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Genteel Secrets

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  27 reviews
What do a well-bred Southern Belle and a Northern working class Pinkerton detective have in common? Espionage . . . and romance. At the start of the U.S. Civil War, while young men begin dying on American battlefields and slavery is headed toward its end, behind the scenes, female undercover work and Pinkerton intelligence are alive and well. But in the end, can this unlik ...more
Kindle Edition, 111 pages
Published November 27th 2016
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  45 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Boyko Ovcharov
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Touching and Heartwarming

A heartwarming story of Romeo and Juliet during the U.S. Civil War. Noble feelings amidst espionage, drama, tragedy etc. Could true love be kept secret, even by a detective?
Well written, touching and thought-provoking.
Recommended to literary connoisseurs.
Bonnye Reed
Dec 14, 2019 marked it as to-read
Author gift with Tender Enemies, The Dolan Girls and Ellie and the War on Powder Creek. 99
Ever wonder what it would like to be a part of civil war or at the beginning of it. I have been interested in my own country’s battles and the war over slavery. That would be the Civil War that takes place in my America history.

I was have been born in the northern part of the civil war. Making me not have slaves. I would not be a slave owner. To me that owing other human beings is something which never happened. I am not one that ignore the fact that it happen though.

I would have let slaves be h
Ellen White
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An interesting look into the lives during the civil war. A southern belle that became a confederate spy. She was raised with the comforts of the south and having slaves around. Now a war going on to end this and lives being lost. Forced into being a confederate spy and meeting one from the north that was a Pinkerton agent. His assignment was to find her and bring her in. Love gave them the courage to do what needed to be done during this time. Can love be afterwards, the different upbringing tho ...more
Colleen Chesebro
Anytime S. R. Mallery releases a new book is a great day for the enthusiasts who follow her historical romances. So, you can imagine my excitement when she released, Genteel Secrets, a Civil War romance with a unique twist – Alan Pinkerton, who served as head of the Union Intelligence Service, and who created the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency.

Set in 1861 in Washington, D.C., we are introduced to James Neely, an Irish immigrant who has worked his way out of the slums to become a doctor. In a
Effrosyni Moschoudi
Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having thoroughly enjoyed 'Sewing Can Be Dangerous' by this author, I jumped at the chance to read Genteel Secrets. This is because I had high expectations, knowing this author's unique ability to weave historical elements into her stories seamlessly, and to make them come so alive that it feels like you're living them firsthand. As I expected, this delightful short read didn't disappoint. This was the first time I read Civil War fiction and felt perfectly immersed into it, meeting legendary fig ...more
S. Daisy
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is a historical fiction novella taking place during the Civil War, mainly in Washington D.C. It's about a Southern girl with anti-Confederacy leanings, Hannah Mayfield, who is blackmailed by her wicked pro-slavery cousin to spy for the Confederacy while they vacation in Washington. Things get complicated when Hannah falls in love with Northern abolitionist James after meeting him just once. Dare she tell him the part she truly plays in the war? It turns out, James has a secret to keep that ...more
Ellie Midwood
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Being a longtime fan of S. R. Mallery’s writing, I’ve been delighted to get my hands on her new historical novel, knowing in advance that I’ll enjoy every page, and I certainly did!
“Genteel Secrets” is not just a love story, even though the romance between the two main characters was one of the things that I enjoyed immensely in this novel, but it’s a meticulously researched historical fiction, which deals with the espionage, questioning of the moral right of one ethnic group owning another, po
Uvi Poznansky
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Genteel Secrets encapsulates the Civil War era, a trying time in US history, within a love story unfolding between a Belle of the old South who may be part of a network of Confederate spies, Hannah Mayfield, and a Yankee doctor who takes up a new career as a Pinkerton Detective, James Neely. The obstacles between them are hard to surmount, in an atmosphere of political division, suspicion and treachery that puts both of them in danger.

S.R. Mallery’s work in this book is meticulously researched,
Angelica Lichtner
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I first read the blurb of this book I got really excited and couldnt wait to read it. Even if the read is a bit short, the story capture the reader right away and make it a delightful journey with the character. I read a lot of book like this one but I must say that S.R. Mallery has a unique style and her own way to capture the reader and to tell the story. Even if you have live yourself into a story, there is often something missing but S.R. Mallery really get you, as a reader, to live the ...more
Frances Shellings
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fast-paced, intriguing, and most of all heart-warming

From page one you become hooked! Hannah becomes endeared to you and you want to cherish and protect her especially from her cousin!... Then you meet James and you know he needs love in the cruel world. As the fateful day comes where to kindred spirits meet by chance in a park and sparks fly you know they are what the other has been longing for. Unfortunately, family and war keep them apart for awhile. Hannah is blackmailed by her cousin and Ja
Carla Peñaloza
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In a time when your skin color is more important than the fact that you are a human being like any other, would you have the courage to say what you think regardless of how your peers judge you? In this book you will find people who had the courage to be true to themselves and not to judge those by their color but by their actions. You will also find endless exciting situations that combine to form a story of love, courage and understanding that transcends the beliefs of the time and will deligh ...more
Danielle Carpenter
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This historical novel sets in the heart of the Civil War. Two people who are opposites meet and find a love that is true. Hannah is blackmailed into helping getting secrets from Union soldiers, while James enlists as a Pinkerton agent. The war and family are against them. When Hannah is sought by the Pinkerton agency, James makes a choice to save Hannah. Getting out of Washington, D.C. will not be easy, but they follow the underground railroad out. How the underground railroad operates is histor ...more
Lasher Lane
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've said in past reviews of S.R. Mallery's historical fiction that her work would make great textbook companions for students. I can say the same for her latest spy thriller/romance, GENTEEL SECRETS, which captures a time when racial discrimination and hostility divided the North and South, mirroring today's sentiments of the Right and Left.
The author gives us an accurate, visual account of not only Washington D.C. at the time, but also women spies, Pinkerton agents, and even the renowned Fred
Robyn Echols
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Chance Meeting

What started as a chance meeting led to a story full of intrigue, blackmail, and more than one person fleeing for their lives. The author worked several instances historical events from the early Civil War years into o the plot.
Olga Miret
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to fans of romantic historic novels looking for a short, enjoyable and thrilling read set in the early Civil War era I have read, enjoyed and reviewed several of S.R. Mallery’s novels and short story collections (most recently The Dolan Girls, check the review here) and she has a knack for combining historical fact and characters with gripping stories that grab the readers, transporting them into another world, sometimes closer and sometimes  far back in the past.
In this novella, the
Caro ♡ Hot Mess Sommelière
Feb 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Author can‘t write books

In her biography it states that Mallory started out as a lyrics writer and composer. Probably a better career for her.

The story set up is simple and lame. A man with no personality meets a pretty girl in a park and they hit it off with a conversation about poetry writing. It is immediately love and their relationship really doesn‘t need any more effort from the writing department. Next thing we know, the pretty girl is a southern belle with a meany mean cousin who has no
Joanne Ernest
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Imagine for a moment that you are a young woman from the South in the year 1860. Your family owns slaves but you look on them as your dear friends and would do anything to help them, especially Noah Smith, your special childhood friend. Unfortunately your family does not agree with you about anything, most especially the slave situation. That is the case for Hannah Mayfield.

Hannah and her cousin, Lavinia, are sent to Washington to attend various parties and balls in the hopes they will find elig
Rebecca Austin
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-magic
In 1861 the Civil War in the US is just beginning and this is creating much tension between the North and the South.

When James Neely meets a beautiful lady named Hannah at the park he knows he will never forget her although she fails to meet with him again. Soon he begins working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency trying to stop the South and their spy's from gaining ground.

Hannah Mayfield has never truly fit in with the Southern beliefs towards the slaves. When she is caught teaching the family
Alexandra Mack
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hannah is a typical Southern Belle who lives on a farm with her family. However, her big secret was that her best friend, Noah, was a slave. He was the only one who truly understood her and befriended her, giving her respite from the torture of her cousin. When her cousin threatens to tell about her teaching her friend Noah, Hannah has to let herself be controlled by her. This drags her into the world of espionage and the secrets of the Civil War. 

Although this novel is technically a historical
Anna Burke
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This Civil War-era romantic thriller provides the reader with a fascinating glimpse into this period in US history. A wonderful romance between Hannah Mayfield and James Neely unfolds in the midst of bitter warfare that has torn friends and families apart. Like SR Mallery's other books, the contrasting realities adds interest to the story. It also keeps you turning pages as you pull for the main characters to find their way through unthinkably harsh times.

The conflict that drives the story is p
Apr 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If the reader likes Civil War stories with a spy twist, I highly recommend this novella. I was fascinated with the intrigue as to how Miss Hannah would untangle herself from the clutches of her 'evil' sister and keep herself out of harm's way. Ms. Mallery wove a wonderful tale of the social norms of the era which by our standards today seem so out of the realm of possibilities in a love interest. The research always amazes me when I read one of this author's novels. I especially enjoyed the quot ...more
Sally Stackhouse
Mar 11, 2019 rated it liked it
The story tries to cover many aspects of this time period, civil war, slavery, spying, Pinkerton Detectives along with different cultures and repression of the female sex. I don’t believe the novel is long enough to do these themes the justice they deserve because of the shortness it is bitty and choppy. There is a soft romance but the ending seems far-fetched and just a way to end the book with a HEA.
Katie Thompson
Mar 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hannah is a Southern belle that doesn't exactly swoon. She reads. She doesn't agree with a lot of the South's ways of thinking, either. When her path crosses that of James, an Irish immigrant that had studied to be a doctor, her life is forever changed. She is swept into the world of espionage thanks to her Confederate to her rotten core cousin, Lavinia, who uses Hannah's friendship with a family slave as a bargaining chip. ...more
Irene Langston-Butler
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book very much, it moves along quickly. The story and characters are well written and developed. I received this book free and voluntarily reviewed it.
Angel Sefer
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Hannah Mayfield is not your typical Southern Belle. She is a smart, brave, and educated young lady who believes in values like justice and equality. While growing up, her best friend was a slave named Noah. But their friendship placed both of them at risk.
James Neely is not your typical Pinkerton detective. He is a compassionate young man who shares Hannah’s values.
During troubled times of war, their love flourishes and gives them strength and determination for a better life, away from all this
Donalie Beltran
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novella romance takes you back to the dangerous days of our Civil War. Hannah's life is dictated by her family, as were all Southern Belle's of the day. When she meets the man of her dreams, there is no way they will ever be able to be together. Twists and turns enter this story as she is terrorized by a deranged cousin. Set up for treason, there is only one escape, but she doesn't make it.
A great read that keeps you busy until the end. An end you didn't see coming. Mallery is one of my fav
rated it did not like it
Jun 20, 2017
Rita Benson
rated it really liked it
Feb 11, 2019
Phyllis H. Pajka
rated it it was amazing
Apr 13, 2019
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S. R. Mallery has worn many hats in her life. Starting out as a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved onto the professional world of production art and calligraphy, followed by a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descent 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller and Down In the Dirt. Unexpe ...more

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