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The Secret Pearl

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  3,471 ratings  ·  172 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Dell (first published 1991)
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Rane
On the run, accused of murder, Fleur is alone and scared on the streets of London, slowly starving, she only one thing left of value: her body. So when a man picks her up for sex, the experience leaves her changed, stripped of her virginity and sicken with herself. Thinking the life of a whore would never be for her, she tries one more time to see if she can find work. When a blessing comes from a Mr.Kent looking for a governess for his daughter. She finally thinks her life is on the mend, litt...more
Dinjolina
I know.
I am evil.
I am saying this book was not good.

:hides from angry mob:

It just that...it was so goody goody two shoes!
Ughh.

The hero made me want to rip my hair out!
He had sex with the heroine. Oh no!
He cheated on his wife!
He is evil!
At least he thinks he is wicked,wicked,wicked.
Even thou his wife will not touch him,his marriage is not consummated and his kid is actually his brothers bastard.
So what ever.
And even thou he is in love with the heroine,he tells her how he could not divorce. Becaus...more
Heather
I got really tired of hearing how repulsed the heroine was by the hero. You would think by her reaction to him—literally almost vomiting several times when he was near—that he had raped her. In reality, she went into prostitution voluntarily and was actually treated well by the hero. She said so many times how much she "HATED him" and feared him, yet she had this strange attraction to him at the same time. She was ridiculous, and I couldn't relate to her at all.

The hero was a doormat to his wife...more
Romancekolik
Kitabı beğendim, çok fazla olmasada beni sıkmayan sürükleyici bir anlatımı vardı. Kızımızın kitabın çoğunluğundaki oğlanımıza karşı korkusu birden gitmesi gibi bazı yerleri saçma gelsede dramı güzel işlenmişti. Sonlarına doğru hoş bir hikaye haline geldi. Kitap Fleur'un ailesinin kızımız 8 yaşındayken ölmesi ve kızımızın akabinde yeni baronun vesayetine verilmesi, üzerine kızımızın kötü yıllar geçirmesinden sonra yeni baronun ona kafayı takması ve tecavüz edicekken kızımızın bir uşağı öldürüp ev...more
Mary Chen *Nulla in mundo pax sincera*
Upon a re-reading of this book, I found myself conflicted over my feelings for the characters. While Adam have found a place amongst my Hall of Fame heroes, Fleur ultimately fell short of expectations. Her stubborness and refusal to confide in Adam despite his numerous assurances that he would help her, made her a weak character and belied her courage with which Adam had fallen in love.

So...this is a 4 stars for me, or 4.5 stars. It's poignant, and I absolutely loved this when I first read it,...more
Adrienne
Oct 11, 2009 Adrienne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of heart-rending love stories
Recommended to Adrienne by: friends on GRs
Shelves: library-loan
Oh I just loved this story! bittersweet, heart breaking and sorrowful for the most part, but for me an enduring love story with a very happy HEA.
Carol Storm
The best of the best -- the genius of Mary Balogh is that she can create a story that begins in the most sordid way possible, and love still triumphs.
Julianna
May 19, 2011 Julianna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone Looking for a Beautiful Love Story
Reviewed for THC Reviews
The Secret Pearl is far more than a mere romance novel. It is an exquisite love story of two people who fall in love against seemingly impossible odds, and whose love for one another never fades despite being kept apart by circumstances beyond their control. All this occurs amidst the hero and heroine's inauspicious, even sordid, initial meeting where he becomes her first client as a prostitute, and the discovery that he is married to another woman. I believe Mary Balogh...more
Greymalkin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly
Mary Balogh books are just so hard for me to rate. 3.5 for The Secret Pearl.


My 2 main issues are

1. I found it way to long. Balogh often alternates POV on the same scene and it just seems redundant. I never felt I learned anything new from the other characters POV. Just one Scene with the h/h POV in 3rd person would have done the trick for me.

2. We know that Fleur's first time was horrid and she is extremely weary of our hero but do you have to beat us over the head with it?? I got the picture...more
Jill Dunlop
The book begins with Fleur, a gentle woman in dire straights who hasn't eaten in two days because she can't find decent work, selling her body outside a theater. Adam, a nobleman, sees her in the shadows and is intrigued enough to proposition her. They go to an inn and he has sex with her. After he realizes that she was a virgin he feels very guilty. After they part ways he can't seem to stop thinking about her. He sends his secretary to find her and employ her as his daughter's governess.

Now, n...more
Blu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ana T.
The Secret Pearl is another book where Mrs. Balogh uses a different, and for many authors and readers, forbidden theme as a plot device. At the beginning of the story, the heroine decides to work as a prostitute! This is not a spoiler as it does happen in the first pages. The hero is leaving the theatre one night when he sees a prostitute in the shadows, he asks her her price and he takes to an inn where the consummate the act. However she touches him in some way and realising she had been a vir...more
kris
The goodreads blurb (and the library blurb, and probably the back cover blurb...) definitely downplay some of the major themes of The Secret Pearl. Here's a more accurate description, I think:

Adam is a scarred veteran Duke, who hires a rather dreary-looking prostitute for an evening of forgetfulness one late night in London. Upon taking Fleur to bed, he discovers that she was a virgin! GASP, HORRORS, GUILT. So he hires the prostitute as a governess for his daughter! And finds himself even more a...more
Alli
I was so disappointed with this book especially after being introduced to this author via the 'Slightly' series. The heroine is not at all likable, and it seems really unlikely that the two would really get together after she spends most of the book in fear of the hero.It feels as though the author has to pull a quick one to get these two o fall in love.

Would not recommend this book, I persisted through share force of will
Maria
Bittersweet and frank, this book deals with a marriage that was never right, a runaway that falls on hard times, and a man wrecked by Waterloo, unusual subject matter for a Regency book and an unusual approach, but once one gets used to Ms. Balogh's touch of realism and feel for the times she is writing about, one grows to appreciate it and not look for a "sweet romance".
Joene
This is an interesting story, with the two main characters who both carry scars, his are on the outside, while hers are on the inside. Both have to overcome their injuries to believe in the fact that they are good enough to find love and happiness despite their problems.
Aly is so frigging bored
4.5*
I liked the drama and the feelings and sentiments that Ms. Balogh managed to convey.
Bronwyn Rykiert
I had been impressed by several books by Mary Balogh before, but this one is simply outstanding.

The story starts with a difficult, raw scene of a man using the services of a prostitute in a seedy London hotel. For the first time since he married, Adam Kent, Duke of Ridgeway, is being unfaithful and giving in to the temptation of needs that his wife doesn't fulfil. He hadn't planned to hire the girl's services, but something beyond his own understanding beckons him to her that night.

Fleur was onc...more
Sakura
Fleur is forced to sell her body after running away from home with little money because she is being accused of murder and theft. Her first customer turns out to be Adam, the Duke of Ridgeway.

Adam is disfigured after coming home from the war. He hastily married a woman who is in love with his half-brother and his attempts to get to know his wife only cause her to cringe from him even more. Adam is not an unfaithful husband but his cold wife finally leads him to his night with Fleur.

The encount...more
Lady Wesley
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 wh...more
Nicole
First off, thanks to Rhea Rhodan for the book recommendation. I have had this book in my collection for a long time. I just never got around to reading it. Boy am I glad I read it. I absolutely loved this book - it was filled with angst and anguish throughout. Mary Balogh is an excellent author. I say this because there were many hurdles she had to make the reader see past - like adultery and the fact that the hero is married through part of the book. Usually, it would turn me off a book if the...more
Hazel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sam
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 desc...more
Janet
I think the only reason I didn't give this DIK status is that I'm not 100% wild about the hero because of his decision close to the end of the book. Tumperkin (Isn't It Romance blog) just talked about endings and I would have liked this book especially to have an epilogue. There just was not enough sustained "happy together" time for Adam and Fleur to satisfy me. But it's quite wonderful: the emotion in two linked fingers is incredible. Horrid villain too!

Giving it away! Not mine, but an extra c...more
Tressa
I think this might be the darkest book that the author has written. I thought this story was quite tragic and sad, but there is bittersweet happiness at the end. I had a hard time putting this book down because I was so curious as to what would happen next. While reading, I did think of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Tess of the d'Ubervilles so that might provide some insight as to the content of this book.
Jennifer
Balogh is the queen of tearjerker historical romance and this is one of my personal favorites. The heroine is impoverished and forced to prostitute herself to make money. Imagine her surprise when the gentleman who she sold her virginity to finds her again and hires her as a governess for his daughter. These two broken people find something special in each other, but have a long road to find happiness.
Being Human
I gave it four stars instead of five because- I wanted so badly for Adam to beat the shit out of his so-called loser, good for nothing brother AND to put his ungrateful, undeserving, heartless, shallow, immoral, selfish wife in her place. I wanted them to repent. But sadly that never happened.
However, a classic story with great hero.
Rosi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Keri
A beautifully written emotional story from start to finish. A teary eyed review to come...
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Mary Jenkins was born on 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high-school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curl...more
More about Mary Balogh...
Slightly Dangerous (Bedwyn Saga, #6) Slightly Married (Bedwyn Saga, #1) A Summer to Remember (Bedwyn Prequels, #2) First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintet #1) Slightly Scandalous (Bedwyn Saga, #3)

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“Why have you done all this for me?" She turned her head to look at him. "Tell me the truth."

He shook his head slowly.

"I don't think I could have been more terrified of the devil than I was of you," she said, "when it was happening and in my thoughts and nightmares afterward. And when you came home to Willoughby and I realized that the Duke of Ridgeway was you, I thought I would die from the horror of it."

His face was expressionless. "I know," he said.

"I was afraid of your hands more than anything," she said. "They are beautiful hands."

He said nothing.

"When did it all change?" she asked. She turned completely toward him and closed the distance between them. "You will not say the words yourself. But they are the same words as the ones on my lips, aren't they?"

She watched him swallow.

"For the rest of my life I will regret saying them," she said. "But I believe I would regret far more not saying them."

"Fleur," he said, and reached out a staying hand.

"I love you," she said.

"No."

"I love you."

"It is just that we have spent a few days together," he said, "and talked a great deal and got to know each other. It is just that I have been able to help you a little and you are feeling grateful to me."

"I love you," she said.

"Fleur."

She reached up to touch his scar. "I am glad I did not know you before this happened," she said. "I do not believe I would have been able to stand the pain."

"Fleur," he said, taking her wrist in his hand.

"Are you crying?" she said. She lifted both arms and wrapped them about his neck and laid her cheek against his shoulder. "Don't, my love. I did not mean to lay a burden on you. I don't mean to do so. I only want you to know that you are loved and always will be."

"Fleur," he said, his voice husky from his tears, "I have nothing to offer you, my love. I have nothing to give you. My loyalty is given elsewhere. I didn't want this to happen. I don't want it to happen. You will meet someone else. When I am gone you will forget and you will be happy."

She lifted her head and looked into his face. She wiped away one of his tears with one finger. "I am not asking anything in return," she said. "I just want to give you something, Adam. A free gift. My love. Not a burden, but a gift. To take with you when you go, even though we will never see each other again."

He framed her face with his hands and gazed down into it. "I so very nearly did not recognize you," he said. "You were so wretchedly thin, Fleur, and pale. Your lips were dry and cracked, your hair dull and lifeless. But I did know you for all that. I think I would still be in London searching for you if you had not gone to that agency. But it's too late, love. Six years too late.”
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“But he was not Matthew. He was everything that Matthew was not. He was safety and comfort and warmth. He was home. He was everything in the world that was hope and sunshine. He took a step toward her and opened his arms to her, and she was in those arms without ever knowing how the distance between them had closed.” 3 likes
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