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In the Thrill of the Night

(Merry Widows #1)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  672 ratings  ·  49 reviews
An award-winning author kicks off a new series featuring the Merry Widows, a secret society of respectable ladies with some scandalous ideas. A delicious and irresistible concoction, one part simple friendships, one part wicked delights, and all parts wonderful!'--Connie Brockway. Original.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by Signet (first published 2006)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  672 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Mar 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
What. The. Fuck. What the fuck.
This book is called In the Thrill of the Night.
but a more accurate title would be: Regency Date Rape. Or maybe: Lord Rapist. (actually I don't even think he's a lord)

So the story is:
Marianne Nesbitt is a widow to David Nesbitt, who was best friends with Adam Casenove. The three were very close for years until David's death. Adam and Marianne have remained best friends. Adam, a consumate rake, has finally decided to settle down and gets betrothed to Clarissa, a
May 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: series, 5-star, historical
What a fun, entertaining, and wonderful friends-turned-lovers story this is! I read this book in one sitting and was entertained the entire time. I spent most of the time with a silly grin on my face as I watched Marianne and Adam try to be interested in other people while it was obvious that they only had eyes for each other.

The beginning of the book and the ending are the greatest...the middle lags just a bit as you the reader are patiently waiting for these two to "get it" and finally admit
Addie H
I am re-reading all my 5 star rated romance novels. There are 60 on my shelf. This is book 12.

(Tropes: Friends to Lovers, Widow, Mistaken Identity, Unrequited Love)

This is how my 12th re-read held up.


It’s solid. It lacks a bit of banter and some sass. I’m a huge fan of sass.

- "What a pity you waited until I had betrothed myself to another woman. Otherwise, I would have been happy to provide you with all the pleasure you could possibly imagine."



On Goodreads this book has
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Best friends to lovers story which I normally enjoy, but unfinishable following their inevitable first sexual encounter. Best friends for years yet she can't recognise him as the as the same man who whispered sweet words of passions while holding her in his embrace. The morning after, she laid languidly in bed enjoying the lingering scent of her lover, again not connecting him with her friend whom she'd see in close proximity on a frequent basis. In addition, she is rather condescending to the ...more
L.G.C. Smith
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“In the Thrill of the Night” by Candice Hern. (Sigent Eclipse, $6.99, 304 pages)
As the trustees of the Benevolent Widows Fund, Mrs. Marianne Nesbitt and her fellows have sworn to never allow family or society to pressure them to marry again. Marianne will remain a respectable widow, in control of her own finances and life, thank you very much. Her late husband was the love of her life, and she can’t imagine another in his place. She certainly can’t imagine another man in her bed.

That’s all well
Xan West
Oct 10, 2017 marked it as do-not-read
Shelves: major-tw, nope
Decided not to read as the hero sexually assaults the heroine in an awful rendition of a bed trick. Described in this review:
Jan 30, 2008 rated it liked it
I was really curious about this story. It's been a while since I read a Candice Hern book, can't remember when was the last one, but a story with widows as main characters is a bit uncommon. As the widows seem ready to engage in amorous activities only make's it more interesting.

Marianne Nesbitt adored her late husband David, but the racy reminiscences of the Merry Widows make her wonder if she missed something special. Might she find it now through a love affair? Uncertain how to go about it,
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
I still remember the plot, and considering I read the book 3 years ago,it is quite a feat. "In the Thrill of the Night" is a fast paced, fun weekend read.

Marianne, a new widow, wants to explore the forbidden world of illicit liaisons that Victorian widows are allowed. Her best friend of sorts is her former husband's best friend, Adam. I loved the camaraderie between the two from the start. There is no awkwardness between the two, and the way Adam jumps balconies to have a midnight cuppa &
Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
Book 1 of the Merry Widows series! I had to succumb to at least one trashy romance novel. Firstly, it was short. That's pretty much the main reason why I finished it. OH. And it had the best friends scenario. I love the best friends scenario, it's such a cliche but I still love it.

The main characters Marianne and Adam have been friends for years. In fact, Adam was best friends with Marianne's husband (widow) and they've stayed as such until now. Marianne with the help of the Merry Widows, a
Carolyn F.
I read book #2 first and then went bass ackwards and read #1. This one wasn't as good as book #2. It took almost the whole book before the hero figured out who he really wanted and that was only because the girl he was attached to found someone else. So I felt like Merrianne was 2nd choice really. And her little game at the end of "punishing" him was really childish. I don't know if I'll read the rest of the series.
Karen Darling
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Even though this was a good story some parts were funny, and some parts were dry.
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fave-authors, regency
Oh my, you have to read this trilogy by Candice Hern. It's bloody perfect imo.
It doesn't get much better than this unless....perhaps Candice can come up with another trilogy of great love stories.
Emanuellen Trizi
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well, this one was funny! Loved Adam from the start and Marianne is a sweet too. The start is a bit slow though, with all the "Im only looking out for her" thing. But then it goes so well that I almost couldnt put the book down. There is a great misunderstanding that almost upset me, but its made in a way that I can overlook and enjoy as part of the plot. Thats why 4 stars. If you like When he was wicked, you"ll enjoy this too (even more if you thought Francesca a bit boring - not me though, I ...more
Apr 20, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The more I think about this book, the more uncomfortable it makes me. I am a total sucker for the "friends to lovers" trope, but this book is the sort that reminds me why I don't read romance more often.

Pros: it's got a lovely sense of place and the author shows her research.

Cons: rape by fraud, emotional abuse & isolation tactics used by the "hero".

Basically the book says that a guy sabotaging your relationships and sliding into your bed when you're expecting someone else is totally okay
Nancy Messina
May 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I thought this sounded like an intriguing idea for a series but once the book got started I just couldn’t enjoy it. The only character I really liked was the duchess. Everyone else just felt off or annoying.
Laura Mccann
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good start to the series!

I love the idea of their ladies group! That was a fun addition. Marianne is a great heroine. Adam slightly grated on my nerves as the hero.
Emilia Barnes
This was a very well researched historical romance. There was a lot of period detail woven into the plot and the descriptions which was nice and a lovely departure from the usual historical romances I've been reading lately.

I've never read this author before, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but my overall impression was positive. On the one hand a lot of it was refreshing - no alpha-hole hero, no stupid heroine, genuine consequences to actions (not just convenient set-ups for shagging
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
He knew now that the envy he'd felt for David all those years was not only for his seemingly perfect marriage. It was for his wife. Adam knew that he had never had a serious relationship with a woman because he'd compared them all with Marianne and they had come up short.

Wow. I very much enjoyed how the author started the story, with the Benevolent widows turn to Merry widows sealed with a pact having them promised to be open minded with the idea of having a lover without forgoing their
First I've read the second part from the series, about Beatrice, which was also a very entertaining read. So I had to pick up another book of the 'Merry widow series' - so why not the first? ;)

This book is about Marianne and her best friend Adam Cazenove who has the habit to enter her home by the balcony, because their balconies connect. After the merry widows talk about taking a lover or at least to be open to the possibility and talking about it - Marianne decides to help her destiny and
Umm, so this was good except for the parts that were dumb. And as you guess from my rating, the parts that were dumb were REALLY dumb. (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 04, 2012 rated it liked it
The first installment of the merry widows series. 5 widows (Marianne, Wilhelmina, Grace, Beatrice and Penelope)of good standing in society and suitable income have decided to spice up their love live and taken an affair. It all started with Penelope, who was taken a lover and 'forced' her friend to make a pack to open their minds to the possibility of having a lover (or lovers in case of Penelope).

Marianne who was happily married and every bit in love with her husband David realize that maybe
Oct 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance
This is probably catnip for some readers, but I quit fairly early when I realized that I was rooting for the heroine not to marry anyone at all, ever. It's a Regency, and she's a thirty-something year old widow with more money than she can possibly spend. Yes, I know that the hero is going to be wonderful and love her dearly and all of that, but... I'd rather they had a thing without getting married. The book starts with several respectable, aristocratic, wealthy widows getting together and ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Another of Candice Hern's "Merry Widows" collection. This is one of the several stories about a group of wealthy widows who choose to have lovers and affairs instead of marriage. I marked this down to 3 stars because it is full of erotic sexual scenes and not because of the author's writing prowess. Candice Hern is one of my VERY favorite Regency romance writers. I just don't get off on full throttle eroticism in the romances I read. On the whole, I recommend just about everything Candic Hern ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Candice Hern? Where have you been hiding all my life? Why have I not found you sooner??!! This book was awesome. I LOVED the friends first/loved second scenario. Probably because that is how my own husband and myself started out. And OMG the love scene was just soooooo sweet! Until the heroine had to ruin it :/ It wasn't her fault though. So I forgive her. But still, my heart broke for the hero at the time. Wtf am I talking about, you wonder? Guess you will have to read the book yourself to find ...more
Oct 20, 2013 rated it liked it
it was actually a pretty good read. the start promised much but then it got boring. they were not enough passionate!!4me at least. adam was not desperate. he was not obsessed enough wid marianne. dats what wud have made it an amazing read ! the start was fun n light. what shud have followed shud have been deeper, instead the author kept the same light n fun tone. n no it was not rape. it was just one of those night stands. n he did not force her, important point concerning rape ;p
Jul 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book really disappointed me. The plot itself was interesting but it could have been outlined using half the number of chapters. Honestly, I got so bored with hardly anything happening that I was skipping pages and still knew what was going on. I like Marianne (heroine), her character is that of a well-respected, beautiful widow enjoying her independence in society. The whole obsession with David just got too much for me to bear and in the end I just couldn't enjoy this book.
Donna Campbell
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
If it weren't for the fact it got really slow when Marianne was picking out her lover this could have been top-notch awesome. The pact to take lovers and share details was a fresh storyline & interesting reading. Adam was not the worthiest beau since he was sabotaging all Marianne's prospects without knowing why & was selfish in not even thinking he should give up dumb bunny "Clarrie"
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked this book.. but then again, I have always liked the plot. Widowed young woman who realizes that she is in love with the best friend and he feels the same. Similar to Julia Quinn's book "When he was wicked". A good book, Quinn's was better, but I am anxious to see how Ms. Hern's other books about the Merry Widows are.
Aug 02, 2013 rated it liked it
In the Thrill of the Night (Merry Widows, #1) by Candice Hern

First in the "Merry Widows" series. The Regency ladies have decided that even though their husbands have passed away, they are very much alive. And they have not given up on enjoying their lives.....
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I've read by this author, but it won't be the last. It was an enjoyable, entertaining, light read. There were a couple of things that I'm not quite sure go with the time period, but I read this kind of book to be entertained and I'm willing overlook historical accuracy for the sake of entertainment.
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Candice Hern is the award-winning, bestselling author of historical romance novels set during the English Regency period. Her books have won praise for the "intelligence and elegant romantic sensibility" (Romantic Times) as well as "delicious wit and luscious sensuality (Booklist). Candice's award-winning website ( is often cited for its Regency World pages, where readers ...more

Other books in the series

Merry Widows (3 books)
  • Just One of Those Flings (Merry Widows, #2)
  • Lady Be Bad (Merry Widows, #3)
“It really was me at Ossing. And it was wonderful. You smelled as sweet as these flowers. I love you.” 0 likes
“One cannot hold onto the past forever, after all.” 0 likes
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