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The Secret Mistress

(Mistress #3)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  5,202 ratings  ·  492 reviews
Lady Angeline Dudley's longs for an ordinary suitor with a kind heart and good nature, so when Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, rescues her with unmatched civility from the advances of a scoundrel, Angeline thinks that she has found her true love. He offers marriage but Angeline knows his proposal is born of duty, not love. ...more
Paperback, 363 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Piatkus Books (first published 2011)
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Balogh had mentioned wanting to write this prequel on her mailing list a number of times, and I never quite got why. The loquacious, scatteredbrained Angeline and her stuffy husband weren’t all that interesting to me, and they were already together. I should have known Balogh could do it. Even the title, which appeared to be a forced attempt to squeeze the book in with rest of the series, completely works -- though I won't spoil it by saying why.

You’d never expect nineteen year old Lady Angeline

You know those times when you can’t really describe why a book has caught your heart, because there aren’t the usual reasons? No ordinary words apply, and you cannot fathom how it could be possible to make other people know, understand, what you feel. I can only try, can’t I?

This is the story of Angeline Dudley, sister and daughter of a Duke, and Edward Ailsbury, Earl of Heyward.
They are one of the most contrasting couples out there, and Mary Balogh is one of the few who can pull it off like t
Lady Wesley
Did you ever wonder what life might be like for the sister of a rake? That's what Lady Angeline Dudley is -- the sister of not one but two handsome, charming, and utterly incorrigible rakehells, the Duke of Tresham and Lord Ferdinand Dudley. Moreover, her late parents were famous for their many indiscreet affairs, and she has decided never to marry a man who is anything like her brothers or father.

Lady Angeline is on her way to London for her first season and is to meet up with her elder brothe
For quotes, comments, and deeper review - The Secret Mistress Buddy Read

I usually love Balogh, so I don't know what happened with this one. A lot of the story is spent in the heroine and hero's head and when there were scenes in present time acted out, they were dragged on.

I enjoyed the heroine, she was sheltered from growing up in the country but her naivety, openness, and honesty felt very genuine and not Mary Sue-ish. She also made friends with who she thinks the hero loves and it wasn't done
Jacob Proffitt
Nov 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, steamy, audiobook
This is technically third in the series because it was the last written. It takes place first chronologically, though, so I recommend reading it first. Frankly, I don't recommend reading the rest of the series, so just stop here.

I liked this more than I expected to and I expect some of that is that it's later in Balogh's career so she was better at the character dynamics. Or it could be that there's no actual mistress in the story and the title is manufactured to fit in with the series. I mean,
Delightful. Just, delightful.

Balogh has this marvellous technique, which works better in some of her books than others, of layering subtle changes in character, one after the other, through introspective thoughts or dialogue. Doing this she steadily manoeuvres her H/h to the place where often her readers already know they are: in love. When she's really on form, she also takes two characters who appear, at first blush, as somewhat one dimensional, and shows that, in fact, they're not.

There's m
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
This is a prequel to the two books she wrote a few years ago (More Than a Mistress and No Man's Mistress) which are not really among my favorites of hers. The heroine of this book is the sister of the heroes of the earlier books; she is already married in those books and presented as a rather silly person inexplicably happily married to a very serious, stuffy man. Of course, readers called for another book to explain this situation.

I liked The Secret Mistress much better than the previous two bo
3.5 stars.
*The Angry Reader*
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
There's something incredibly relaxing about a Mary Balogh book.

First and foremost, I get to trust the book. I know I won't end up rolling my eyes or loathing a character. As a matter of fact, they generally have fantastic interesting characters (with charming idiosyncrasies) who flourish as the story progresses.

Second, there's a rhythm to her stories that I find soothing. I'm never on the edge of my seat. But I smile. A lot. I get a sense of deep satisfaction.

This story was a lot of fun. Esse

This was a buddy read with WhisperintheJar-Kyraryker from Jan.12th to 18th, 2020.

First off, this book is a prequel (for readers who like to read in order). Secondly, the second half of the blurb for this book is a bit misleading.

And yet a stolen kiss awakens something primal within him. Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after compromising a lady: He offers marriage. The proposal is born of duty, but will Angeline cause Edward to forget about decorum behind closed doors,
Jul 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine you had written two romance novels featuring a secondary sister character included primarily as comic relief. Then imagine someone told you that you had to write another romance novel, this one with the laughable sister in the starring heroine role. Then imagine the hero you had to link her to was described by all and sundry as "dry as a stick," including the heroine's beloved brothers. The likelihood of penning an interesting, compelling romance between two such unlikely protagonists wo ...more
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I am your secret mistress. It sounds very wicked. It sounds delicious."

At nineteen years of age, Lady Angeline Dudley is preparing for her first Season having missed two opportunites, the first year in mourning for the death of her mother and the second year with a broken leg. So having waited two whole years, she is more than excited to be heading to London. Waiting for her brother and guardian, Jocelyn Dudley, Duke of Tresham at an inn to accompany her to London, Angeline scandalously and ina
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here's a reprint of a review I did originally for Sue Grimshaw's Random House website:

The Secret Mistress

I cannot even imagine how difficult it must be to write a prequel to two beloved books, as Mary Balogh just has. Let me lay my cards on the table: More Than A Mistress was one of the first romance books I read (I started reading romance from A to Z, using the Desert Island Keeper list at All About Romance as my reading list). Balogh had the first among equals benefit of being a “B” in the alp
Authors like Mary Balogh do not come often. I offer that, in my humble opinion, she is as enduring and as skilled as the wonderful Georgette Heyer. The Secret Mistress is one of the many books I think put her in this class.

This is a lovely, lovely read. It evoked a range of emotion that surprised me given that it has a "dull and dutiful" man as the hero, and a flighty and frivolous young woman as the heroine. At least that is what we are first lead to believe. Edward and Angeline would seem to
Mar 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first read that Mary Balogh will write the book with Angeline and Heyward as the main couple, I was skeptical. They seem as such an unlikely pair - the chatty, sometimes frivolous Angeline and uptight Heyward. But Balogh managed to do it brilliantly.

Lady Angeline Dudley has waited for quite some time for this moment - finally she will be presented to society, go to balls, and with some luck find a perfect husband. While on route to London she meets the perfect man for her - Heyward. To a
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pleasant story with pleasant writing, kind of like the way vanilla ice cream is pleasant.
If you like Mary Balogh and you liked the two Dudley brothers' stories (Jocelyn in MORE THAN A MISTRESS and Ferdinand in NO MAN'S MISTRESS), you should not pass up the opportunity to read this, the prequel to those two books. In this one, their younger sister Angeline is 19 years old and coming to London for her come-out. No suspense here, of course, if you've read the older MISTRESS books, becaus
I was really looking forward to reading this book. I first met Angeline in her brother's book More Than a Mistress and I liked the tiny snippets of interaction between her and her husband. It made me want to read their love story too.

Sadly, I found myself skipping passages and passages of inner thinking. I was also bored by how much all of the characters would talk or better said ramble on. At one point I think it took one page everything that came out of Angeline's mouth. The other characters
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Insipid heroine, foolish hero; did not finish. I expected so much more from Mary Balogh.
Avisha Beeharreea
This book is perfect, i just loved this very 'ordinary' but extraordinary hero. The over the top, dazzling and macho heroes were seriously boring the hell out of me recently, thank god I found this book. I kind of forgot that i already read the first book of this series, i would not even have remembered except that the H of that book was named Jocelyn! That's a name you cannot forget. I enjoyed reading Jocelyn's book a lot. Now to this book, I loved how both the H and h completed each other. I j ...more
4 Stars

Why I Read It...

The main reason that I read this was to fulfill the November Theme -- Historical for the 2016 TBR Challenge hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian. I read (and enjoyed) the first two Mistress books during my original Mary Balogh binge years ago. I was always intrigued by the scenes featuring the brothers' younger sister and her straitlaced husband. They seemed so different yet so in love that I knew I wanted their story. Thankfully, Balogh decided to write Angeline and Edward
Rebecca Huston
A truly tepid Regency romance with a harebrained heroine and bland hero that are so sticky sweet that I wanted to puke by the end of the book. All I can say is that Ms. Balogh's quality in writing has really slipped over the last few years, and I've been finding her novels to be pretty dull. That's too bad. This is one that I don't recommend -- unless you want something to read to help you fall asleep (I actually nodded off trying to read this thing.) Three stars, and that just barely.

For the lo
Jacqueline J
This started out good and then fizzled. The conflict that kept them apart just basically fizzled out. He spent most of the book wanting to marry someone else and I nearly missed the line or two where he decided he was in love with the heroine. The "villain" was not a villain. The desperate situation the hero needed to rescue the heroine from was not desperate and there is no way the hero could have thought it was. The secret mistress part was shoe horned in. Dang I'm disappointed. I have loved M ...more
Jun 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dinjolina by: HR readers that wish for a good book
Ooooh, a tame hero that is not a rake.
How refreshing!
All that in a tight little Mary Balogh packet?
I knew it was a sure win.
But now that I read it?
I can just say-give me a brightly colored hat and such a man and I shall die happy! :)
Juliana Philippa
But Lord, he thought just before he got up to face the day, both Eunice and his female family members were about as wrong as they could possibly be. He and Lady Angeline Dudley were about as suited to each other as day is to night.

It was a poor comparison, of course. For night and day were two sides of the same coin. One could not exist without the other. They were the perfect balance of opposites, the perfect harmony of nature taking its course.

Night and day worked perfectly together, in fac
**3.5 Stars**

This was a very sweet romance with two very unlikely main characters: a chatterbox for a heroine and a "dull" hero. But Mary Balogh makes it work with some very witty dialogue and a refreshing plot that shows that most of the time marrying a rake in the hopes of "reforming" him is an exercise in futility (however much we women like to believe we can do it.)

I thoroughly liked Angeline. Behind the silly façade, she knows what she wants and she falls in love at first meeting with Edwa
This may just be my favourite of the Dudley trilogy. I've been intrigued by Angeline and Edward and the nature of their relationship since their introduction in the first book. They seemed to be such a miss matched couple. But as this story showed, they were perfectly matched opposites. Balogh did a great job of showing the various sides of Edward - the responsible albeit dull man as seen by the public, the loyal and dutiful son and brother as seen by his family, and the (eventually) passionate, ...more
Just finished and enjoyed listening to The Secret Mistress, a book I read a few years ago. This time round I truly appreciated the Balogh's skill in creating this 'Prequel' to her Mistress series, after having written the previously published books. Not only did she create a romance for two secondary familial characters, but she deftly remained faithful to the characterizations she created in the earlier books. The narration by Rosalind Landor helped me to understand and like the youthful hero a ...more
Addie H
Jan 27, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I normally love MB's books, but this didn't work for me at all. I found Angeline annoying, and Edward dull as dust - and it didn't change throught the book. What grabbed me MUCH more, was what happened between Windmore and Eunice - now that's a book I would have loved to see!

Madenna U
The characters seemed to have so much more depth then they were given. The plot was familiar as the male lead must realize that he loves the leading lady even though he doesn't believe in it. The insecure leading lady tries to set him up with a good friend. Misunderstandings abound of course. ...more
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tired of rakes monopolizing the HR stage
I was in a search that morphed into a desperate frenzy, frustrated by endless premisses of corset rippers where the heroes are alpha male jerks the heroines want to fix- and ugh thats not what we want, truly, is it?

I don't want to unwind with some whiny, high handed, douche who makes mountains out of mole hills, being all complicated and broken, that's already my head space! I read to get out of it! And the heroine in these are just at their beck and call, breaking their back to wipe their und
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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

Other books in the series

Mistress (3 books)
  • More Than a Mistress (Mistress Trilogy #1)
  • No Man's Mistress (Mistress Trilogy #2)

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“He knew he was alive when he was with her, whatever the devil that meant.
Whatever the devil it did mean, it made all the difference.
And he was not even sure what that meant.”
“(Edward describing Angeline's bonnet)
"Then it is overbright and those colors should never been seen togther upon the same person, not to mention the same garment ." he said. "And it actually suits you perfectly. It suits your character.”
More quotes…