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A Secret Affair

(Huxtable Quintet #5)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  5,979 ratings  ·  453 reviews

Born a commoner, Hannah Reid has been Duchess of Dunbarton since she was nineteen years old. Now her husband is dead and, more beautiful than ever at thirty, Hannah has her freedom at last. To the shock of a conventional friend, she announces her intention to take a lover—and not just any lover, but the most dangerous and delicious man in all of upper-class England: Consta
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 25th 2011 by Delacorte Press (first published February 12th 2010)
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Erin Zig This is one where it answers the questions from Book 1 but other than that it is fine as a stand alone. It is better in my opinion if you start at…moreThis is one where it answers the questions from Book 1 but other than that it is fine as a stand alone. It is better in my opinion if you start at book 1 though because you can appreciate the main character in book 5 a lot more.(less)

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  5,979 ratings  ·  453 reviews

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Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: die-hard fans
How to fill 340 pages with almost nothing: Have a character think a thought, significant or banal. Then modify it. Question or contradict it. Reiterate it. Ad nauseum.

Despite not caring much for the Huxtable series, I had hopes for this final book. The set-up for Constantine was the most interesting part of the previous books. And since this one had a much longer publishing schedule than the other books, I hoped it would be less repetitive and more original.

Instead it may
I liked this one very much!:)
Oct 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of the series or Balogh fans who hold a special place in their heart for "A Summer to Remember"
If you have been following the Huxtable series by Mary Balogh then you will definitely want to read A Secret Affair. It is the long-awaited story of Con Huxtable, and the final installment in the series...tying up all the loose ends from the other four books.

It stands to reason that the dark, brooding mysterious Con.. nicknamed The Devil by the ton...would have a somewhat unconventional premise for his story. The heroine is the widowed Duchess of Dunbarton, an unrivaled beauty who was married for 10 yea
Lisa Kay
Jan 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: die-hard Balogh fans
2017 Update - ★★★★✩ Reread and enjoyed it more this go-around. Then again, I hadn't read all the previous books in the series, so Con wasn't such a big change in character for me (though I do remember his actions in previous books). I've had a cold and Ms. Balogh is always good for a “comfort” re-reading.

Old Review: Really more toward ★★★ stars, but I conceded the point for one of my favorite “auto-buy” authors. I eagerly anticipated the telling of wicked bad-boy, Constantine Huxtabl
Starr (AKA Bam Bam) Rivers
Unfortunately, I had to read this book as a BOOK, not on my ipad, since I got it a long time ago and don't want to also pay again for the Kindle version. It was interesting reading a book and turning actual pages again - it's been a long time since I've done that!!

This is my favorite book by Mary Balogh of all time!! So 5 solid stars!!

I absolutely ADORE the heroine. Normally, I start a review for a romance book raving about the H. The H is why I read these books after all. I want to fall in love with the H of every romance boostars!!
Jul 25, 2010 rated it liked it
This was another audiobook for me (which is in keeping with this series for me -- I've only listened to the books for this series). It's been an up and down ride, and with the book prior to this one, "Seducing an Angel" being a 2-star book for me, I was hoping MB had recaptured a bit more of her "MB" magic for this one. She'd written this series starting out with Constantine ("Con"), our hero, as one of the "anchors" to the family and series. Then she carried his character throughout the books, ...more
Miranda Davis
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: keeper, hot-hot-hot
Guess what? A Lady Awakened has a precedent. This novel predates ALA but the seemingly cold, widowed duchess thinks in tight, "one must' constructions and guards her self-control. But I really like this gal. The battle of wills commences at H/h's first meeting, before which she'd determined he would be her lover. He hopes to peel away her layers. Oh yeah, baby. Happy, happy, joy, joy!

She's known to be a cold, grasping female, now widowed, who managed to marry an aging duke and take h
At Last Comes Love 3.5 stars [possibly 4]

This is easily the strongest of this series of books. I'm being stingy, I suspect with 3.5 stars rounded down. I'll feel mean later on this evening for not giving four stars. Balogh makes a difficult premise work here. A well-to-do upper class girl bumps into a man at a ball, literally proposes and they wind up engaged and eventally married. Far-fetched, but it really works. The romance builds believably. There's just too much articulation o
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was in search of a book like this...where the author tackles the concept of beauty as a curse instead of blessing. I really loved Balogh's approach to this. Lovely read. I also loved the circumstances of Con's life and his struggles of love/hate with his family and cousins. It is so difficult to deal with an injustice...but even harder when you have no one but a fickle chance of fate to blame for it.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, regency
I liked Constantine. He is gorgeous. Sexy, too. But somehow I didn't connect much with Hannah. I liked the storyline of her marriage to the duke etc, but she somehow didn't seem as real to me as some of Balogh's other great heroines.

So, an original and interesting plot line, although I don't normally like the HR trope of the assertive woman who deliberately sets out to find a sexual partner (then falls in love with him - duh). But I could 'go with the flow' on this one. It was a swee
Suad Shamma
Nov 21, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own, 2011
I'm going to make this short: I did not like it.

There is something about the way that Mary Balogh writes that just bores me immensely. The reason I bought this book was because I had already started the series and figured I should finish what I started, but from Chapter 1, I could already feel myself wanting to skip to the end already.

I do admit that some of her books have an appeal to them, I enjoyed to a certain extent reading the Simply series and the Slightly (Bedwyn)
Jun 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
When authors start writing a series there's always one character that stands out and that is usually left for the last books. In the Huxtable series it is Constantine, the illegitimate son whose parents married 2 days too late thus costing him his inheritance. Con has never been bitter about that and the previous books have proven that not only does he not resent Stephen for being the current Earl but he quite likes the whole family and in turn is considered a friend. However we know from book 1 ...more
From the moment I started the first book in the Huxtable Series I was intrigued by the character Constantine Huxtable. Dark, dangerous, devil, blackguard- these are just some of the words used to describe Con. But in his story, A Secret Affair, a much different side of him was revealed and we find that how people perceive him to be was just a disguise. I was very disappointed to find that we did not see any of these characteristics in his story. Con did not even seem like the same person we've been rea ...more
Donna Alward
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
The 5th and final Huxtable book.

I really didn't think I was going to like this book. I was pretty sure I didn't like the heroine at the beginning and that's a big deal, right? My impression of the Duchess of Dunbarton was the same as that of the ton. I did not think much of her at all and certainly not deserving of Constantine.

I understand WHY it was written in such a way - so the reader could change impressions just as the rest of Hannah's (the Duchess) world did. BUT personally I
Nov 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've been waiting for Con's story since I read the first Huxtable book, and Balogh did not disappoint me. She rarely does. The motif of appearances vs. reality has run through this series, and it receives the fullest treatment in this final book. Both Con and Hannah have suffered from the actions of those close to them making judgments based on appearance, and both have firmly established images within the ton that are distortions of the people they truly are. I liked Balogh's handling of this c ...more
Rosario (
A Secret Affair is the closing book for the Huxtable quintet, and tells the story of one of the most intriguing characters in the series. These books came out a long time ago, and even those of you who read them might not remember the setup that well, so a bit of a summary. The previous books have told the stories of the four Huxtable siblings, an impoverished but genteel country family. They know they're distantly related to the titled branch of the family, but when the holder of the title dies ...more
Jun 09, 2010 added it
This has been a great series. I received the first book, First Comes Marriage as a Goodreads Giveaway and I was hooked. Books two through four I was able to get with ILL through the public library, but this book was too new. There was no way I could wait to find out Con's story, so I purchased it myself.

This final book was thoroughly satisfying. It tied up several questions that were introduced in the first book and brought all of the major and not so major characters back together. I though
Jun 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Surely this is the last of Balogh's Huxtable books--of which I have enjoyed every one. This is the story of Con Huxtable, the bastard cousin of the other heroes and heroines. Finally we learn what happened to all that jewelry that's gone missing.

The heroine is a widowed duchess who decides to take a lover, now that her elderly husband has died--in that way, it's similar to SEDUCING AN ANGEL, the previous book in the series. However, the duchess isn't in desperate straits. She has ple
Andrea Jackson
I enjoyed reading Constantine Huxtable's story. He's probably the most romantic of the heroes in the 5 books in the series, to me.

One negative--he wasn't nearly as bad as he appeared to be in the other 4 books of the series. Of course, suspected that he hadn't committed the crime he was accused of. But in this book he's a do-gooder of the most passionate sort.

Second negative--the hero and heroine's lives were almost too perfect. They didn't have a lot of outer conflict to overcome, such as som
Sep 23, 2009 added it
Shelves: d-n-f
Got up to page 160. Realized that it's all the same-ole, same-ole and that it didnt matter whether i finished it or not.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
I loved it , but I am not sure I would have enjoyed as much if I had read the book instead of listening to the audio book .Listening to it was great.( my first audio book )
Apr 16, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 stars rounded off
A interesting premise of a widowed and titled h who quite deliberately decides to have an affair with handsome H ... she is a virgin (apparently her very, very elderly husband was gay). They start an affair and both are a bit guarded with themselves ... h was portrayed as a very sophisticated woman as was the H ... both are secret philanthropists ...
This would have been better if it was shorter ... both were sophisticated and always reacted as members of the aris
Lori McD
I love, love, love this book! I'm so happy that the "social issues" in this book weren't heavy and depressing. After getting through the last 2 books, I didn't think I take another horrid 1st marriage or a truly evil person!

And I'm so glad that it was CON's book! I loved both Con and Hannah... I loved Hannah's Duke, who loved her dearly and taught her the most valuable lessons of her life -- how to love herself, how to like herself, and how to be herself regardless of what anyone els
Lady Wesley
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
Five stars means that I thoroughly enjoyed this book -- particularly because I had read its four predecessors. It would be much less enjoyable as a standalone.

What I Liked
Constantine! He's been a looming, sometimes gloomy, presence in the four previous books. Dark, handsome, mysterious. The Duchess of Dunbarton picks him to be her lover for precisely these reasons, but she's in for a surprise.

The Duchess of Dunbarton. She's glamorous, haughty and cold-hearted. And that's why Constantine agrees t
Jul 19, 2017 added it
I loved Constantine from the beginning and his story did not disappoint. So romantic!
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh is the fifth book in the Huxtables series, so if you haven’t read any before, start with First Comes Marriage. In A Secret Affair we get to find out about all the secrets that Balogh has hinted at in the previous books as the story follows Constantine, the cousin who missed out on the Huxtable inheritance by being born two days before his parents’ marriage.

In my opinion, all of the books in this series are good, but the first and last are the best. Constantine is
Review by Catherine Fitzmaurice for

To the ton, Hannah Reid, Duchess of Dunbarton, is brazen, bold and rumored to have a bevy of men at her disposal. She flaunts her beauty with striking gowns, expensive jewels and commands attention wherever she goes.

A widow at 30, Hannah completes the customary one-year mourning period and looks forward to her freedom, and to take a lover. She chooses the devil himself: Constantine Huxtable. She is determined to have
Jul 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Hannah, the Duchess of Dunbarton, has recently completed her year of mourning for the Duke of Dunbarton and has decided to take a lover for the season. Hannah was very young when she married the Duke who was decades older than she. She had loved him deeply and he had taught her well, but now it was her time to live. She had her eyes set on a specific lover, Constantine Huxtable. He was handsome and enigmatic and everyone knew that he took one lover every season...and only for the season. That is ...more
Apr 04, 2010 rated it liked it
I like this book but not love it. It has all the seduction and romance one could possibly hope for to tantalize the senses.

Our heroine The Dutchess of Dunbarton (Hannah) is the most beautiful creature to walk through London. Finally out of mourning for her Duke, Hannah has decided that she is going to be her own person and enjoy the frivolities that come with the life of the rich. Her dearly departed husband has left her a very, very rich widow and at the ripe old age of thirty she i
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance-histo, e-book
Mary Balogh has built strong expectations for Constantine's (Con) story from the 1st book in the Huxtable series onward. And considering how poor was the previous book, I was weary of this one and the potential extent of satanic references - Con used to be referred to the Devil next to the angel Stephen and those references irritated me to no end.
I really liked it that the chosen heroine was "normal" and that there was no mention of beaten wives in this book.
The beginning of the book was
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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

Huxtable Quintet (5 books)
  • First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintet #1)
  • Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet, #2)
  • At Last Comes Love (Huxtable Quintet, #3)
  • Seducing an Angel (Huxtable Quintet, #4)
“I prefer to believe the opposite - that there is always an indestructible beauty at the heart of darkness.” 35 likes
“Everyone was a rose but even more complex than a mere flower. Everyone was made up of infinitely layered petals. And everyone had something indescribably precious at the heart of their being.
No one was shallow. Not really.”
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