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The Secret Pearl

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  4,720 Ratings  ·  228 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
Paperback, 432 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Dell (first published 1991)
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(showing 1-30)
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Ana T.
Nov 22, 2010 Ana T. rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
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
Feb 26, 2008 Joene rated it it was amazing
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.
May 19, 2011 Julianna rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 16, 2009 Maria rated it it was amazing
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".
Jan 07, 2010 Rane rated it really liked it
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
Oct 11, 2009 Adrienne rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 30, 2010 Greymalkin rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jill Dunlop
Jun 09, 2010 Jill Dunlop rated it really liked it
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
Not Now...Mommy's Reading
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bronwyn Rykiert
Nov 16, 2010 Bronwyn Rykiert rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 19, 2010 Alli rated it did not like it
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
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
Jan 09, 2011 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: library, read-2011
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
Being Human
Feb 10, 2011 Being Human rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-read
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.
I know.
I am evil.
I am saying this book was not good.

:hides from angry mob:

It just was so goody goody two shoes!

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
Jul 17, 2011 Sakura rated it it was ok
Shelves: disfigured-hero
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
Lady Wesley
This book, 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 wha
Aly is so frigging bored
Jul 10, 2014 Aly is so frigging bored rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
I liked the drama and the feelings and sentiments that Ms. Balogh managed to convey.
Mary C. *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,
I was reluctant to read this. Adultery is not a good basis for romance, but the story is so much more than that and the adulterous parts are handled seriously and not glorified or lengthy. It is a very beautiful love story and a tear jerker. I'd encourage anyone hesitant because of the content to take a chance.

It's important to note, that while the hero was married, his marriage was in name only. His wife loved another man and was disgusted by the hero's scars from the Napoleonic war. He had lov
Carol Storm
Oct 23, 2013 Carol Storm rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 31, 2014 kris rated it it was ok
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
Jan 27, 2015 Mallory rated it really liked it
4 stars
Nuria Llop
Mar 20, 2016 Nuria Llop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una delicia. Una historia con un duro y sórdido comienzo que va avanzando a buen ritmo y de una modo que te atrapa. Personajes creíbles y distintos a los clichés de las novelas de Regencia. Protagonistas y secundarios nos transportan a un mundo de sentimientos complejos y muy humanos, coherentes con una época en la que las normas sociales y las apariencias ponían freno a la felicidad personal. Mary Balogh nos habla de cicatrices (físicas y emocionales) y los miedos que éstas generan, nos habla d ...more
Amarilli Settantatre
Sep 20, 2016 Amarilli Settantatre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Prima di tutto un grazie a Germaine e alla sua recensione che ho trovato proprio qui. Avevo da un po' questo libro in attesa, ma non essendo tra i più recenti l'avevo lasciato lì a decantare.
Oddio e oddio, roba da stracciarsi le vesti. Se la Balogh è una delle mie autrici favorite, questo romanzo entra all'istante nella top dei top dei romance baloghiani.
Duro, triste, straziante, ma anche dolce, commovente, appagante.
Il Duca è uno dei personaggi sfregiati e rovinati dalla guerra più riusciti: no
Germaine Lefebvre
Non riesco tuttora a figurarmi come la maggior parte dei lettori di romance consideri capolavori serie come quelle del Bedwyn, dopo aver letto queste vecchie storie della grande, grandissima Balogh. È come se, più indietro si vada nel tempo, più la sua scrittura e la caratterizzazione dei personaggi fossero ingenui forse, ma spontanei, totalmente privi delle forzature dovute alla serializzazione della sua produzione successiva. Qui capiamo esattamente cosa avrebbero fatto una Cenerentola o una C ...more
Sep 06, 2015 Zoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tour de force, indeed. A story that breaks your heart.

Adam and Fleur's story made me sigh. It is almost too real. Similar scenarios I have witnessed in life. People struggling with important life decisions they made and trying to come to terms with those decisions that trap them, willingly or unwillingly.

In honesty I think the book deserves 5 stars. The characterization, the story, the emotions, fantastic depiction of an impossible situation some of us have the luck to face in life. I love the
Nov 16, 2015 Giedre rated it did not like it
Disappointing: stilted execution and characters that scream for any sort of nuance. Skimming was my friend.
Son 2,5 en realidad. Le sumó porque me dejo con una linda sensación al final. Una lectura ligera y placentera, pero no me llegó al corazón. ...more
*The Angry Reader*
Mar 31, 2016 *The Angry Reader* rated it really liked it
I think this is a great example of a traditional well-done historical romance. Not the silly overdone stuff - but a genuine book. There was an undertone of drama and angst literally from the first page til the last. There was a good villain, a few swoony moments, and an angsty misunderstood hero.
Fleur and Adam meet in terrible awkward circumstances. Each is painted in a bad light. Then they're placed in a situation that forces them to interact - thus giving them time to grow and learn about the
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Mary Jenkins was born in 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
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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.


"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.


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.”
“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.” 4 likes
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