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The Secret of You and Me

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  614 ratings  ·  192 reviews
True love never fades—and old secrets never die…

Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she fled Texas to start a new life. Away from her father’s volatile temper and the ever-watchful gaze of her claustrophobically conservative small town, Nora has freed herself. She can live—and love—however she wants. The only problem is that she also left behind the one woman she can’t forg
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Graydon House
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  614 ratings  ·  192 reviews

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Melissa Lenhardt
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
To My Readers,

The Secret of You and Me is my first Women’s Fiction novel. It’s a love story about two women, Nora Noakes and Sophie Russell, who were torn apart in their youth by prejudice and hate, and now two decades later, after life has taken them in very different directions, are given a second chance to find love when an unexpected tragedy brings them back together.

The Secret of You and Me is all about looking back at the choices you’ve made, or the choices forced upon you by friends, fami

If you ask a reader what a “romance” is, you’re likely to get a few different answers. But most likely, the common thread will be something along the official definition from Romance Writers of America: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending. This is a broad description and covers a variety of stories. But—not every book with a central love story and a “happy” ending is going to feel like a romance, because I’d add one third element: optimi
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My review on my website
Twitter @bookread2day

I have loved reading every single page of The Secret of You and Me, with lots of surprises set within the story that I didn’t realise was going to happen, and with interesting characters that author Melissa Lenhardt had written about stayed with me long after I finished. A page turning vibrant story not to be missed.

What keep me turning the pages, is a secret love affair with complications, one that I don’t want do any s
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
I stared at our hands, remembering all the times they’d been joined, gripping each other, the panting breaths, the sweat-slicked bodies, the whispers of love.

On my blog.

Rep: bi mc with PTSD, lesbian mc, Iranian American Muslim lesbian side character

CWs: homophobia, cheating, racism/islamophobia, past alcohol abuse, biphobia, emotional abuse

The Secret of You and Me felt a lot like a book of two separate stories. One is the story of two women working through their fallout from eighteen yea
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nora returns to her childhood home after eighteen years, for her father’s funeral. She was sent away from her family when she was caught in bed with her best friend Sophie.

Sophie is now married to Charlie who used to be Nora’s boyfriend and has a daughter Logan. When Sophie sees Nora again all her old feelings for her return.

This is such a beautifully written love story. The turmoil of Sophie living a lie and trying to hide her feelings for Nora, growing up in a religious small town where being
Rachel Hall
Mills & Boon’s first ever LGBTQ+ romance is a second chance love story between two mid-thirties women and childhood friends eighteen years after they were torn apart by prejudice in their fiercely conservative small town home of Lynchfield, Texas.

Former military captain and now translator, Nora Noakes, returns home to bury the estranged father who threw her out of the house eighteen earlier when he got wind of her amorous antics with best friend Sophie Russell. The relationship split broke Nora
Kat Cook
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtq, romance
I could not put this book down! It tells a truly beautiful and authentic love story that is fantastically written. It has just the right amount of heat to be HOT but not graphic. This would be a great access point for someone who hasn't read a queer love story before but is cool with it. As a queer writer of queer fiction myself, I think it respects our community fantastically and with perfect insight that loves stories are just love stories regardless of the characters' plumbing. Stop reading m ...more
Anna Avian
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I picked up this book because of the LGBTQ+ representation in the lead characters but you can tell that it’s written by a straight woman. The story starts very slow. Both main characters sounded immature, more like 20 year olds than grown women pushing 40. One minute they were being genuinely friendly, trying to rebuild their relationship, and the next they were snapping at each other about some past event. The dialogues between them didn’t sound believable and affectionate. The intimate moments ...more
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
“The Secret of You and Me” by Melissa Lenhardt is my first Mills and Boon book and my first predominantly LGBTQ+ story. I’ve always associated Mills and Boon with older female readers, looking for the perfect fairy tale romance and for that reason they have never took my fancy. However, when the opportunity to read their first LGBTQ+ publication, aimed at a younger and more millennial audience, I was keen to try.
“The Secret of Me and You” is for her, the author’s modern retelling of Jane Austen’
Jul 15, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nora has never looked back since leaving her home town. She has come home now as her father has died. She has to face ex-boyfriend Charlie, and best friend Sophie. Sophie appears to have a great life. She is married to Charlie, has a daughter Logan and a successful career but her life isn’t a great as it appears and when Nora comes back their lives collide again.

This book is a story about a friendship that develops into something more between two young women but certain issues spilts them up bu
DNF 20%

The Secret of You and Me promised to be a great beach read with a second chance f/f romance (finally!). Sadly, I found the writing to be clumsy and the dialogues were extremely unconvincing. Characters would say things that didn't really rang true to life or they would make these very random comments that didn't really 'fit' with the type of character they are.
One of the main characters, someone who is presented as having been wronged by her family and community, who is ex-military and in
Lea (drumsofautumn)
my bookstagram picture of the cover of the secret of you and me on an ipad with a blanket in the background

“We’d done everything together since we were ten years old. I couldn’t imagine life any other way. I’d never wanted to imagine life any other way.”

The Secret of You and Me is a sapphic adult romance that tackles some very serious topics and issues, all packed into a beautiful second-chance romance.

This story revolves around two women, Nora and Sophie, who fell in love when they were teenagers but couldn't be together due to the prejudices in their small hometown in Texas. When Nora,
Ivana - Diary of Difference
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I received The Secret of You and Me by Melissa Lenhardt by Mills & Boon. The paperback publication date has been pushed for 29 October 2020, and I am looking forward to reading it. This is the first LGBTQ+ romance novel published by Mills & Boon.
Leslie aka StoreyBook Reviews
I enjoyed this book more than I expected and I stayed up late several nights to finish the book.

I'll have a longer review later, but definitely a good book.
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
finished this during an all nighter; my feelings r confusing but i overall enjoyed the tone and the story but so help me god next lesbian romance i read must have no men whatsoever
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sophie and Nora were best friends all throughout town. They live in a small conservative town in Texas so when they start to develop feelings for each other things start to get complicated. Nora is forced to leave town, the girls fall out and don't end up speaking for 18 years. However, Nora's father passes away which sees her come back to town. Sophie and Nora both have never lost feelings for each other but Sophie is now married and has a child. Can they rekindle their romance or are they real ...more
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was ok

Our main character who is bi literally spent half the book making sure people knew she liked men and women and then turns around and says "I'm in a lesbian relationship" 💀💀, the term is SAPPHIC!!! plus literally everyone is cheating, the double standards are ridiculous and the 2 women who are supposed to be in love are completely erratic in their feelings towards each other. In conclusion, it was a mess 😂
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

This is a wonderful story of Nora and Sophie who secretly fell in love as teenagers, were caught together and separated for 18 years.
It is a story of love against all odds, of friendship and of defeating the haters.
It is wonderful to read a lesbian love story where the characters are in their 30s. It gave the story real depth and so much meaning to their love story.
Nora and Sophie are both incredible characters. Nora is fierce and unapologetic about who she is. She was an absolute gem o
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of contemporaries, complicated characters, yearning and hopeful queer stories
"She read 'The Handmaid's Tale' in freshman sociology and turned into a lesbian."
"From reading a book? I don't think it works like that."
"How would you know?"
4.5 stars

Came for the sapphic love story, stayed for the compelling narrative, characters that are just so messily human, powerful sapphic yearning (bisexual rep!) and strong themes of love, family and honesty.

This was a peak portrayal of the friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-possible lovers again narrative arc. My heart lifted and fe

Laura Nelson (Tangents and Tissues)
I adore LGBTQ stories, but I’m ashamed to admit that all of my reads have been predominantly m/m. The Secret of You and Me is my first f/f read, but do you know what?! The Secret of You and Me was one of the best second chance romance stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading!

Nora and Sophie’s story had me on a rollercoaster of emotions. My poor heartstrings were being pulled left, right and centre. In fact, scratch that rollercoaster analogy – it was like being on the waltzers. And I hate t
Aug 04, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I appreciated that the prose was of higher quality than is usually found in this genre but that was about the only positive thing I found when reading this.
I'm sick of reading stories about homophobic and abusive parents. I realise that that situation is a reality for some people and it has been successfully used as a plot point in many novels but good god it has been done to death. For a straight woman to be writing a novel, aimed at queer women, utilising that narrative just leaves me with a
Aug 05, 2020 rated it liked it
OK first of all, can I just saw HOW much I LOVED reading an LGBTQIA romance novel. Yay!! We need to see more of this!!

The beginning started a tad bit slow to me but I was already invested between the history and passion behind the story of Nora and Sophie. I've always loved stories about second chance romances. The author weaves a beautiful heartfelt story between these two women and how they find their way back to one another.

I also liked how the author incorporated some heavy topics of racism,
Emily Matthys bennett
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I like to read a good ¨love gone wrong, but maybe we can forgive¨ type of romance. This one was really good. The largest strength was in the character development. I found myself caring a good deal about the leads. I also liked that the author made it hot and romantic without bordering on smutty. It is sometimes nice to read a romance that focuses on the feelings over anything else.
Lynn Poppe
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Whenever I hear a book is a remake or retelling of Persuasion, my right eyebrow automatically raises in skepticism. Is it even possible that any book could compare to my favorite Austen novel, let alone one of my favorite books of all time? (And Captain Wentworth forever has my heart!) I spent the first 25% comparing every minute detail, from characters, to the settings, emotions, physical interactions, and more, in The Secret of You and Me to Persuasion. But once I stopped the comparisons, I en
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an early copy for review

I requested this book as the cover is absolutely stunning and because I want to support LGBT stories in adult fiction, as our stories seem few and far between in adult fiction.
I enjoyed this book, but it was a lot heavier than I was expecting. Lenhardt deals with many topics such as grief, alcoholism, homophobia, PTSD and many more. This gave the novel more depth than I was expecting from it, and I thought that was a pleasant
Jenn Z at That's What She's Reading

Wow! What a heartfelt and hopeful second chance love story that is definitely one of my favorite reads this year!

Following the death of her estranged father, Nora returns to her childhood home after eighteen years away to settle his affairs, and in doing so must confront those she so suddenly left behind. As her former best friend, Sophie's feelings for Nora are complicated, but so is her life, and seeing Nora after so much lost time, reignites a spark that had dulled when Nora took off with no
Ellie  G.
Jan 10, 2021 rated it did not like it
WARNING: mentions of hate speech towards the LGBTQ+ community.

So I'm a lesbian. Some would consider me a later in life lesbian due to the circumstances in which I realized I was gay. So when I found out the writer of one of my favorite books (Heresy) was releasing a wlw romance, I was cautious but excited. It's not often we get contemporary wlw romances in adult fiction.

But this book brought me nothing but migraines, severe anxiety and even triggered some of my PTSD cycles.

I don't want to spec
The story of Nora and Sophie’s passionate second-chance journey to their happy-ever-after despite small town prejudices and past hurts lends itself highly adaptable to film. All the elements are there: fully fleshed-out characters, complicated relationships, well-described small town setting, timely subjects, and involving storytelling.

Complete review is on my blog Carpe Diem Chronicles.

Content advisory: homophobia, alcoholism, cheating
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely queer romance novel, just the right mixture of drama, family and love. A nice easy read with some fantastic lines. My first Mills and Boon book, a lot tamer than I envisioned. This story is a retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. The author is donating 10% of it's royalties to the It Gets Better Project as some of the story reflects what a family member went through in a small American town. ...more
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Melissa Lenhardt is a women’s fiction, mystery, and historical fiction author. Her debut mystery, STILLWATER, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and SAWBONES, her historical fiction debut, was hailed as a "thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new sub-genre: the feminist Western" by Lone Star Literary Life. The New York Times cal ...more

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