Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Stanforth Secrets (Lovers and Ladies, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Stanforth Secrets (Lovers and Ladies, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Stanforth Secrets

(Lovers and Ladies #1)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  394 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Though widowed Chloe Stanforth loves her house by the sea, puzzling incidents inspire a move. Back from the war, Justin Delamere, cousin of her husband she has always admired, hopes to finally woo his love. But is she guilty of treason-and murder?
Paperback, 248 pages
Published September 1st 1991 by Avon Books (first published July 1st 1989)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  394 ratings  ·  36 reviews

More filters
Sort order

This early series, Lovers & Ladies was a blend of historical romance and suspense which was a bonus in my book. I enjoyed making the comparison to later more mature writing, but also the fun spirit in the earlier books like this one. The romance is a tug o' war sort and not as strongly developed, but the suspense was quite impressive as it had me pointing my finger in more than one direction.

Technically, the second book written in the Lovers & Ladies series, this was chronolo
Author: Jo Beverley
First published: 1989
Length: 307 pages
Setting: Regency Lancashire.
Sex: clean
Hero: Soldier, unexpected Viscount. Cousin to Chloe's late husband and helped them elope.
Heroine: Eloped very young (from schoolroom) now widowed. Marriage was difficult.
Includes: Author's notes and excerpt from The Stolen Bride.

A soft romance with a simple and very obvious mystery enveloping the HEA of Chloe and Stephen. Easy and simple, obviously an early work, but enjoyable all the same.

Sadly, Chloe and Stephen lacked chemistry l/>:/>:/>:/>:/>:/>:/>First
3.5 Stars! I picked this one up because I've loved other books Jo Beverley has written, most notably, the Malloren series. This book was totally different from the Mallorens though. This is a traditional Regency, definitely less steam and excitement. It still had good characters, but I don't think they were as fleshed out as they would've been in a longer novel, neither their personalities or their relationship had a whole lot of time to be expanded upon. However, there was a nice little mystery about ...more
Aug 31, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teenagers and Adults
Recommended to Adrianna by: Eureka, CA Library
This is Beverley's second book written when she first broke into the romance publishing frontier. It reminded me of a Jane Austen or gothic romance but not written as well as some of the ones I have read under that genre. The best thing about this book is the mystery, which was hard to figure out. The setting, the dark house juxtaposed next to the sea, gave the perfect mysterious atmosphere. Unfortunately, the chemistry between the main characters, Chloe and Justin, was lacking. Part of this was ...more
This book is a prequel to Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed and The Stolen Bride. I liked it better than either of the two sequels. Chloe is a good mix of headstrong and decorous. She understands that marriage based on physical attraction is not enough. I empathize with her dilemma and if I were a well-off widow in 1810 I would hesitate to marry again especially a man so similar to my first husband. Justin is a bit of a pig. He claims to love Chloe but he's tempted to seduce her into marrying him. He' ...more
Perhaps 4 stars is a tad high but I am so appreciative of Jo Beverley's consisently high standard of writing and research. I think it's a shame that new readers to her newly in print Regencies are reading them in totally the wrong order (as I did!). It's worth going to her website to figure it out. Just off the top of my head, it clearly should be this one first. Correct me if I'm wrong.

So the story: Chloe married Stephen and the elopement was orchestrated by his cousin Justin. Fast
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As wonderful as the first story that I read in this series, I agaiin found myself charmed by the clean, fun world in which we found ourselves. This one actually takes place a few years before The Lord Wraybourne's Betrothal. And now that I've found out the rest of the books in the series, I'll be snatching them up as well. The intrigue in this book was a little more upfront from the very beginning but was more of a political intrigue that the characters got caught up in. Sadly, there were more d ...more
Corinne Yee
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
This book is part of a series of books by Jo Beverley that are called "love stories." They are what the name implies--love stories, but without some of the "bodice-ripping" action that we often see in romances these days.

The two main characters were likable, and they had a lot of romantic tension between them. The mystery plot in the book was not obvious at all--I really wasn't sure how it would end up until the characters solved it.

I enjoyed this book a good bit. It was fun, light
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This was a mellow mystery plot with an easy steady pace. Basically an 'ambling stroll' kind of book. There was minimal angst, an off-scene pairing of the leads who knew and loved each other ages before we meet them, and I suppose mild drama. No great feeling of threat to the set up, despite deaths occurring. Relaxing overall, definitely not a standout but absolutely nothing to offend or irritate.
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: regency
I have found a use for these books I have been reading, putting them on top of my recessed cupboards, I can place my decorative items on them, so they may be displayed. It is cheaper than using my Fiesta Ware bowls.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite Regencies. Justin and Chloe are two excellent characters. The story is a bit improbable, but carried off admirably. The secrets are well hidden and not revealed until the very end.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting plot kept my interest.
The mystery for this one was fairly strong. The romance was not quite as strong. The love story is not as well constructed.
Lin Stepp
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
I got on a Regency reading jag this spring ... sitting in hospitals and nursing homes with elderly parents. I discovered Jo Beverly along the way ... and read, with pure enjoyment, many of her novels.
This one held more mystery than most ... keeping me guessing through much of the book.
Chloe, widowed, with her life somewhat unsettled ... runs into a series of puzzling mysteries at Delamere Hall, the family home by the sea. Justin, brother to Chloe's late husband, has always carried a torch for
I liked this. Of course Beverley always hits the mark for me. This is one of her earlier stories, and one can tell, because it follows the Heyer conventions at the beginning more than she usually does. Rather like a friend conveying some tasty gossip, describing the heroine and the situation. Then as you get into the story, it becomes more "modern" and less quaint. More a matter of tone than anything. Anyway, the heroine is a widow, the hero is her late husband's cousin who abetted their elopeme ...more
Jane Irish Nelson
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Chloe is one of three widowed Lady Stanforths currently resident at Delamere Hall. The oldest is her mother-in-law, who is wandering in her wits; while the youngest is Belinda, a local girl who married Chloe's late husband's uncle George almost as soon as he inherited the title. But now George is dead, and Belinda's child is a girl, so the next heir, George's nephew Justin, is on his way to take up his duties. And Chloe can hardly wait to leave and rejoin Society. But sparks fly when she and Jus ...more
ms bookjunkie
I just love these Jo Beverley reissues! Love! They're sweet, witty, delightful and funny (with a bit of mystery involved), and just so satisfying to read. The best part about them is that I can recommend them to anyone, from my great-granny (should she be alive and reading romance) to my twelve-year old self (or niece, cousin, goddaughter).
Lynne Tull
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: regency-romance
I love Jo Beverley books and had this one in my 'stash'. I really liked it and now am going to read the other connected books: Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed and The Stolen Bride. I think there are others as per her 'Dear Readers' at the end of this book. I like the mystery story that is woven into the romance story. I am a real mystery fan.
Arlene Downey
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borrowed, ebook
Very unusual regency, more like a mystery! Typical of this author, even with her earlier works.

As for the romance, it was a second chance love with espionage thrown in. Set during the war with Napoleon. The whole story takes place at a country estate with the last chapter at a different estate. Interesting characters!
I thought that the setting of the time period was excellent,the thrill of the chase throughout the book, it was mysterious and exciting, really grabbed a hold of you trying to figure out who is the killer. My personal though was this particular book wasn't as good as the Lord Waybourne's Betrothed because there was more passion in that book!
Marguerite Guthridge
Great book! This author is on my must read list.
Yvonne Gom
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Everyone's looking for an apple!
Oct 04, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-new
This book was a love story with a little mystery thrown in. The romance needed more depth. I think the characters could have been developed a lot more. The whole plot was a little disappointing.
May 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fluff
After I finished it I found out this is a re-issue of an early book - um, yeah, she's a lot better now. Definitely a good choice if one is looking for a measure of growth or a writer whom one likes.
Mary Craven
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Getting to some of Jo Beverley's earlier books. A bit too much mystery and not enough romance in this one for me. Still enjoyed it.
Oct 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
I've read this before, but since I can't remember it, just that parts of it seem familiar, I'm giving it another go.
Mary Lauer
Decent. I figured out the villain fairly early (who else could it have been, really?) but Belinda's tale was trickier. I did like Justin and Chloe together.
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The mystery seemed to take over the actual romance but was a really good read nonetheless.
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 10, 2015 07:36AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Ungrateful Governess
  • Mr. Malcolm's List
  • Lord Stanhope's Proposal
  • The Adventuress (A House for the Season, #5)
  • Isabella & The English Witch (Trevelyan Family, #1 & #2)
  • Miss Milton Speaks Her Mind
  • The Duke's Double (Lords of Love)
  • The Highland Countess (Cotillion Regency Romance, #10) (Regency Royal, #7)
  • A Garden Folly (Country House Party, #1)
  • The Nobody (Nobody, #1)
  • Lady Lissa's Liaison (To Woo an Heiress, #1)
  • Forever Mine (The Rumor, #0.5)
  • Everything I Ever Wanted (Compass Club, #2)
  • Faery Magic
See similar books…
Mary Josephine Dunn was born 22 September 1947 in Lancashire, England, UK. At the age of eleven she went to an all-girls boarding school, Layton Hill Convent, Blackpool. At sixteen, she wrote her first romance, with a medieval setting, completed in installments in an exercise book. From 1966 to 1970, she obtained a degree in English history from Keele University in Staffordshire, where she met her ...more

Other books in the series

Lovers and Ladies (6 books)
  • Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed (Lovers and Ladies, #2)
  • The Stolen Bride (Lovers and Ladies, #3)
  • Emily and the Dark Angel (Lovers and Ladies, #4)
  • The Fortune Hunter (Lovers and Ladies, #5)
  • Deirdre and Don Juan (Lovers and Ladies, #6)