

Wonderful wordplay by you. Quit reading - start writing - we would love a romance, thank you.

couchpapaya said...

mags - yay, am glad to provide u the idea, will look fwd to the post!!

roflindian - glad to expand ur romance vocab :D

smita - yeah i burnt myself out on the chicklit genre quite a while ago. this is why i find myself sticking to romance nowadays, the romance novel has so many forms, if u find urself reading the same it's quite easy to jump to another.

bubbles - i dont think it's ur style ... did u read heyer btw ?

couchpapaya said...

EISI - like i said before, always happy to educate :D

abha - yup, it's the right time to start, the romance novel has gone through many forms and right now is at it's best. u've been warned tho, dont start with this one :)

avdi - give me an idea and i'll start ... :(

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