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Secrets Of A Summer Night [Mass Market Paperback]

Lisa Kleypas
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 5 2004 Wallflower Quartet

Four young ladies enter London society with one common goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband.So a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.

Annabelle Peyton, determined to save her family from disaster, decides to use her beauty and wit to tempt a suitable nobleman into making an offer of marriage. But Annabelle's most intriguing -- and persistent -- admirer, wealthy, powerful Simon Hunt, has made it clear that while he will introduce her to irresistible pleasure he will not offer marriage. Annabelle is determined to resist his unthinkable proposition ... but it is impossible in the face of such skillful seduction.

Her friends, looking to help, conspire to entice a more suitable gentleman to offer for Annabelle, for only then will she be safe from Simon -- and her own longings. But on one summer night, Annabelle succumbs to Simon's passionate embrace and tempting kisses ... and she discovers that love is the most dangerous game of all.


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Secrets Of A Summer Night + It Happened One Autumn + Scandal In Spring
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Deftly evoking not only the romantic tension between hero and heroine but also the conflicts and challenges of the Victorian era, this superb romance from Kleypas launches her new series centered on the Wallflowers, four young ladies who are sick of being snubbed and overlooked by London's bachelors and who have banded together to find themselves husbands. Beautiful Annabelle Peyton represents Old World aristocracy; she's genteel but impoverished and desperately trying to maintain the appearance of wealth. Commoner Simon Hunt, on the other hand, is a brash, ambitious entrepreneur who has made a fortune investing in industry and railroads and is only marginally accepted by society. As Annabelle attempts to trap a moneyed aristocrat into marriage—with the help of her vivacious fellow Wallflowers, of course—Simon boldly pursues her, first with the desire to make her his mistress and then with far more noble intentions. The scenes involving Annabelle and the three other Wallflowers—two impudent American girls and a shy, stuttering English heiress—are almost as enjoyable as the ones in which Annabelle and Simon try to outmaneuver each other. The protagonists inevitably wind up at the altar, but their story doesn't end there. Kleypas delves deeper, touching on Annabelle's changing mindset (specifically, her growing admiration of Simon's working-class roots and her acceptance of everything he stands for) and Simon's insecurity over taking her away from polite society. By turns amusing, sensual and sober, but always compelling, this is a first-rate offering from a truly talented storyteller.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lisa Kleypas is the author of twenty historical romance novels that have been published in twelve languages. In 1985, she was named Miss Massachusetts and competed in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. After graduating from Wellesley College with a political science degree, she published her first novel at age twenty-one. Her books have appeared on bestseller lists such as the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and WaldenBooks. Lisa is married and has two children.


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Although Annabelle Peyton had been warned all her life never to take money from strangers, she made an exception one day . . . and quickly discovered why she should have heeded her mother's advice. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The entire series is worth the read. May 1 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book kicks off a series of 4 books. Well 5 if you count the Wallflower Christmas book. This particular book starts off a little slower than most Kleypas books but it's mostly to introduce all the characters you will come to know and love as the series moves on. My favourite in the series was Devil in Winter but I enjoyed all the others too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Number one May 23 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This one is the start of the great serie that Lisa Kleypas wrote.

The four Young ladies meet fort the first time and they becomes friends for life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 1 2014
By Zina
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
loved it - will probebly read again sometime later
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I stopped caring after the wedding Jan. 16 2007
By Empy
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Maybe I missed something, not finishing the book through, but I lost interest after the main characters married. After pages of how they spent their honeymoon and how happy they were bored me and I saw little or no chance of interesting conflict arising.

The novel up to that point was okay. Then female lead struck me as snobbish and stubborn, but she got over it pretty quickly. The male lead was piggish and conceited. He got over himself pretty quickly too. Too quickly for both, most likely, but at least it didn't drag there.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  281 reviews
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable! Nov. 5 2004
By Gigimomma - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Simon Hunt is a self made millionaire. But his millions can't buy him a place in the upper tiers of British society. He, and the growing number of self made commoners, are looked down upon by the aristocracy and thought of as opportunists and social climbers. Simon is only barely tolerated in "polite" society because of his friendship with the estimable Lord Westcliff (the hero of the next book in the series) and because the crumbling aristocracy can't ignore his millions try as they might. Simon doesn't care less about his pariah status in the upper circles since he disdains their boring parties and inane conversation. Only one thing keeps Simon from swearing off balls and soirees altogether and her name is Annabelle Peyton.

Annabelle and her family are in desperate straits. They are living in genteel poverty and desperately trying to keep head above water. The obvious solution out of their predicament is for Annabelle to marry a peer, however, her chances of getting a proposal are virtually zero due to her lack of a dowry. As her fourth season draws to a close, Annabelle knows that it has to be now or never. To that end, she meets a group of fellow wallflowers and they strike up a friendship centered around their immediate need to catch husbands. They concoct a plan to help Annabelle trap a peer into marriage during a house party. But Annabelle's confidence and her plans are shaken by the presence of Simon Hunt. Annabelle cant't forget the day she allowed him to kiss her and she can't forgive him for making her like it. Simon makes it clear that he has only wanted one thing from Annabelle ever since that day and she will not yield regardless of his wealth or his handsome looks. As the days go by and she gets to know the real Simon and she can't help but be attracted by this tender, sweet and oh so sexy man. However, she musn't forget not only that Simon only wants her for his mistress but the fact that he is not a peer. Even if he proposed marriage she couldn't bring herself to marry a commoner since as far as she is concerned it would be social suicide.

For his part, Simon is determined to make Annabelle see him for who he is instead of his lack of a social pedigree. At first he set out to charm and disarm her with the goal of making her his mistress. However, Simon didn't count on falling head over heels in love and while she is responsive to his kisses he knows that his feelings aren't reciprocated. So, Simon sets out to change matters and make Annabelle his body and soul.

After finishing this book I have decided that Lisa Kleypas is virtually unbeatable in the hero department. Her heroes are an incredibly potent mix of tender, loving, sexy, arrogant bad boys that I simply can't resist and Simon is no exception. I also have to commend the author for pushing the envelope with Annabelle. She is unapologetically selfish and mercenary and she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. She clearly wants to marry a peer not only for the well being of her mother and brother but also for her own well being. She makes no bones about wanting to be part of high society and having money and servants. So, if you are looking for a self sacrificing heroine who will put herself through hell for the sake of others you won't find her here. I admit Annabelle is a little hard to like but I found her refreshingly real and so she won me over by the end. The love story is heart clutchingly romantic and the love scenes are incredibly tender and of course this being a Kleypa's book they are also very hot. All in all this is a hell of a story and I highly recommend it.
58 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad.... Dec 1 2004
By Renee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I nearly didn't buy this book because the reviews on this site were so lukewarm, but as a fan of Kleypas's I couldn't pass it up. I actually read this title in little over a day. It held my interest and didn't strike me as having been written by someone who was on automatic pilot. I don't think it is Lisa's best. (The best was "Suddenly You," in my humble opinion.) But I very much liked the hero and the heroine. The heroine did not strike me as money-grubbing, just someone who knew what she wanted and set her sights to get it. She wasn't dishonest and the hero knew from the get-go that money and living comfortably was not insignificant to her. In fact he seemed to appreciate this quality in her and be amused by it. I don't know how this makes her different from any of the other people in her society. And she became very open-minded about people of the working class of which the hero was once apart; so, if she was at one point snobby, she got over it.

As for steaminess, I thought the book was actually a little less steamy than some of Kleypas's other books, but still hot. This is not great Kleypas, but it is good Kleypas. And I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
74 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to her usual standards Oct. 29 2004
By ellejir - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book in a new series by Lisa Kleypas about a group of four "Wallflowers" in England in the 1840's, and, quite frankly, it bodes poorly for the rest of the series. I found the story, characterization and particularly the *romance* in "Secrets of A Summer Night" to be very flat. The heroine in the book is Annabelle Peyton, an upperclass girl who has fallen on financial hard times since the death of her father. Annabelle is essentially a female fortune-hunter. She has spent four seasons in London trying to land a wealthy peer as a husband with no luck. This despite the fact that she is drop-dead beautiful, well-bred and reasonably intelligent. No one will have anything to do with her (well, anything respectable anyways) because she has no dowry.
Simon Hunt is the son of a butcher who has managed to become insanely wealthy through investing in railroads. He is also surprisingly well-educated (and, of course, virilely handsome and brawny.) He has been lusting after Annabelle for years, but for some reason wants to make her his mistress, not his wife. Our hero and heroine are thrown together at a house party given by Lord Westcliff (the brother from "Again the Magic") where Annabelle is stalking Lord Kendall, a mild-mannered member of the peerage with an interest in botany.
I like character-driven romance and this is an area where Lisa Kleypas usually excels; however, I felt that the characters of the hero and heroine in this story were never more than superficially developed. Annabelle was described by Lord Westcliff as "shallow" and "self-absorbed" at one point in the book, and, quite frankly, he is not completely wrong. She is also a snob. Simon is an okay hero, but he seems only sketched in when compared with past Lisa Kleypas heros (especially of the "self-made man" variety).
The secondary characters of the "wallflowers" are an interesting element in the book--perhaps a bit *too* interesting. The characters of Lillian Bowman (the brash American heiress) and Lord Westcliff (the staid English Earl) are obviously heading for a firey collision later in the series and, even from the sidelines, they set off alot more sparks than Annabelle and Simon ever do.
In summary, "Secrets of a Summer Night" is a readable bit of fluff--not memorable and not up to LK's usual standards. For those who read historical romantic fiction only occasionally, I would definitely recommend skipping this one and trying "Dreaming of You" or "Lady Sophia's Lover", also by Lisa Kleypas.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that finally got me started on romance novels Feb. 25 2005
By Sandra B. Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm new to the romance genre, and I hadn't found any books that really got me into it. I was close to giving up, when I read "Secrets of a Summer Night."

"Secrets of a Summer Night" was utterly different from the other romance novels I'd tried to read. From what I gathered (and I'm still new to romances, so perhaps my perception is a bit off) the average romance novel consists of this perfect heroine--idealistic, spunky, good, honest...and of course, beautiful. And she and the dashing hero meet, but they can't be together for some reason. So the whole book is centered on the fight between their lust, and the thing that's keeping them apart. And then, it's magically resolved, they marry, and ride off into the sunset.

This novel still has some of the same things--Annabelle the heroine is, of course, still beautiful. However, she's not at all goody-goody or idealistic. Financially hard times have made her guarded and materialistic, and she has a woefully close-minded view of the world. Having such flaws, however, actually makes her seem more realistic than the average heroine.

The other thing I've hated about romance novels is how the hero and heroine meet each other, and next thing you know, they're professing their undying love. How often does that happen in real life? Kleypas doesn't do this here. Where most books end with the happy marriage, the author takes it further. It's clear that when they marry, it's probably more out of lust and the beginnings of love. They barely know each other. Annabelle even acknowledges it to herself shortly after she and Simon marry--she hardly knows him, she doesn't have a clear idea what he does for work, and she didn't even have any idea where he lived! (Their romance blossomed at a week-long party at the estate of a mutual acquaintance.) The meat of the book, instead of being how they finally marry and everything's happy, is actually about how they get to really know and care for one another after they marry, and how these two very practical, guarded characters finally acknowledge their love for each other, and this is a process that changes them both.

I also liked how there's a slight bit of the political/economic issues of the time thrown in, and how it's made use of. This book is not a history lesson, but the historical context is always simmering in the background, driving what the characters are and do, in more ways than just allowing our heroine to wear pretty nineteenth-century gowns and have a houseful of servants at her beck and call.

I stayed up late finishing "Secrets of a Summer Night," and the moment I read the last page, I nearly wanted to cry because there was nothing more to read. Finally, a romance novel about love instead of lust! The novel was so engaging and so satisfying that I couldn't wait to read more from Kleypas, and the very next day, I went out and bought two more of her books. If you're looking for a more realistic development of a romantic relationship between two characters, this would definitely be a book to try.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best in the series, but still a delightful read - 3.5 stars Aug. 21 2006
By Michelle888 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Set in Victorian England, the Wallflower series is the story of four young ladies who join forces to help each other find suitable husbands.

This is the story of Annabelle Peyton. Beautiful and witty, Annabelle could easily ensnare herself a husband--if not for her lack of dowry. Left impoverished after her father's death, she's in her third season with no marriage proposal to come. Then she meets one of England's wealthiest men... except he's not from polite society.

Despite the wealth he has amassed over the years, Simon Hunt is barely tolerated by the upper class. If not for his friendship with the Earl of Westcliff, one of England's most influential men, no one would dare associate with him. Knowing Annabelle's impoverished state, he decides to pursue her with the intention of making her his mistress. But then lust turns into something deeper until he finds himself falling in love with Annabelle. But how does he convince someone from genteel society to step down and marry a butcher's son?

SECRETS OF A SUMMER NIGHT is a delightful story of romance and friendship. Kleypas has captured the Victorian era as seen in the eyes of the main characters. Annabelle's struggles in finding a husband and the stigma of Simon's background are real depiction of the times. It is true that our heroine comes across as real snooty when we meet her, but I supposed that's how the author wanted to portray her to lend more drama to the ending (I won't say what she does or it will ruin the story). Simon is, of course, classically portrayed as a self-made man, though not quite in the same league as Derek Craven (DREAMING OF YOU). I felt that the author could have done better in developing these two; however, I must say that their verbal sparring provided much amusement. And don't forget the secondary characters, the other Wallflowers and Lord Westcliff who unfortunately overshadowed the main characters at times. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them and will never forget the "rounders-in-knickers" scene.

I have read the entire series and, while I thought this was the weakest in the quartet, I enjoyed reading this and look forward to Lisa's future novels. The other books are (in order): IT HAPPENED IN AUTUMN, DEVIL IN WINTER and SCANDAL IN SPRING.
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