The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh

Setting: Regency

*Prequel to Mistress series*


While Lady Angeline Dudley’s pedigree dictates that she must land a titled gentleman, the irrepressible beauty secretly longs for a simple, ordinary suitor. So when Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, rescues her with unmatched civility from the advances of a scoundrel, Angeline thinks that she has found her true love. Persuading the earl is another matter entirely.

Edward has his future neatly mapped out. He hopes to wed his steadfast companion, a woman who shares his values of loyalty, respect, and decorum. Angeline is the last woman on earth for Edward. And yet a stolen kiss in the moonlight awakens something deep and primal within him. Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after compromising a lady: He offers marriage.

Angeline knows that Edward’s proposal is born of duty, not love. Deep down, Angeline believes that Edward’s dedication to convention will melt behind closed doors. For a proper wife by day can become a husband’s secret mistress by night, when delicious desire rules.

Click cover for excerpt and more info!


This is the prequel to the Mistress series (More Than a Mistress and No Man’s Mistress) and though it had it’s faults, I still found this to be one very sweet, romantic story! My main problem with this book is that it would have done better as a novella and sometimes felt too overdrawn.

Lady Angeline will be familiar to readers of the next two Mistress books as the chatterbox who has horrible dress sense. But in this, we find out that there is so much more to her and more to her hero, Edward, who appears to be a quiet, and aloof. Turns out there’s a reason she wears bright, mis-matched clothes and a reason Edward appears to be such a stick up the ass.

Angeline is relate-able and adorable, even if she does tend to take up paragraphs with her incessant chatter. Edward is the kind of hero I prefer-the quiet but dependable beta hero. None of that angsty, arrogant alpha hero here! I love opposites attract stories and this was a good one.

The writing is typical Balogh, though it wasn’t as philosophical in nature as her recent books (like the Huxtable series) and was very reminiscent of her old style. Those who love Austen will respond to Balogh’s writing which is very similar in tone.

The story was very simple in plot, and very traditional, with none of those steamy scandalous meetings you find in a lot of modern romances. The romance was as sweet as strawberries and cream though I did feel the story dragged on and it could have been done in half the pages it took. I also thought the hero realizing he loved the heroine happened too suddenly.

Still, if you’re looking for a sweet, simple, traditional, Austen-esque romance and don’t mind a slow story, then this is a sweet opposites attract story that is well-written and will keep you smiling for an afternoon if you’ve bored. 🙂

Sensuality Rating: Warm (Love scenes are short and not explicit)

Verdict: Sweet and simple-A nice way to spend a boring afternoon

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Loved your review and shared 😉

    I also noticed some of the books in your slides that you’ll be reading and can’t wait for your reviews of them.


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