Seductive Secrets
by Lynne Connolly, historical (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-042-4

It seems so simple. Eight years ago, Isobel Thoroughgood left Nicholas Seyton standing at the altar as she eloped with another guy, Harry, but Nick is still in love with her after all these years so he proposes marriage to her shortly after Harry's death. She says yes. And they live happily ever after, right?

Well, not quite, at least not yet. These two will have to deal with her unpleasant relatives, his ex-mistress, his mother, and various other folks first. Also, Isobel's late husband wasn't just an abusive monster in bed, he had to be a - gasp - homosexual. Nick will have to do plenty of sexual healing on Isobel as a result. That is pretty much the gist of the story. Seductive Secrets begins with the wedding and deals subsequently with the not-so-blissful honeymoon period that culminates with poor Isobel becoming the prime suspect in a murder.

Seductive Secrets is a well-written and most readable story. Nick is a perfect gentleman here to the point that his perfection takes on a one-dimensional gloss. Isobel has her moments of steely independence but she also comes off like a child at times, constantly needing Nick to guide her or reassure her. Either way, I can't help feeling that there could have been more effort made to develop these characters. Nick and Isobel are fine the way they are, but they could have been better. This also extends to the mystery subplot, which conveniently enough allows some of the biggest obstacles to the couple's happily ever after to be removed in one fell swoop.

Either way, while there is nothing wrong with Seductive Secrets, it feels rather halfbaked at times. While it is a pleasant read, I suspect that I will have a hard time remembering this story after I'm done with it.

Rating: 79

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