The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh

July 25, 2011

Those Dudley's are back!

At last, Mary Balogh's prequel to More than a Mistress and No Man's Mistress. And, to be honest with you, even though I have More than a Mistress as one of my favorite Balogh's books, I don't really remember too much of it. Probably need to reread. Anyway, this is the Dudley family's sister Angeline's story. And, it reminds me of some of Balogh's more traditional regency stories, but with humor. So, wipe that sweat off your brow - you won't need any Valium for this book.

First of all, I had to keep reminding myself how really young the two main characters were in this book. Angeline is 19 and Edward is 24, and in Angeline's case her youth shows. Angeline appears to be a very happy person, dare I say bubbly. Her enjoyment of the world she is living in is beyond breathtaking... she is vivid, bright; everywhere she goes she is enthusiastic. Angeline is perky. Yes, we have a perky heroine and I loved her. She was so delightful, but there is a secret behind her chatty-Kathy exterior. When she gets nervous, she fills her silences with words. While some readers may find her a bubble-head, I thought she was great fun and it was nice to read a Balogh heroine who wasn't some drama queen.

Then we have the adorable stuffed-shirt, stiff Heyward. He likes boring. He's picked out a wife, his childhood friend, and they are going to have a bland, calm life together. The moments that Angeline first charges into his life are very funny and very unsettling to Heyward. He tries to stay away from her, but he just cannot help being drawn into her brightness.

I loved this couple. I thought they were sweet. In fact, the whole story is a delight; there's not too much tension, no villains, no outside interference, just a story about two opposites who attract. It's a simple, traditional love story. I was a little puzzled about the title because it isn't until almost the end that we get to see why "mistress" was used. This was also a weak moment in the book, at least for me.

This is not in paperback form yet. At this time it is in hardback and ebook, so the price for the printed copy is hardback price.

But, if you want a read that's charming, enjoyable and relaxing this one is for you.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Warm


Melanie said...


I missed you. I gotta Q'n for you. If I'm your follower, shouldn't I get an email when you post?! I haven't been getting any:(

I'm so glad you liked this one, as I did too! I reviewed it for Romance Reader At Heart website (

and I had so much fun reading Angie's story.

BTW: Can I subscribe to your blog?

Mel from

Melissa said...

At first, I found Angeline annoying because everything is the best moment, best day, her favorite hat, etc., but once I recognized her vulnerability, I begin to feel sad for her and enjoyed the character more. Edward though is a dullard except for the moments when he's with Angeline. The secret mistress portion of the story at the end made me roll my eyes because I felt these characters brought out the best in each other and it could have been better presented.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it's much like her trads, most of which I dislike though I found her depictions of types of characters in them remarkably insightful. The portraits of the bubble-head and the bore (or the princess and the prude) in this book are equally so. But, by the end, I was glad to leave them to their HEA. Reading the heroine's breathless and extensive monologues became a hunt for morsels of meaning which might or might not prove useful.
Balogh took on a difficult character in the heroine and didn't, in my estimation, succeed very well. The narration of the hero's staidness was more successful, in my estimation, because it was accomplished narratively.

SidneyKay said...

Melanie: Don't know, don't you have to do something first? I'll ask around to my more computer friends. Glad you like the book

Anou: Mary Balogh's is one of the better ones around as far as putting a sentence together.

Melissa: She was pretty happy!

SidneyKay said...

Melanie: I'm working on it...trying to see what I haven't checked!!

SidneyKay said...

Melanie.....Look over to the right!!!

Ceska said...

THE SECRET MISTRESS is a fun, exciting, and sweet love story with plenty of passion. If I had this much fun reading this book, I can only imagine the fun Ms. Balogh had in writing it. Can you tell how much I loved this story? This is a laugh out loud, hold your sides, and roll on the floor read. I had to stop at times, just to make sure that this is Mary Balogh's book. This is so unlike anything else I've ever read from her, and I've read plenty.

SidneyKay said...

Ceska: Yep, I'm a big Mary Balogh's fan, have been since her first one. That one I have autographed. Have you ever read any of her funny ones? They are out there and I think some have been reprinted. "Lady With the Black Umbrella," "The Plumed Bonnet." I should really go back and reread some of those.