Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Secret Love (Bar Cynster, #5)” as Want to Read:
A Secret Love (Bar Cynster, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Secret Love (Cynster #5)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  6,680 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
When a mysterious lady, her face hidden by a black veil, begs Gabriel Cynster for his help, he cannot refuse her plea. For despite her disguise, Gabriel finds the woman alluring and he is powerless to deny her. But he exacts payment as only a Cynster would demand: with each piece of information he uncovers, she must pay him in the form of a kiss. Lady Alathea Morwellan kno ...more
Paperback, 421 pages
Published April 5th 2007 by Piatkus Books (first published 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Secret Love, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Secret Love

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia QuinnSlightly Dangerous by Mary BaloghIt Happened One Autumn by Lisa KleypasLord of Scoundrels by Loretta ChasePractice Makes Perfect by Julie James
Heroes Like Mr. Darcy
20th out of 66 books — 161 voters
Second Chance Cinderella by Carla CapshawGolden Daughter by Anne Elisabeth StenglHer Hesitant Heart by Carla KellyVixen by Jillian LarkinIngenue by Jillian Larkin
Why we don't dress like that? (Part 11)
20th out of 108 books — 15 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
A three-star rating for a book I didn't finish? Really?

Well, the thing is that this book was pretty darn good for the first 3/4 or so. Then it was done, but the author didn't seem aware of the fact. I tried to stay with her throughout all the tedious questing for the three magic words, but there were only so many times and so many ways the heroine could say (or think), "He's honorable, passionate, sexy, a great friend, and I love him but he hasn't said he loved me so I can't marry him" before I
Jun 27, 2016 Chitra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Alathea, the ideal daughter, has given up her dreams and become a spinster to help her family. When she finds them in financial ruin, she decides to pretend to be a widow countess and take help from her childhood friend turned nemesis, Gabriel under a disguise, and what follows is a beautiful love story.
I loved the chemistry, the deception, the strength of the characters, and ofcourse their very hot lovemaking scenes. I especially enjoyed once Gabriel realizes his feel
Jul 05, 2012 Gaby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, romance, historical
Oh My Books!

I believe this is my first book from Stephanie Laurens, pero now I know why she's one of the favorite historical romance writers.

Alathea Morwellan has a huge problem. Her family's fortune is on danger. She's the only one who can save her family, like always, but she knows she need help from her friend, Gabriel Cynster.

Gabriel Cynster is, like every Cynster, looking for adventure. When a sexy woman asks for his help, he's is glad to help receiving kisses for payment. He doesn't know w
Sep 12, 2009 Joy rated it it was amazing
Loved it!!! Definitely 5 stars ++!!! Devil may be my favorite Cynster, but so far this is my favorite story. I've always liked childhood friends turning to sweethearts because in those old relationships, new things could be discovered. I don't mean offense to the author but this heroine has the most beautiful name, and I loved her character too. Gabriel, in terms of nicknames, has the most angelic one as it does not concern anything evil unlike the other Bar Cynsters (Devil, Scandal, Demon, Luci ...more
3.5 stars
Once again continuing on with the Cynster family with some friends in Romance Lovers for the Challenge-Impaired. We're talking about it over here. I was again hoping to be impressed, but Gabriel was really just another Cynster like the others before him. Same type. Sure, I imagined him as all sexy and stuff, but as far as his high-handedness and controlling ways, yep, he's a Cynster. Not necessarily a bad thing, the whole family has these similar traits, but Gabriel wasn't my favorite. Alathea w ...more
Head in the clouds
Dammnit I really wanted to like this...but it is missing that romance and that spark, and that magic that draws me in and makes me care for the characters. It feels like I am reading a poorly scripted soap opera - and people are going through the motions but there is little to anchor them emotionally. I can see where I am supposed to feel the passion - but I don't - I just want to get it over with.
Ivana Azap
Jan 18, 2015 Ivana Azap rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nice story, liking it ;)
Recommendations :D
Author: Stephanie Laurens
First published: 2000
Length: 374 pages
Setting: London, 1820 (Regency).
Sex: Explicit. Reasonably frequent. Appropriate for the storyline.

Ah, that's better. This is what a good regency romance should be.

A good story with hot sex that's appropriate to the (more mature) characters. A believable romance with an HEA we know will last. Two strong individuals who, together, are more.

Back to the quality of Devil's Bride.

Cynster Family Saga Series, Bar Cynster:
3 stars

The concept that drove this story was a little weird but I went with it. The story had a solid and entertaining beginning but somewhere around the 70% mark it all started to get boring and unbelievable, especially the ending itself. And the romance itself was just kind of meh. Ok, so it wasn't my favorite but it was ok.
Apr 20, 2015 Clare rated it it was amazing
20 April 2015: Ah re-read time. I've just read through my previous review (please see below) and most of my points still hold valid. However, I am moved this time round to point out that Gabriel (bless him) must be incredibly stupid. You meet a mysterious "countess", you are fairly sure she is lying about a lot of things but for some reason you take her word she is a widowed countess and don't question it. OK. But then you realise she looks really familiar. She is very tall, unusually so, and yo ...more
A Secret Love
3 Stars

When Lady Alathea Morwellan learns that her loving yet gullible father has inadvertently risked the family fortune on an obvious scam, she seeks the aid of her childhood nemesis, Gabriel Cynster. Convinced that Gabriel would refuse her request, Alathea dons the disguise of a mysterious veiled woman and in doing so incites not only his curiosity but his passion as well. Will Alathea be able to keep her secret and can she withstand Gabriel’s wrath when he learns the truth?

Oleta Blaylock
Feb 05, 2013 Oleta Blaylock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't remember this story and I know that I read it when I read the rest of the series. I do remember the first little bit of it but the rest of the story is a blank. I do like that we got to see more of Chillingworth. He is such a character and I am glad that Ms. Laurens wrote a story for him. I also like that we got to see so much of Alathea's family and the life of getting girls ready for their debut to society. There is also more of the things a family might have done for entertainment in ...more
Jul 04, 2011 Vivian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite romance novels of all time! This is the book that made me fall in love with the "childhood friends/romance" plot, but really, no other books with that plot have come up to snuff with this one. I keep trying, but I guess I'll just have to keep rereading this one. I would elaborate on the plot, but I don't want to spoil anything. Highly highly recommend!
Apr 13, 2013 Mara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, historical
2 1/2
A standard fare in romance. It was fun too. Unfortunately my experience was somewhat marred by the clear tricks to keep the story going. There were three jarring moments for me that took me out of the flow of the story.

1) At the beginning, when the author was setting up the romance, there really was no reason for the heroine to go with Gabriel at the meeting to frame the villain. As a scene it was clearly absurd and there only so he can seduce her. He may not know her, but she knows him per
Bronwyn Rykiert
Gabriel,aka Rupert, is the next in line to get married. At least that's what everyone is saying. His cousin Demon has just gotten married to Flick and now its only Gabriel and his brother Lucifer left of the unmarried Cynsters and they plan to stay that way. That is until Gabriel meets a mysterious woman in a black veil. She needs his help desperately but has taken great pains to keep her identity a secret from him. He must never find out that she is old friend/adversary Lady Alathea.

Alathea's f
My favorite Stephanie Laurens book. I read it often, not sure why it's my favorite but I do love it. Lady Alathea Morwellen has been protecting her family's financial fortunes for years, ever since her father first brought them to the brink of collapse during her first season. Since then, her life has been on pause.
Gabriel Cynster grew up next to Alathea but the two haven't been friendly for over a decade. However, Alathea needs help and she knows that Gabriel is her best choice. So she concocts
I just adore this series.
The stubborn Cynster males vs. the strong females! I've gotten attached to the Cynster ways, to have and to hold, only letting their wives ride with them in the carriage around the park, only waltzing with their wives...just too adorable.
I really enjoyed Alathea and Gabriel's story, the fact that they had a history of friendship was really romantic to me, especially once they work out their past tension. I always love stories with love found in friends. Alathea's under
Kay Bolton
May 13, 2013 Kay Bolton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Romance Fan
Shelves: 5-star
Review taken from my Blog in October 2010:

A overpowering debt that will ruin her family drives Lady Alathea Morwellan to seek help from her childhood friend and combatant Rupert (Gabriel) Cynster. Except that she feels she can only do so disguised as a Widowed Countess to ensure that she gains his full support, and he doesn't just leave the matter to his men of business.

As is always obvious with the Bar Cynster he will of course seek, and claim a reward ... her.

His desires get higher along with
Susan (susayq ~)
3.5 stars

Sadly, this is my least favorite of the series. Gabriel just rubbed me the wrong way. He was very over bearing and always TOLD Alathea how things were going to be. Gabriel's one redeeming quality was that he did say the words "I love you" and when he sent Alathea the bouquet of poseys with the note, I melted :) Alathea's taking over of the family's finances at age 18 was unbelievable. She's a girl. In Regency times. No way that would've happened. I did like the action scene at the end
Another one of the Bar Cynster leaves the bachelors ranks and despite being initially reluctant, he accepts his fate when the right woman comes along.

Thankfully, I liked the heroine of this book a lot more than the previous one and with the excellent narration by Simon Preble that brought the characters and story to life, this was an enjoyable, if not memorable, romance.

Next comes All About Love and the story of Lucifer, the last unmarried of the Bar Cynster, who is determined to remain a bachel
I'll admit to having a soft spot for the Cynster men, and Gabriel was no exception. There is something about a man who prefers a strong-minded woman, who likes a challenge. Althea's level of autonomy and responsibility at the beginning of the story seemed unrealistic to me, but were a good reflection of her commitment to the same ideal Cynsters hold above all else: family.
There were a few inconsistencies for me, just enough to pull me out of the story and think: hmm, really?! but overall this wa
Mar 01, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romantic-reads
Probably my favorite yet because it takes a different tack beyond the love/lust at first sight device. Gabriel (anyone remember why his nickname is Gabriel? and his brother's is Lucifer? no one blinks at these names and I don't remember there being an explanation in book 1) and Alathea grew up on neighboring estates and played together as children...then fell out in adolescence. Alathea is now 29 (and determined to be a spinster to sacrifice for her family) and enlists/entices Gabriel into helpi ...more
Jan 02, 2015 Maria rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The beginning of the book was contrived and predictable as well as frustrating because the heroine does some incredibly stupid things to further the story line while being billed as an intelligent and mature young lady. It didn't work for me. Even skipping the unnecessary sex scenes did not pull this one out of the humdrums. I kept falling asleep while trying to read it.
Oct 23, 2012 ShoSho rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x-2012, historical
3.5 stars

A really unbelievable plot but it was done so well ,(view spoiler)

I would have given it 3 stars if not for (view spoiler)
Jan 20, 2016 Keri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series for me has been like a box of chocolates, some have been sweet, some have been spicy and some of been nothing but smooth caramel. This one brought tears to my eyes with the flowers and the note...loved it! :-) The entire book was great read!
Mar 06, 2015 Lana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Am I the only one who would like to see Chillingworth happy?
Oct 05, 2016 Arwen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not read Lucifer's story yet. But so far this is the best of the series together with Devil's story..
Quirky Omega
Sep 25, 2016 Quirky Omega rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely, amazing read. That is all for now. Exams coming. :(
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall #5)
  • My Scandalous Bride
  • Lord of Fire (Knight Miscellany, #2)
  • How to Marry a Marquis (Agents of the Crown, #2)
  • Married By Morning (The Hathaways, #4)
  • Reforming a Rake (With This Ring, #1)
  • The Wedding Bargain (Effingtons, #1)
  • One Night Of Scandal (Fairleigh Sisters, #2)
  • A Duke of Her Own (Desperate Duchesses, #6)
  • Simply Perfect (Simply Quartet #4)
  • Not Quite a Lady (Carsington Brothers, #4)
Stephanie Laurens was born in Sri Lanka, which was at the time the British colony of Ceylon. When she was 5, her family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where she was raised. After continuing through school and earning a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in Australia, Stephanie and her husband moved to Great Britain, taking one of the last true overland journeys from Katmandu to London.

Once in London, Stephanie
More about Stephanie Laurens...

Other Books in the Series

Cynster (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • Devil's Bride (Cynster, #1)
  • A Rake's Vow (Cynster, #2)
  • Scandal's Bride (Cynster, #3)
  • A Rogue's Proposal (Cynster,  #4)
  • All About Love (Cynster, #6)
  • All About Passion (Cynster, #7)
  • On a Wild Night (Cynster, #8)
  • On a Wicked Dawn (Cynster, #9)
  • On A Wild Night / On A Wicked Dawn
  • The Perfect Lover (Cynster, #10)

Share This Book

“She searched his face. "Why did you do this -- go to all this trouble, indulge in what I'm sure will prove a shockingly hideous expense?
He returned he gaze steadily "You like music."
It was that simple -- he let her read the truth in his eyes. Then she shivered. He reached for the shawl she'd left over her chair and held it up. She hesitated, then turned so he could drape it over her shoulders. Releasing the fine silk, he closed his hands about her shoulders; leaning closer, he murmured, "As with other pleasures, my reward is your delight.”
More quotes…