How could Caro love and hate the same man? How could she be foolish enough to harbour that love for years; to hide herself away from the world because of her embarrassment over her failure to be loved in return? Because she is a fool… Yet Rob Marlow sees not that but courage in her, and this beautiful young man, who gives her back the strength she’s lost is someone she longs to cling to for the physical comfort she has missed since the end of her marriage.
Integrity, idealism and honour are at the heart of Rob Marlow, and yet he knows that perhaps pride is his weakness, but he thought it his only possible weakness until he spends a summer with his sister and discovers a new addiction, Caro, his brother-in-law’s dependent sister
In ‘The Secret Love of a Gentleman’, Caro and Rob are not the archetypical ‘Regency Ton’ couple, for many reasons, including a disparity in their ages. Caro has fled a troubled marriage and now survives as a dependant of her brother, Drew. Rob is a younger son, who is desperate to make his own way in life and he lives in the shadow of his elder step-brother John, the Duke of Pembroke.
In common with some of the main characters in the ‘Marlowe Intrigues’, Caro is a victim of abuse. Her story is sad and colours her future life. Many of Rob’s problems are rooted in low self -esteem. He is not an arrogant, alpha hero but has many fine qualities; intelligence, loyalty, respect for women, which were uncommon in Regency society and make him a likeable hero.
The plot has enough twists to make it interesting and Caro’s former husband is a well written antagonist. The secret antagonist in the story is the inner battle; both Caro and Rob fight to justify their feelings and actions. There is plenty of overt action, to accompany the internal battles and a real flavour of the two sides of Regency society.
Past characters from other stories in the series, make frequent appearances, so this book is easy to read as a standalone. However, if this is your first ‘Marlow Intrigue’ book, it won’t be the last; the characters, plot and vivid details make it an addictive and original historical romance series.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The Secret Love of a Gentleman by Jane Lark
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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