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GROUP READS > Secrets of a Summer Night Discussion

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message 1: by Dlmrose (new)

Dlmrose | 17591 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for the Winter 2013 Group Read Secrets of a Summer Night. Please post your comments here. This thread is not restricted to those choosing this book for task 20.10, feel free to join in the discussion. Warning- spoilers ahead!

message 2: by Lacy (new)

Lacy (lacy_stewart) | 161 comments I'm going to be reading this for the winter group read. I plan on reading it in December.

message 3: by Sheila (last edited Dec 03, 2013 09:09AM) (new)

Sheila (sheilaj) | 2244 comments Oh the games these poor girls have to play in order to snag a man. Not just any man mind you but what is called a peer, aka nobleman. Poor Annabelle is most unfortunate to be one of "The Wallflowers" because she doesn't have a dowry. I did enjoy the predicaments that Wallflowers got themselves into in their efforts to get the attention of the right man. When tragedy strikes Annabelle realizes her true love and future does not follow the tradition expectations.

message 4: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 2442 comments OK, I bit the bullet and read the Romance -- which I usually don't do. But I've tried to begin American Gods so many times, it's not funny; I just can't get into it. So I tried this one out and managed to zip through it in only a couple of nights. So Ithink Kleypas probably does have a "move-along" pace to her writing, and that's a good thing. I've only read one Jane Austen, way back when, and that seems to be the type of thing Kleypas is trying to emulate, maybe. But like I say, I'm no expert on the subject. I know that snagging the "right man" was about all that was left for a woman in Regency society, so that informs what most of these novels are about. (...unless she's a lady pirate, but I don't think that was the norm.) But in a way it just seems sad, even though these women make the best of the situation and seem to have a lot of fun. There's that one image of the girls playing lawn croquet in their period underwear that keeps popping up over and over again -- Kleypas must like that invention, and it is a worthwhile LOL. It's not going to turn me to reading Romances regularly (even though I tend to read a lot of gothics) but it was good for a lark.

message 5: by Ana (new)

Ana | 335 comments I enjoyed the games the girls played and the their quick tongues. I startled my children a few times by laughing out loud. I loved the book and read it all in one sitting and you can tell by looking at my house.

message 6: by Judy (new)

Judy | 861 comments I listened to the audiobook. It took me a while to warm up to Simon and Annabelle (I thought they both acted stubborn and spoiled), but I liked the second half of the book much better than the first.

message 7: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 7585 comments this one is probably my least favorite in the series, although i've read it several times (just commenting in general, not for the group read) - my favorites are book 2 (Lilian and Marcus) and book 3 (Sebastian and Evie)...her spin-off series (the Hathaways) is also good

message 8: by Jenifer (new)

Jenifer (jensamaha) | 365 comments I've read one other Kleypas romance. It was a contemporary and I enjoyed it. This one, I'm a little torn over. It was an enjoyable read being a big fan of Austen and other 19th century authors, I had a hard time really accepting how forward Annabelle, Lillian and Daisy were. I will say that I liked how the story went on for quite a few chapters after the main characters "found each other". This was probably favorite part of the novel, well, that and the scenes surrounding the adder bite.

Even though I didn't love the book, I will probably read the next book in the series. ;)

message 9: by Pamela Su (new)

Pamela Su (thebluebaroness) | 248 comments It's hard for me to enjoy m/f romances these days after years and years of reading them. There's the element of rah-rah sisterhood/ female empowerment (hear me roar) message that's become an integral thorn in my side theme in most newer romances but often it feels forcefully and awkwardly inserted.

I didn't get that feeling of being slapped in the face by the female empowerment trout from this book. There's an inner strength displayed by these women without sacrificing the limitations of the times. I definitely enjoyed this book.

I don't believe the way the women in the book behaved was out of character for those times. I could believe that under desperate circumstances, people can act in ways that might not be socially acceptable.

Also, I think that we are sometimes caught in our own misconceptions of the past. In many ways we think the past is even more rigid than today's standards, but there are many ways in which today's society is even more judgemental than the past.

The romance between Simon and Annabelle smoldered. I was pleasantly surprised by the ongoing tension between the two characters. I was sure something would have erupted midway and I would be bored once that happened but the romance was nicely drawn out. Even after the union, I expected to be let down but I was still invested in seeing their relationship grow.

I am looking forward to the rest of the books in this series.

message 10: by Susan A (new)

Susan A Pamela Su -- I like your review and pretty much agree with all of it.

I had forgotten how much I enjoy Lisa Kleypas's books. These were interesting characters -- not just the MCs, but the secondary characters as well. I definitely want to read more about this group.

message 11: by Pamela Su (new)

Pamela Su (thebluebaroness) | 248 comments Susan A, after reading the first book, I spent the whole of yesterday (and night!) reading books 2-4.

There's some decidedly modern sentiments about child rearing in the latter books, but I overlooked it. :)

Definitely a series worth reading.

message 12: by Mary Beth (new)

Mary Beth (marybethbaker) | 143 comments I needed something light and happy after finishing Kafka on the Shore, and this book definitely fit the bill! I now have a desire to finish the other three books of the series and am trying to find a way to fit them into this challenge.

I especially enjoyed the wallflowers' friendship in the book as many romances do not focus on any relationships beyond the hero and heroine, which isn't very realistic. Not to say that romances are realistic in any sense, but I enjoyed the touch of female to female relationships.

message 13: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (shorty_320) | 1382 comments I was going through a bit of a reading slump when I started this book, which many of you know is definitely not what you want to happen at any point during this challenge! I just didn't want to read anything because nothing I was picking up was intriguing me.

Thankfully, I flew through this book and I loved it!! I may have to rearrange my books to see if I can fit the other books from this series in!

Now I can only hope that I don't fall back into my slump!

message 14: by Stacie (new)

Stacie (shorty_320) | 1382 comments Dee wrote: "this one is probably my least favorite in the series, although i've read it several times (just commenting in general, not for the group read) - my favorites are book 2 (Lilian and Marcus) and book..."

If this was your least favorite of the series, and seeing as I loved it, I betting I will really love the rest of the series!

message 15: by ~Leslie~ (new)

~Leslie~ (akareadingmachine) I read this series several years ago and have decided to re-read it. Lisa Kleypas does have a decidedly modern voice to her historical romances, but I love them anyway. I like the fact that Simon is an untraditional hero and because it's a later time period, we are introduced to all the changes in society that are happening. Annabelle starts out as a rather shallow character, but develops depths as the story progresses. I love the interaction of the different girls and how they try and deal with their situation. Can't wait to re-read the next one!

message 16: by Pamela Su (last edited Jan 05, 2014 06:52PM) (new)

Pamela Su (thebluebaroness) | 248 comments Stacie wrote: "If this was your least favorite of the series, and seeing as I loved it, I betting I will really love the rest of the series!"

:) I hope you do. I liked this first book so much, I devoured the next 3 books over the course of 3 days.

I'm pretty sure Devil in Winter is by far the fan favourite of the series. Everyone loves a reformed bad boy.

I'm partial to Devil in Winter and the last book, Scandal in Spring. I'm hard pressed to state which is my most favorite of the series since both books have their own unique charms.

~Leslie~ wrote: "...Lisa Kleypas does have a decidedly modern voice to her historical romances, but I love them anyway. ..."

It's been a trend in the last decade (or thereabouts) for modern sentiments to invade a lot of historical novels and take a prominent role in the stories. It's bugged me a lot. One of the reasons why I actually stopped reading many m/f historical romances for many, many, many years.

The modern sentiments are usually so jarring! While I get that the authors are pandering to a modern readership, it bothers me because it's one thing to insert modern values and beliefs into a book, it's a whole other thing to do it in such a way that the themes are inserted clumsily and are entirely too obvious. Female empowerment and medical knowledge are some of the things that bug me in historicals.

Lisa Kleypas is one of the few authors who still appeal to me after all this time.

message 17: by Laurie (new)

Laurie | 923 comments I like this book okay, but I agree it wasn't as good as the rest of the series. But, the books in the series all were fun in any case.

message 18: by bamaace83 (new)

bamaace83  | 264 comments I love historical romances. Julia Quinn is my favorite author in that genre. I hadn't read Lisa Kleypas before and I will say I like her writing. This book had several funny parts. I loved how Simon wasn't going to back down and give up. I also liked how Annabelle was going to stand her ground. I am going to read the rest of the series to find out what happens to the wallflowers. I admit it's not as good as the Bridgerton's that I love but it has potential of being a very good series.

message 19: by Deedee (last edited Jan 11, 2014 09:38PM) (new)

Deedee | 2078 comments When I was a teenager I used to read alot of romances -- Georgette Heyer (the best!!), Barbara Cartland, Victoria Holt, Phyllis A. Whitney, anything really that my mom had lying around. I haven't read many since then, although every now & then I'll pick one up.

Comments on this one:
(1) more moral than modern-day romances -- our characters are chaste until after the wedding day!
(2) lack of sparkling repartee between heroine and hero (alas) they play chess instead
(3) loved the "group of friends" theme -- our four wallflower heroines helping each other, nice to see
(4) Kleypas tries to make this novel more "real" by talking about the industrialization of England in the 1840s -- not necessary for a romance novel, just distracted from the story IMHO

Overall, I agree with Jenifer's comment above: Even though I didn't love the book, I will probably read the next book in the series *one of these days*

message 20: by Deyara (new)

Deyara | 35 comments I seem to have been reading quite a few historical romances lately, though a year or two ago I hadnt read any! I did enjoy this book, though I thought the romance was a bit silly. I did like the characters, and the "Wallflowers" were fun. I will probably read the others in the series, but not right away.

message 21: by Isha (new)

Isha | 224 comments I enjoyed the book and thought it was light and funny with great characters and it also reminded me of the Bridgerton series slightly with the humor. I didn't love this one though as there were a few places where I felt the book was a bit to slow paced for me and felt that the romance between the main characters dragged on a bit too much. I've heard that this is the weakest book in the series so I’m looking forward to reading the others

message 22: by Skandia (new)

Skandia (sfgirl) | 372 comments This book was really more modern in setting as the usual historical romances and yet the boundaries of class and social position were drawn very sharply in this novel. I enjoyed the first half more than the second because of the Wallflowers banter and colorful characters. The second half was more about the relationship between Annabelle and Simon and I really must say, I didn't warm up to Annabelle totally.

message 23: by Rudy (new)

Rudy Hurley | 116 comments I do enjoy reading historical fiction and did enjoy this book. However, I felt it was slow reading at times. After reading some of the other reviews, I think I will try the other books in the Wallflowers series.

message 24: by ~Leslie~ (new)

~Leslie~ (akareadingmachine) I agree that this is the slowest of the 4 Wallflower books. But I did warm up to Annabelle by the end of the book. I thought her character development was very well done.

message 25: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (sureshot26) | 771 comments This one's definitely outside my normal scope - I used to read a lot of romance in my teens, but my tastes have darkened as I've aged. This one's inoffensive enough, but doesn't really compel me strongly - I think Annabelle's too bland for me to care overmuch whether or not she finds her man. I like the take on Simon's "handicap" as a successful business owner, but I wish Kleypas had done more with that concept.

message 26: by Bluemoon (new)

Bluemoon (bluemoon286) | 1839 comments I liked this book. I did like the idea of the wallflowers banding together to acheive their goal of finding a husband. But I found that the characters were really not developed enough for me. Based on comments above I will probably continue on with the series.

message 27: by Jenna (new)

Jenna  (pumpkininny) I usually don't read romance novels like this, but I found that I really enjoyed this read. It was almost like Pride and Prejudice meets Steel Magnolias or something along those lines. I was such a fun book.

message 28: by SamZ (new)

SamZ (samwisezbrown) I finished reading Secrets of a Summer night enjoyed it well enough to put the rest of the series on hold at my library. I enjoyed the interactions between the characters, especially among the four "wallflowers." This was a quick, light-hearted read and I'm glad it was chosen as a group read, otherwise I'd probably never have glanced twice at it!

message 29: by Lindy-Lane (new)

Lindy-Lane (moonbacklit) | 590 comments i had read book #5 (book:A Wallflower Christmas|3050104]) of this series and have been wanting to visit the "roots" of the "wallflower" ladies. i find lisa kleypas' female characters to have a "fiesty" manner about them, and i enjoy the repartee dialogue among them. there's an "austen" feel about their characters for me. it was comforting to curl up with this book while the weather whooshed about outside in my neck of the woods. i was transported to their time in history and lost complete lack of time in my own as i turned page after page, pausing to "stretch" my joints every so often. laughing out loud was a pleasant side effect of the girls antics. not to mention simon's ability to race my pulse! :)

message 30: by Christine (new)

Christine (cmj75) | 10 comments This book is my introduction to Lisa Kleypas and I must say I enjoyed it! Her writing reminds me a lot of Candace Hern's Regency period romance novels. I'm not a huge fan of the romance genre, but I do love everything about this time period and is why I chose this book for the group read. A fun, quick read and I'm glad I took the chance! :)

message 31: by Wanda (new)

Wanda (oma1229) | 1686 comments It has been sometime since I have read a Regency Period book. Many years ago, I was an avid fan of Georgette Heyer's Regency books as well as her historical novels. I now realize how much I had enjoyed this genre. Lisa Kleypas had captured the 'sence' of society and aristocracy of this period of British History. It is a charming and entertaining read and she has given us a hint of the decay of Regency society. She was quite adept at combining the weakening of the power of the peerage and the ever growing wealth and power of industrialized society. Her characters are well defined and emotionally charged! I look forward to reading the remainder of this series.

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