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Secret for a Nightingale
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Secret for a Nightingale

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,398 ratings  ·  30 reviews
As a young girl in India, beautiful, high-spirited Susanna Pleydell had first became aware of her special gifts to soothe the sick. But she had sacrificed that calling when she married the dashing and sophisticated Aubrey St. Clare. When they return home to London, however, Aubrey has changed. Susanna discovers she has married a man with a weakness for opium and the occult ...more
Published December 5th 1991 by HarperCollins (first published 1986)
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I think I’m going to make it a goal to read at least one Victoria Holt book a year. While I don’t like to read her books one right after another because they all have that similar feel, every once in a while they really hit the spot. I’m always surprised how she just sucks me right in to her story, usually starting off with the heroine’s childhood, following into the protagonist’s mysterious and romantic adventures. Holt (the amazing Eleanor Alice Burford) always manages to capture the perfect f ...more
Like everything in Victoria Holt's massive backlist, this was a quick & enjoyable book. (Don't let my slow reading time fool you; I spent two days in a fog of Insomniac Stupidz with zero attention span.) That said, this particular novel doesn't follow her usual formulas.

The story opens with Susanna's childhood recap (a familiar institution in anything Holt :P) as she explains her unconventional upbringing in India. Upon her return to the edge of the British empire, she meets & lusts for
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Patty Apostolides
The beginning was a bit unconventional for Victoria Holt. I don't remember any other of her stories where the heroine is treated by or treats her husband so cruelly. However, as the plot thickens, the second half of the novel more than makes up for the first, as the heroine Miss Pleydell travels to different parts of the world to nurse soldiers during war time and in the process finds the man she's been looking for, Dr. Adair, who is quite a fascinating character. Her intents is revenge, but ine ...more
Lizzi Crystal
I really loved Susanna, how she used her pain for others and became a Nightingale. She may be my favorite Holt heroine so far and I loved huge chunks of the story because of her.

In the ending scenes I had the same problem I have with most of Holt's novels - I dislike her leading men. This is the umpteenth time one of her heroes is referred to as a "sinner" with a shady past of seduction (and orgies, OKAY), and the heroine fights him while finding herself drawn to his wicked ways - it's the clas
Kayla Tornello
Susanna's life is full of adventure. She grows up in India, returns to England for school, and then rejoins her father in India after she finishes her education. Then she returns to England and marries a man she met in India. Then her problems begin.

This book is filled with adventure as Susanna tries to find fulfillment in life. There is romance and suspense to go along with all the action. Add in the exotic settings and you've got everything you could want in a book!
I got this book from my mother. It's a bit of an old read but was very interesting. The whole book was lovely and I really was very drawn to it, but the last 40 pages or so were very predictable and not written very well like the rest of the story.
I loved how many characters were woven in and out of Susanna's life. How very intersting her life in India and how she always had this magical memory of her life there. Then when she went back to England and thought she doesn't fit in until seeing for
I always pick a Victoria Holt novel when I just need something that is easy and intriguing. I also like the romance that Victoria Holt throws in. A little mystery, a little romance and no smut, make for a relaxing read. I love to get a drink and sit outside in the shade and read Victoria Holt - this book was no different.
I forgot how much I liked this book! It's tied into the story of Florence Nightingale's quest to better the nursing field. A few parts were actually a bit heart-wrenching and I wasn't expecting that. Reading it as a mother was definitely a different experience than reading this as a teenager. Loved it!
Carol Kerry-green
There is a lot of good story telling in this book, loved all the scenes when Susanna was nursing and how she learned what she needed to know. Thought the ending wasn't quite right, but I can see how Susanna would fall for him. to my mind not a usual Victoria Holt
I read all of Victoria Holt mystery/romance books in my 30s. Holt books are a higher caliber of romance fiction than something like Harlequins. Historically accurate. Good recreational reading with something to keep you turning pages.
Heather Marie
I'm 99.9% sure that I read this. The name "Aubrey St. Claire" is standing out high and bright in my mind. So I'm sure I read this. But I can't remember how it ends to save my life. Guess that means it's time to read it again!
The heroine leaves a bad marriage and goes to be a nurse with Florence Nightingale. I loved these books in the 1970-80s and am re-reading them. I like the style Victoria Holt writes in.
Victoria Holt has always been a guilty pleasure...brings me back to my childhood. Hers were the first "adult" books I read, starting with "Mistress of Mellyn" in the 5th grade.
This book was really good and it keeps you interested the whole time. There are a lot of twists and turns...very unpredictable, which I loved!
Took forever to get into the book.
Loved this book! A must read!
Emily Crow
This is one of the (unintentionally) silliest novels I've read in awhile. And the melodrama! Let's not forget the melodrama.

Susanna, the main character, has a healing gift (as her ayah in India noticed right off the bat...being a "rational" Englishwoman, it took her a while to catch on), but instead of putting it to good use, she marries the opium-addicted ne'er-do-well Aubrey St Clare (details, such as they are, to be found in the chapter entitled "Satan's Temple." I was hoping for some hair-ra
This is now one of my most favorite books I have ever read! A beautiful story and well written. Your heart breaks for the characters and you cry for joy when the finally find happiness. I'm a little sad now that I've finished reading it and I miss each and every one of the characters already!
Books written by Victoria Holt are so cheesy, but sometimes that's exactly what you need. I've read a loooot of her books when I was 14/15 years old..that was the last time I've read them. I absolutely loved them at the time. I'm thinking of reading one of her books just for the old times sake! =)
Diane Kitts
I like Victoria Holt; light reading with good endings. In this one, the heroine, who has a special gift for soothing the sick, doesn't realize her dream of working with Florence Nightingale until after a disatrous marriage.
Every time I have read something by Victoria Holt, I remember that she really is a good writer. But then I get halfway through the book, and realize I know the end, because it's a romance, and they only end one way ...
A classic VH novel with hints of gothic romance even augmented by the darker tones of the occult and opium addiction. Great mystery, wonderful suspense, and secrets at every turn.

3 stars
I would have given SfaN 4 stars but I didn't like the ending. Well written covering sections from India, England, Italy and the Crimea. An oldie, but goodie.
Bastante regularcita, no me encanto el romance y el misterio resulto bastante simple.
Apr 27, 2012 Hope4flowers rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hope4flowers by: Mom
I usually like Holt's books, but I was too disturbed by her baby dying to continue.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Eleanor Alice Burford, Mrs. George Percival Hibbert was a British author of about 200 historical novels, most of them under the pen name Jean Plaidy which had sold 14 million copies by the time of her death. She chose to use various names because of the differences in subjec
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