cover image Secrets and Suitors

Secrets and Suitors

Joanna Barker. Covenant Communications, $15.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-5244-1172-5

A young woman’s desire for a chance at real love is portrayed with tantalizing restraint in this charming Regency romance by Barker (Miss Adeline’s Match). Nora Hamilton, 21, still dreams of marrying for love, but her father has other ideas. He threatens to separate Nora from her siblings, Susanna and Ralph, if she does not agree to marry dull Mr. Weston. Nora consents, but insists on postponing the engagement until after she has taken Susanna and Ralph for a season in London. There, Nora hatches a plan to save herself when she meets the debonair Mr. Worthington, thinking he’ll be a preferable husband. She is unable to shake one lingering problem: her childhood friend, Mr. James Allen, who shows up whenever she is with a potential suitor, and for whom she has growing affection. Barker’s story moves quickly, and her characters are vivid and well developed. Nora is an extremely likable character, struggling to satisfy her own longings in a society more interested in rank and roles than in following the heart. Nora and James’s relationship brings out the confusion and complexity of human emotions, and their observations about love and relationships are timeless, especially when Nora discovers her parents’ secrets. This elegant and thoroughly gratifying romance will satisfy the most discerning Regency romance reader. (Oct.)