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Secrets of the Heart

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  195 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews

Theirs should have been the perfect marriage. Sarah was as wildly in love with the Duke of Cranwell as he was with her...until, on their wedding night, Sarah was forced to reveal the secret of her past. And that, midst great public scandal, ended their marriage almost before it began.

Then in fashionable Bath their paths crossed again. The stunningly bea
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 5th 1988 by Signet (first published 1988)
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Devil in Winter by Lisa KleypasThe Bride by Julie GarwoodSlightly Married by Mary BaloghHonor's Splendour by Julie GarwoodThe Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 521)
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Feb 07, 2010 Ilze rated it did not like it
Shelves: mary-balogh
As a rule, I love Mary Balogh's books. This one, however, was hard to read and hard to finish for 2 reasons: the heroine is just too stupid to believe in (the hero is not much better) and the villain is just too convincing. In fact, the villain of this story is such an amazingly convincing depiction of a psychopath that he leaps off the page and turns what is supposed to be a romance into a horror story. Not exactly what I was looking for when I started the book ...
Aug 15, 2013 tacitus rated it really liked it
I know a lot of people found it hard to like this one because of the villain. I think another reviewer said the villain was so realistically psychopathic, that it turned the book into more of a horror story than a romance novel. Granted...perhaps.

Still, I think the strong villain really makes this story! The triumph of the hero and heroine means more if the obstacle they must overcome is all that more difficult--or in this case, evil.

I did have some serious issues with the behavior of the hero
Jul 07, 2016 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not resist searching out and buying this book. The mixed reviews intrigued me. I suspected the readers who thought Sarah and George should be more forthright with each other were responding with twenty first century morays. There is a lot of angst here, but I believe the characters fit the ethic of the times. Even 50 or 60 years ago people kept their feelings controlled and never shared dark secrets. People did not discuss rape, incest, or mental retardation.
The characters are richly dr
Mary balogh is always a guaranteed good read. She also always manages to capture angst, guilt and shame very well. The story starts out with the heroine Sarah going to live with a distant cousin in Bath. It emerges that she was abused by her step cousin over the course of two summers: the first summer he starts touching her inappropriately and thereafter the next year he raped her on three occasions. I did feel that there was a degree of realism in terms of her inability to tell her aunt and unc ...more
Apr 23, 2011 Christine rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
4.5 stars

At the age of 17, Sarah is raped (they say "ravished") by an older cousin who threatened, physically forced her, and ultimately blackmailed her. With her parents dead, her only brother feeble-minded, and her aunt and uncle beliving their son was the sun and the moon, she had no one in whom she could confide, and she kept the terrible secret. She thought herself ruined, buying into the idea that a woman's virtue is her most important asset. As sad and as difficult as that was to accept a
Nov 13, 2014 Crystal rated it really liked it
This was a 3 star book for me, for most of it, till the end. And then the ending was lovely. George and Sarah are such a good couple. They understand the other, they have similar interests and are attracted to the other. But what should have been a happily ever after turns into a nightmare. And it is a something which didnt have to be such a big of a deal, because they both would have looked past it. But as usual, no one really loves to communicate it seems.

The villain, Win, was disgusting. It w
Jul 07, 2014 Adriane rated it did not like it
I usually like and enjoy Mary Balogh's writing but this one for me crossed the line. there's such a thing as a vilain having his way with a younger girl. however the resolution of the whole story is in my opinion not enough and rushed. there was no need for us to go through the rape scenes no need to assist to every single one.
if usually I appreciate the author simple and light writing the same plot is getting tiring and wearing thin. there's innocence and being naive but the reader finds himse
Horrible villain. Separation that is seemingly never-ending. I'd give it a one & 1/2.
Apr 27, 2014 Kristy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Questo è stato uno dei primi romanzi che ho letto di Mary Balogh nel 2000 a 17 anni ma negli anni successivi l'ho letto qualche volta perché mi era molto piaciuto ma saranno alcuni anni che non l'ho riletto quindi il mio voto risale all'ultima volta che l'ho letto. Qui mi ricordo che mi aveva intrigato e anche fatto arrabbiare ma nel senso buono, perché non mi ero arrabbiata per il fatto che era brutto ma per quello che a quella poveretta della protagonista passava. Non dico altro per non spoile ...more
Dumb and stressful, what a combination.
Jennifer Green
Jul 26, 2016 Jennifer Green rated it really liked it
Mary Balogh books are always a good and entertaining read. This was fun because of the marriage gone awry story line.
Apr 02, 2009 Laura rated it did not like it
I couldn't get over the premise, which is a shame since it later became an interesting book. The emotions, the blame and shame, etc all rang very true to me, and that was a good read, the conflict continues throughout the whole book, and that is my preference, lots of great angst. And yet I was squicked by the beginning, which details the heroine's molestation/rape by her cousin in sickeningly almost loving detail. The back of the book didn't warn me for this, and it is just simply one of my "NO ...more
Feb 11, 2008 penelopewanders rated it really liked it
The theme of this one is probably not as politically correct as it could be, but then again... the heroine is raped by her cousin but blames herself - and then is rejected by her new husband. She doesn't dare admit the truth of what happened, but allows him to draw the worst conclusions. Interesting bits about the double standard. The heroine can be a bit irritating in her paralysis, but at the same time quite credible. Good read. Balogh was already a convincing writer in the 80's.
Aug 14, 2010 Tina rated it really liked it
This is one of those books where the whole misunderstanding-conflict could have been resolved with a 5min conversation between the sensitive beta-hero and the very beautiful heroine. And yet I still found myself very much engrossed to the story because the writing was done so well. However, I do agree that the heroine dragged out her secret for far too long that will frustrate most readers.

Jul 22, 2009 Elysal rated it it was amazing
This is, far and away, my favorite Mary Balogh book This is not your typical historical romance by any stretch of the imagination, which makes it not just memorable, but also heart-breaking and wonderful. Please do not let the unusual premise or beginning of this book turn you off to one of the most powerful and emotional stories I have ever had the privilege to read.
Jul 31, 2010 Olivia rated it did not like it
I found the hero unbelievably cruel in his treatment of the heroine, his ex-wife. He constantly thinks the worst of her and blames her for conspiring to do him wrong. I really did not like him at all. The heroinie is only marginnally better, but is so self sacraficing, it's annoying. I would not reccommend this book to anyone.
Dec 18, 2010 Tasmia rated it liked it
Well-written overall, but in terms of pacing and emotional heft, uneven. Lots of less than palatable moments when either the hero or heroine come across as annoying, or the villain as, well, villainous.
Jun 09, 2011 Nefret rated it liked it
Ich musste gerade feststellen, dass ich das Buch bereits vor Jahren gelesen habe.
Lynn Calvin
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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
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