Caroline's Reviews > The Lady's Secret

The Lady's Secret by Joanna Chambers
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Nov 21, 11

Read on November 21, 2011

An astonishing first novel. Ms Chambers takes one of the tinniest historical romance plots around -- the eligible but unattainable aristocrat bachelor and the mysterious ugly-duckling heroine -- and transmutes it into gold.

The conceit of the heroine masquerading as a gentleman's valet is original enough, but what makes this book so different is the quality of the writing, the meticulous attention to detail, the effortless characterisation.

In one of his encyclopaedic studies of human sexuality, Colin Wilson refers to a novel in which the male protagonist poses as a maid so that he can be near the object of his adoration and 'know' (in the non-Biblical sense) her in her most private and intimate moments, something far more precious than carnal knowledge.

Without spinning off into such abstract musings, Ms Chambers covers similar ground, giving tremendous psychological depth to the developing relationship between Georgy and Nathan.

The title of the book is, perhaps deliberately, a distractor. The book is not about one bodice-ripping secret, but about a profusion of secrets, great and small, related and unrelated. Romance novels don't get any better than this.

Halfway through The Lady's Secret I knew I was going to re-read it at least once. I haven't experienced that reaction very often; maybe only two or three times in as many years.


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