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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.

Topics: England, London, Regency Era, Steamy, Sensual, Friendship, Marriage, Love, and Forbidden Love

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061793080
List price: $7.99
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good bookmore
amazingmore
I like books that are unpretentious and do not try to be more that they are capable to be. Love story with fun and twist and turns. Interesting thing is that ending is not a wedding but we have a glimpse of how the couple is settled and tries to build a life together. Great book when you want to relax on the beach or on the quiet afternoon.more
Simon was one of the best Kleypas heros I've come across - she seems to have a knack for polishing less-than-perfectly-bred men to a shine in historical romances, and he's another example of that. What's really most satisfying about Simon is that he's so unflinchingly devoted - he pursues Annabelle for years, and he is not prone to temper tantrums or fits of masculine cruelty. All that, and he still manages to be tough and properly manly.

No, it's Annabelle that was the big disappointment. Her entire personality is defined by the fact that she is poor, and wishes that she were not; that she is gently-bred, and insists on marrying the same. She tolerates her reduced circumstances with fortitude and some grace; but she is materialistic to a fault, and that soured me on her. Whenever she is happy in the book, it's because she's gotten a present of one kind or another. She refuses to contemplate marrying a non-peer, which seemed rather revoltingly inappropriate in her situation. I didn't find her particularly witty, engaging, intelligent or thoughtful. I don't mind a heroine with flaws, but that's all this girl had.

As far as it goes, it's a decent enough Kleypas. Less action than she's capable of stirring up, but not unpleasant.more
Secrets of a Summer Night
4 Stars

Synopsis
Annabelle Peyton is in want of a husband. She doesn't require much only that he be a peer and have sufficient funds to raise her family out of poverty. Simon Hunt is a self made man who has everything he could ever want except the one woman who will never have him - Annabelle. Can these two very different people find a way to overcome their differences for love?

Reviews
Charming and funny read with a very hunky hero but the heroine rubbed me the wrong way.

While Annabelle is in desperate straits and it is difficult not to sympathize with her circumstances, she is nevertheless not a likeable character due to her haughty, mercenary, elitist and selfish personality. She does ultimately redeem herself but it was too late for me. Simon, on the other hand, is simply perfect - honest, intelligent, sexy and sensual, understanding and accepting, loving and determined - I could go on and on but I won't. His only flaw is his attraction to Annabelle as I have no idea what he sees in her.

The plot is an enjoyable yet predictable love/hate romance with some Pride & Prejudice thrown in for good measure. The historical background on Victorian social norms are well researched and interesting, especially the descriptions of the decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the industrialist middle class. The portrayal of the difficult choices faced by women who fall outside the accepted conventions is also very apt.

The writing is good although it does lack a certain flow. I sometimes found myself re-reading lines and even entire paragraphs just to make sure I was following the action.

The real highlight of the book is the hysterically funny banter, machinations and antics of the Wallflowers. The Rounders-in-Knickers scenes still have me smiling.

Overall, an entertaining beginning to a promising series. Lillian and Marcus are up next and I look forward to seeing just how crazy they can drive each other.more
I was recommended the Wallflower Series many times here on GR, so I decided to give it a try after reading The Hathaway Series. I was not disappointed. This series seems to be just as addicting as The Hathaway’s.

The Wallflowers consists of four desperate girls looking for husbands. After sitting against the wall for a couple of seasons without any luck Annabelle, Lillian, Diane and Evangeline all decide to pull their resources together by helping each other land a husband. As the oldest in the group Annabelle is first. Annabelle is considered the beauty of the group but her family’s financial problems doesn’t make her attractive. Enter Simon Hunt. This eligible and very wealthy bachelor is highly interested in Annabelle. Annabelle, is physically attracted to Simon despite her saying otherwise, however she keeps turning him down due to his common blood lines and reputation. Together these two have some steamy and funny interactions.

I think this book is a good introduction to the series. The character interactions are pretty funny. It has a pretty good love story; however, the ending became a bit boring and cheesy. I also hated the over use of the word quiver, which is why I gave this book 3 stars.
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I enjoyed the story, and it moved pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I just didn't care much for the H/h. He wasn't very nice with some of his comments. Instead of being funny or sarcastic, they just came across as mean spirited. I thought she was a bit shallow at times. It wasn't until the very end that I liked them both. I did like the other 3 wallflowers and will definitely read their stories!more
This is a great beginning to a new series. I really loved the concept and the execution of the girls coming together to help each other find someone to love. This story is also a great look into the changes that the industrial revolution wrought on the upper class in England. I quite enjoyed the characters both secondary and primary. There were a number of funny parts and a few hang onto the edge of your seat parts. Overall a pretty good books from a wonderful writer.more
And with this little book I became one of Miss Kleypas biggest fans.I LOVED IT! LOVED, LOVED, LOVED IT!And to think I disliked Annabelle so much in the beginning -she was driving me mad being such a snob- but I learned to love her just as she slowly allowed Simon to enter her heart.This is a quite addictive book, and I literally reached a point where I was completely obsessed with the couple's relationship. I already knew Enemies to Lovers type of love stories were my thing, but this book almost gave it a whole new meaning. I want more Lisa Kleypas, more, more, MORE!more
I have had all four books from this Wallflower series for a while now. I thought it was time I discover the writing talents of Lisa Kleypas. To me, Secrets of a Summer Night was just a typical historical romance. What I enjoyed most was the characters. I got a kick out of Annabelle and her friends. I’m actually looking forward to reading Lillian’s story; which is the next book in the series, It Happened One Autumn.more
This beautiful book shows up all the craziness of high class society in nineteenth century England, and just what it takes for a person to overcome the rules they've been brought up to believe in. The first book in a series, we meet four young women whose only job in life is to marry well - four women who have little hope of ever achieving that, for one reason or another. Secrets of a Summer Night tells us Annabelle Peyton's story. By the backwards attitudes of the time, she's almost without hope - almost twenty-five, no dowry, and from a family still clinging to upper class British snobbery while the world is changing and 'socially unacceptable' newcomers are finding fortune where the snobs are not. Annabelle's struggle to reconcile her love for a 'nobody' with the terrible expectations placed upon her makes for a wonderful book. Some readers have expressed their difficulty identifying with Annabelle, but the story is so appropriate for the time period and the society she was being to forced to fit herself into. I loved the relationship between Annabelle and Simon Hunt, and I thought it was wonderful how they found their way to each other. Annabelle has no money. She literally cannot afford new shoes, or decent food. Her mother is sleeping with a revolting man just to have some of their bills paid. The British aristocracy is basically crumbling, with debt and huge families meaning often the glamour of their lifestyles is just an illusion. Despite being beautiful and desired, the best offers Annabelle receives are to become a mistress; without a dowry there are no wedding proposals, not even after years of ‘working’ for them. Nobody wants her as a wife. Simon has been in love with her for years, but as a man who made his own money he’s never going to be truly accepted into society – though he’s far richer than just about anybody else. He’s spent the years waiting in the background, knowing Annabelle could be his soon. I loved the way Annabelle and Simon’s relationship developed. I loved the small things he did for her, and the way he allowed her to have a chance at marriage to another man, thinking of what was best for her. I loved the way she finally gave in – even though she was about to get everything she was told she wanted, she couldn’t go through with it because she wanted Simon more. I also appreciated the way Simon’s best friend - Marcus, Lord Westcliff – took his time coming around to see the situation from anybody’s point of view but his own. It was realistic. This titled snob can’t stand any of the unmarried young women he associates with, thinking they’re only out for money. It’s easy for him to be that way – he’s got money and power – and he’s a MAN – he was never going to be in such a terrible position as these women. I think Lisa Kleypas painted a realistic picture of the hypocrisy of British society at the time. I have read that some people had trouble with Annabelle's attitude, but for me the author got it right. So many historical romances just gloss over the class issues to make the 'marrying up or down' story seem like Cinderella or something. The thing is, that's not how it was then and, in certain British circles, that's not how it is now. Just look at how India's caste system still runs Indian society today. Living in a modern egalitarian society it may be hard to picture, but Annabelle was raised to be a self-important snob - as were all the other people she associated with - and the fact she learnt to change her attitudes was an incredible achievement for her character. I especially loved her honeymoon in Paris, where she realised for the first time London wasn't the centre of the universe. I loved how surprised she was to discover French food and arts and everything else, and to discover that the entire world didn't look up to the English aristocracy as the only thing that mattered. Annabelle's learning curve and character transformation was enormous for someone in her position. Lisa Kleypas does an excellent job with intimate relationships between her characters. Annabelle and Simon's wedding night was so good because it was realistic. The experiences aren't idealised - you believe they really could have happened. These scenes should teach you something about the characters, and you should see the way they are changing. I think we definitely saw the story progress through those scenes in this book – each one of them meant something for the story; they weren’t just there for the sake of it. The naughty, naughty author used 'gotten' again. Why does she insist on doing that when she's so careful about accuracy the rest of the time?! The ending took me by surprise, but I liked it. It was a good way for the conflicts between Annabelle and Simon and Marcus and the families to be resolved. I also loved that the story was concluded in a satisfactory way, while also leaving you wanting more for the other ‘Wallflowers’. The antics between Annabelle and her wallflower friends, and between Annabelle and Simon had me smiling and laughing, just as the moments where it seemed like there was no hope made me want to cry. This book was wonderful, and kept me up very late at night!more
After reading numerous rave reviews, I have been quite anxious to start Lisa Kleypas' Wallflowers series. However, when I first began Secrets of a Summer Night, I found myself wondering if I was going to like it as much as some of Ms. Kleypas' other works. Initially, the story had a much lighter feel than the author's other books I had read to date, with the relationship between the Wallflowers seeming a little like chick-lit (not exactly my favorite genre) in a historical setting. Also, the first third or so of the book is primarily devoted to introducing each of the Wallflowers and their individual situations that have caused them to be passed over by potential suitors, as well as detailing the pact between them to help find husbands for each other and building their collective friendship. During this time, there wasn't much interaction between Simon and Annabelle and in fact, Simon only had two short point-of-view scenes which made it difficult to get to know him or to believe that these two were going to fall madly in love. I shouldn't have worried though, because this is Lisa Kleypas we're talking about, an author who has rarely disappointed me. About 150 page into the story, things really took off, and from there Simon and Annabelle's romance built slowly and believably into a beautiful tender relationship and a dramatic conclusion that really solidified their love for me.During the early parts of the book, I found myself having mixed feelings about Annabelle. I was sympathetic to her plight of being penniless and desperately needing to marry a wealthy suitor to take care of her family, but her lack of a dowry preventing any nobleman from asking for her hand. Not only was she stuck in this endless loop, but she was also rapidly approaching spinsterhood and the prospect of having no other choice but to become the mistress of a peer in order to survive. My only problem with Annabelle was that she had Simon, a man who was wealthier than most aristocrats, doggedly pursuing her for two years after a brief stolen kiss, but she rejected his offers to dance and openly disdained him that whole time, mainly, it seemed, because she didn't view him as a worthy match due to his low birth. I thought this made her appear rather snobbish, a decidedly un-endearing quality. Annabelle also seemed to have the idea that Simon only wanted her as his mistress, but contrary to what the cover blurb stated, I never really got that feeling from him at all and felt that if she had taken the time to get to know him, he might have surprised her with what he had to offer. Annabelle also was prepared to do literally anything it took to win a marriage proposal from a titled gentleman even if he was a poor match for her. Due to these character flaws, I ended up staying on the fence about Anabelle for more than half the story until she finally came to her senses and realized that her actions would be hurting someone else. When she did the honorable thing, I developed a more definite liking for her which only grew as she herself grew and changed throughout the rest of the novel. I loved how she went though some soul-searching and struggled a bit with not quite fitting in her own privileged world anymore, but neither did she fit in Simon's more provincial one. In the end though, her act of heroism and the changes in her attitude convinced me that she would no longer be looking down her nose at anyone else merely because of the circumstances of their birth.As I mentioned earlier, I didn't really feel like I even began to know Simon until over a third of the way into the book. At this point, Simon and Annabelle's first major interaction occurs when she is in the throes of a medical crisis, and his cool head saves the day. Also Annabelle (and the reader) begin to see his kindness and concern show through in his gentle ministrations. From there, the author does the very best thing she could have done for her hero by showing in every word and deed just what a great guy he actually is. Simon is another one of Lisa Kleypas' self-made heroes who had come into a fortune through ingenuity and hard work. He was born the son of a butcher, but is occasionally welcomed into the world of the upper-crust because of his wealth. Simon isn't really tortured like many of Ms. Kleypas' other heroes, but he was rather mysterious and a mischievous flirt. To say that he is quite self-assured just might be an understatement. There were a couple of times that his behavior bordered on being just a wee bit too cocky for my taste, but thankfully it only happened once or twice and the rest of the time his arrogance was rather endearing. Overall, Simon was another wonderful hero to come from Ms. Kleypas' fertile imagination. I just loved how protective he was of Annabelle and her family and how he just simply wanted to spoil her with all the nice things that she had been denied for so many years. It may have taken a little while to learn about Simon's character, but once I did, I totally fell for him just like nearly every other Lisa Kleypas hero I've read to date.The four Wallflower girls, Annabelle, Lillian, Daisy and Evie are all good secondary characters with an interesting relationship dynamic. Lillian and Daisy are sisters and wealthy American débutantes looking for titled husbands who would be worthy of their financial status, but are rather rough around the edges for English society. Lillian is very feisty and seemed to have a bit of a chip on her shoulder, particularly concerning Marcus, Lord Westcliff, her soon-to-be hero. I'm hoping that she will go through a similar transformation as Annabelle in her own story, the next in the series, because out of all the Wallflowers, she seemed to have the least scruples. Daisy seems to be a little bit of a tomboy, being the one most excited about their game of Rounders, an early form of baseball. I'll be interested to see how her character develops as the series goes on, as her book is the fourth one. My absolute favorite Wallflower so far is Evie. She is a shy girl with red hair, freckles and a stutter, who appears to be set upon by controlling relatives, but who also seems to notice and understand far more than most people give her credit for. I can't wait for her book, which is number three in the series.The one other secondary character who plays a strong role in Secrets of a Summer Night is Marcus who is best friends with Simon. I had previously gotten a pretty good feel for his character in two other Lisa Kleypas books that are not a part of the Wallflowers series, Again the Magic and Worth Any Price. In both of those books, as well as this one, he presents himself as rather uptight and arrogant, but he always makes some grand gesture that proves what a good heart he has underneath his blustery facade. I'm really looking forward to reading his and Lillian's book, It Happened One Autumn. It was also nice to get a glimpse of Gideon and Olivia who represented the secondary romance in Again the Magic. While there had been enough of a wrap-up to their story in that book to leave me with the feeling that they would have an HEA, I was pleased to see them quite happy and engaged in Secrets of a Summer Night. Although they didn't play a role in the story, there was brief mention of Lord St. Vincent, the hero of the third Wallflower book, The Devil in Winter, and Harry Rutledge, the hotel magnate who becomes the hero of Tempt Me at Twilight, part of the spin-off Hathaway series. Secrets of a Summer Night may have gotten off to a somewhat slow start for me, but overall, it turned out to be another enjoyable read from Lisa Kleypas with a strong (if not perfect ;-)) hero and heroine. Hopefully, now that the groundwork for the Wallflowers has been laid, there will be earlier and more prominent focus on the romance in the remaining books of the series. For now, Secrets of a Summer Night has earned a spot on my keeper shelf, and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading the remaining books in the series, It Happened One Autumn, The Devil in Winter, Scandal in Spring, and A Wallflower Christmas very soon.more
I like this series, and I think the attraction between Annabelle and Simon is believable. However, I wish the author had spent more time on Annabelle's views of her financial predicament. Yes, she needs money: in the beginning of the book, she intends to marry rich, but says she would rather 'marry a beet farmer' than become someone's mistress. And yet 200 pages later, there she is considering becoming someone's mistress! We're given no insight to her thought process, and that's what would have made this book a winner for me.more
I found this book to be a little more interesting then other historical romance I've read because the leading lady, Annabelle (love that name by the way), was a little more strong willed then most. And our hero of the story, Simon, actually needed her as much as she needed him at times.. It was a rather nice change from the usual "Night in Shining Armor come to rescue his Damsel in Distress".So all in all I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next book in the series.more
London 1841 - Stony Cross, Hampshire 1843The search for a husband is tough enough without having to be the one that has no dowry to help. Annabelle Peyton had family problems and the only asset they had left was her beauty. She needed a good match that could bring her family out of the hole that the death of her father had left. The scheming of four friends (the wallflowers) finally found what they thought would make Annabelle a good match, and the plan was in motion. The rich and powerful businessman Simon Hunt had always been interested in Annabelle, but she wanted a peer, not the son of a butcher. His hope was to take what he wanted, but as he watched and waited, he found he may not ever be happy with just that little bit of her. Another great story by Lisa Kleypas. The introduction of the Wallflowers and their personalities was wonderful, I have heard so much about this series and enjoyed finally getting to know them all. The strength of Annabelle and Lillian are wonderfully contrasted with the comedy of Daisy and the shy timid girl of Evangeline. “Somehow I’ve never thought of husband-hunting as a team sport” has to be what sums up the idea of the Wallflower series. The strength and patience of Simon draws you in, but his passion is the stuff dreams are made of, that is why (I believe) that we read romance novels, to see this kind of passion, to dream of this kind of devotion. Excellent characters and a good story, I found myself laughing and tearing a bit with them. On to the next of the series, (It Happened One Autumn), which I believe is Lillian and Lord Westcliff’s story based on the ending of this one.more
This book was an enjoyable read, its most appealing aspect being the positive portrayal of genuine, female friendship, a scarcity, in my admittedly rather limited experience, among romance novels. Of course I've come across other romances that provide a cursory attempt at friendship among women, but it's never been so well done as I think it is here. Secrets of a Summer Night introduces "the Wallflowers," four girls who give themselves this title (not without appreciable irony) in their decision to join forces and help each other find husbands. It sounded kind of silly to me at first, but Kleypas managed to avoid most of the clichés I was worried about by showing that the Wallflowers were friends with or without the incentive of their professed mission. Added to which, the presence of friends in the story allows a broadening of perspective, wherein the heroine's life doesn't shrink to encompass solely a life-altering obsession with the hero. (Ideally, at least. Here, that's not so much the case because the friends mostly talk about husbands and how to catch them - but the theory is nice anyway.) Of course, Secrets of a Summer Night is mostly about Annabelle and Simon, but the Wallflowers added something different to the story, a little bit of dimension, that made me care more about the characters than I would have otherwise. As for the romance itself, Secrets of a Summer Night doesn't quite offer all that I would have hoped. Kleypas is mostly concerned with the hierarchies of class and wealth in this book - some might think she's heavy handed with a moral to the story, punishing Annabelle for her initial prejudices against the working class. (Simon is a businessman with everything but a title to recommend him). However this didn't bother me too much, even if it was a bit transparent. I think Kleypas dealt pretty honestly with Annabelle, who was unapologetic and honest in turn about her attraction to wealth and luxury. She didn't have to compromise herself in this regard, for which I was grateful. Other than the melodrama of a final climactic scene, which seemed an external plot contrivance to me and detracted from the romance, I liked this book enough to continue with the series.more
The first in a well-written series by Kleypas. A look into the women who were wallflowers, not popular debutatnes, and the men who fell in love with them.more
Annabelle is desperate to find a way out of financial straights for her family and marry properly to a gentleman of peerage. But, after four years of being a wallflower Annabelle's prospects are dim. No suitable man would propose marriage to a woman with no dowry. Then suddenly Annabelle strikes up a fortuitous friendship with three of her fellow wallflowers and together they plan a way to help Annabelle hunt down and snare an appropriate suitor. This plan firmly excludes the improper entrepreneur Simon Hunt whose interest in Annabelle disconcerts her almost as much as his stolen kiss and smoldering looks. Will Annabelle be able to bag herself a man of station and money before she gives in to the heat blossoming between her and the insufferable Mr. Hunt?I greatly enjoyed reading Secrets of a Summer Night. With each of Lisa Kleypas' stories that I read I understand more and more why she is such an esteemed writer of historical romance. This is the first of her Wallflower Quartet and definitely kicked off the series well. The romance between Simon and Annabelle was built up very well and didn't become stale as the story went on as romances sometimes do. I am very much looking forward to the last book of this series that I haven't read (although it is actually the second book of the set) and plan to continue to seek out other historicals by this gifted writer.more
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Reviews

good bookmore
amazingmore
I like books that are unpretentious and do not try to be more that they are capable to be. Love story with fun and twist and turns. Interesting thing is that ending is not a wedding but we have a glimpse of how the couple is settled and tries to build a life together. Great book when you want to relax on the beach or on the quiet afternoon.more
Simon was one of the best Kleypas heros I've come across - she seems to have a knack for polishing less-than-perfectly-bred men to a shine in historical romances, and he's another example of that. What's really most satisfying about Simon is that he's so unflinchingly devoted - he pursues Annabelle for years, and he is not prone to temper tantrums or fits of masculine cruelty. All that, and he still manages to be tough and properly manly.

No, it's Annabelle that was the big disappointment. Her entire personality is defined by the fact that she is poor, and wishes that she were not; that she is gently-bred, and insists on marrying the same. She tolerates her reduced circumstances with fortitude and some grace; but she is materialistic to a fault, and that soured me on her. Whenever she is happy in the book, it's because she's gotten a present of one kind or another. She refuses to contemplate marrying a non-peer, which seemed rather revoltingly inappropriate in her situation. I didn't find her particularly witty, engaging, intelligent or thoughtful. I don't mind a heroine with flaws, but that's all this girl had.

As far as it goes, it's a decent enough Kleypas. Less action than she's capable of stirring up, but not unpleasant.more
Secrets of a Summer Night
4 Stars

Synopsis
Annabelle Peyton is in want of a husband. She doesn't require much only that he be a peer and have sufficient funds to raise her family out of poverty. Simon Hunt is a self made man who has everything he could ever want except the one woman who will never have him - Annabelle. Can these two very different people find a way to overcome their differences for love?

Reviews
Charming and funny read with a very hunky hero but the heroine rubbed me the wrong way.

While Annabelle is in desperate straits and it is difficult not to sympathize with her circumstances, she is nevertheless not a likeable character due to her haughty, mercenary, elitist and selfish personality. She does ultimately redeem herself but it was too late for me. Simon, on the other hand, is simply perfect - honest, intelligent, sexy and sensual, understanding and accepting, loving and determined - I could go on and on but I won't. His only flaw is his attraction to Annabelle as I have no idea what he sees in her.

The plot is an enjoyable yet predictable love/hate romance with some Pride & Prejudice thrown in for good measure. The historical background on Victorian social norms are well researched and interesting, especially the descriptions of the decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the industrialist middle class. The portrayal of the difficult choices faced by women who fall outside the accepted conventions is also very apt.

The writing is good although it does lack a certain flow. I sometimes found myself re-reading lines and even entire paragraphs just to make sure I was following the action.

The real highlight of the book is the hysterically funny banter, machinations and antics of the Wallflowers. The Rounders-in-Knickers scenes still have me smiling.

Overall, an entertaining beginning to a promising series. Lillian and Marcus are up next and I look forward to seeing just how crazy they can drive each other.more
I was recommended the Wallflower Series many times here on GR, so I decided to give it a try after reading The Hathaway Series. I was not disappointed. This series seems to be just as addicting as The Hathaway’s.

The Wallflowers consists of four desperate girls looking for husbands. After sitting against the wall for a couple of seasons without any luck Annabelle, Lillian, Diane and Evangeline all decide to pull their resources together by helping each other land a husband. As the oldest in the group Annabelle is first. Annabelle is considered the beauty of the group but her family’s financial problems doesn’t make her attractive. Enter Simon Hunt. This eligible and very wealthy bachelor is highly interested in Annabelle. Annabelle, is physically attracted to Simon despite her saying otherwise, however she keeps turning him down due to his common blood lines and reputation. Together these two have some steamy and funny interactions.

I think this book is a good introduction to the series. The character interactions are pretty funny. It has a pretty good love story; however, the ending became a bit boring and cheesy. I also hated the over use of the word quiver, which is why I gave this book 3 stars.
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I enjoyed the story, and it moved pretty quickly. Unfortunately, I just didn't care much for the H/h. He wasn't very nice with some of his comments. Instead of being funny or sarcastic, they just came across as mean spirited. I thought she was a bit shallow at times. It wasn't until the very end that I liked them both. I did like the other 3 wallflowers and will definitely read their stories!more
This is a great beginning to a new series. I really loved the concept and the execution of the girls coming together to help each other find someone to love. This story is also a great look into the changes that the industrial revolution wrought on the upper class in England. I quite enjoyed the characters both secondary and primary. There were a number of funny parts and a few hang onto the edge of your seat parts. Overall a pretty good books from a wonderful writer.more
And with this little book I became one of Miss Kleypas biggest fans.I LOVED IT! LOVED, LOVED, LOVED IT!And to think I disliked Annabelle so much in the beginning -she was driving me mad being such a snob- but I learned to love her just as she slowly allowed Simon to enter her heart.This is a quite addictive book, and I literally reached a point where I was completely obsessed with the couple's relationship. I already knew Enemies to Lovers type of love stories were my thing, but this book almost gave it a whole new meaning. I want more Lisa Kleypas, more, more, MORE!more
I have had all four books from this Wallflower series for a while now. I thought it was time I discover the writing talents of Lisa Kleypas. To me, Secrets of a Summer Night was just a typical historical romance. What I enjoyed most was the characters. I got a kick out of Annabelle and her friends. I’m actually looking forward to reading Lillian’s story; which is the next book in the series, It Happened One Autumn.more
This beautiful book shows up all the craziness of high class society in nineteenth century England, and just what it takes for a person to overcome the rules they've been brought up to believe in. The first book in a series, we meet four young women whose only job in life is to marry well - four women who have little hope of ever achieving that, for one reason or another. Secrets of a Summer Night tells us Annabelle Peyton's story. By the backwards attitudes of the time, she's almost without hope - almost twenty-five, no dowry, and from a family still clinging to upper class British snobbery while the world is changing and 'socially unacceptable' newcomers are finding fortune where the snobs are not. Annabelle's struggle to reconcile her love for a 'nobody' with the terrible expectations placed upon her makes for a wonderful book. Some readers have expressed their difficulty identifying with Annabelle, but the story is so appropriate for the time period and the society she was being to forced to fit herself into. I loved the relationship between Annabelle and Simon Hunt, and I thought it was wonderful how they found their way to each other. Annabelle has no money. She literally cannot afford new shoes, or decent food. Her mother is sleeping with a revolting man just to have some of their bills paid. The British aristocracy is basically crumbling, with debt and huge families meaning often the glamour of their lifestyles is just an illusion. Despite being beautiful and desired, the best offers Annabelle receives are to become a mistress; without a dowry there are no wedding proposals, not even after years of ‘working’ for them. Nobody wants her as a wife. Simon has been in love with her for years, but as a man who made his own money he’s never going to be truly accepted into society – though he’s far richer than just about anybody else. He’s spent the years waiting in the background, knowing Annabelle could be his soon. I loved the way Annabelle and Simon’s relationship developed. I loved the small things he did for her, and the way he allowed her to have a chance at marriage to another man, thinking of what was best for her. I loved the way she finally gave in – even though she was about to get everything she was told she wanted, she couldn’t go through with it because she wanted Simon more. I also appreciated the way Simon’s best friend - Marcus, Lord Westcliff – took his time coming around to see the situation from anybody’s point of view but his own. It was realistic. This titled snob can’t stand any of the unmarried young women he associates with, thinking they’re only out for money. It’s easy for him to be that way – he’s got money and power – and he’s a MAN – he was never going to be in such a terrible position as these women. I think Lisa Kleypas painted a realistic picture of the hypocrisy of British society at the time. I have read that some people had trouble with Annabelle's attitude, but for me the author got it right. So many historical romances just gloss over the class issues to make the 'marrying up or down' story seem like Cinderella or something. The thing is, that's not how it was then and, in certain British circles, that's not how it is now. Just look at how India's caste system still runs Indian society today. Living in a modern egalitarian society it may be hard to picture, but Annabelle was raised to be a self-important snob - as were all the other people she associated with - and the fact she learnt to change her attitudes was an incredible achievement for her character. I especially loved her honeymoon in Paris, where she realised for the first time London wasn't the centre of the universe. I loved how surprised she was to discover French food and arts and everything else, and to discover that the entire world didn't look up to the English aristocracy as the only thing that mattered. Annabelle's learning curve and character transformation was enormous for someone in her position. Lisa Kleypas does an excellent job with intimate relationships between her characters. Annabelle and Simon's wedding night was so good because it was realistic. The experiences aren't idealised - you believe they really could have happened. These scenes should teach you something about the characters, and you should see the way they are changing. I think we definitely saw the story progress through those scenes in this book – each one of them meant something for the story; they weren’t just there for the sake of it. The naughty, naughty author used 'gotten' again. Why does she insist on doing that when she's so careful about accuracy the rest of the time?! The ending took me by surprise, but I liked it. It was a good way for the conflicts between Annabelle and Simon and Marcus and the families to be resolved. I also loved that the story was concluded in a satisfactory way, while also leaving you wanting more for the other ‘Wallflowers’. The antics between Annabelle and her wallflower friends, and between Annabelle and Simon had me smiling and laughing, just as the moments where it seemed like there was no hope made me want to cry. This book was wonderful, and kept me up very late at night!more
After reading numerous rave reviews, I have been quite anxious to start Lisa Kleypas' Wallflowers series. However, when I first began Secrets of a Summer Night, I found myself wondering if I was going to like it as much as some of Ms. Kleypas' other works. Initially, the story had a much lighter feel than the author's other books I had read to date, with the relationship between the Wallflowers seeming a little like chick-lit (not exactly my favorite genre) in a historical setting. Also, the first third or so of the book is primarily devoted to introducing each of the Wallflowers and their individual situations that have caused them to be passed over by potential suitors, as well as detailing the pact between them to help find husbands for each other and building their collective friendship. During this time, there wasn't much interaction between Simon and Annabelle and in fact, Simon only had two short point-of-view scenes which made it difficult to get to know him or to believe that these two were going to fall madly in love. I shouldn't have worried though, because this is Lisa Kleypas we're talking about, an author who has rarely disappointed me. About 150 page into the story, things really took off, and from there Simon and Annabelle's romance built slowly and believably into a beautiful tender relationship and a dramatic conclusion that really solidified their love for me.During the early parts of the book, I found myself having mixed feelings about Annabelle. I was sympathetic to her plight of being penniless and desperately needing to marry a wealthy suitor to take care of her family, but her lack of a dowry preventing any nobleman from asking for her hand. Not only was she stuck in this endless loop, but she was also rapidly approaching spinsterhood and the prospect of having no other choice but to become the mistress of a peer in order to survive. My only problem with Annabelle was that she had Simon, a man who was wealthier than most aristocrats, doggedly pursuing her for two years after a brief stolen kiss, but she rejected his offers to dance and openly disdained him that whole time, mainly, it seemed, because she didn't view him as a worthy match due to his low birth. I thought this made her appear rather snobbish, a decidedly un-endearing quality. Annabelle also seemed to have the idea that Simon only wanted her as his mistress, but contrary to what the cover blurb stated, I never really got that feeling from him at all and felt that if she had taken the time to get to know him, he might have surprised her with what he had to offer. Annabelle also was prepared to do literally anything it took to win a marriage proposal from a titled gentleman even if he was a poor match for her. Due to these character flaws, I ended up staying on the fence about Anabelle for more than half the story until she finally came to her senses and realized that her actions would be hurting someone else. When she did the honorable thing, I developed a more definite liking for her which only grew as she herself grew and changed throughout the rest of the novel. I loved how she went though some soul-searching and struggled a bit with not quite fitting in her own privileged world anymore, but neither did she fit in Simon's more provincial one. In the end though, her act of heroism and the changes in her attitude convinced me that she would no longer be looking down her nose at anyone else merely because of the circumstances of their birth.As I mentioned earlier, I didn't really feel like I even began to know Simon until over a third of the way into the book. At this point, Simon and Annabelle's first major interaction occurs when she is in the throes of a medical crisis, and his cool head saves the day. Also Annabelle (and the reader) begin to see his kindness and concern show through in his gentle ministrations. From there, the author does the very best thing she could have done for her hero by showing in every word and deed just what a great guy he actually is. Simon is another one of Lisa Kleypas' self-made heroes who had come into a fortune through ingenuity and hard work. He was born the son of a butcher, but is occasionally welcomed into the world of the upper-crust because of his wealth. Simon isn't really tortured like many of Ms. Kleypas' other heroes, but he was rather mysterious and a mischievous flirt. To say that he is quite self-assured just might be an understatement. There were a couple of times that his behavior bordered on being just a wee bit too cocky for my taste, but thankfully it only happened once or twice and the rest of the time his arrogance was rather endearing. Overall, Simon was another wonderful hero to come from Ms. Kleypas' fertile imagination. I just loved how protective he was of Annabelle and her family and how he just simply wanted to spoil her with all the nice things that she had been denied for so many years. It may have taken a little while to learn about Simon's character, but once I did, I totally fell for him just like nearly every other Lisa Kleypas hero I've read to date.The four Wallflower girls, Annabelle, Lillian, Daisy and Evie are all good secondary characters with an interesting relationship dynamic. Lillian and Daisy are sisters and wealthy American débutantes looking for titled husbands who would be worthy of their financial status, but are rather rough around the edges for English society. Lillian is very feisty and seemed to have a bit of a chip on her shoulder, particularly concerning Marcus, Lord Westcliff, her soon-to-be hero. I'm hoping that she will go through a similar transformation as Annabelle in her own story, the next in the series, because out of all the Wallflowers, she seemed to have the least scruples. Daisy seems to be a little bit of a tomboy, being the one most excited about their game of Rounders, an early form of baseball. I'll be interested to see how her character develops as the series goes on, as her book is the fourth one. My absolute favorite Wallflower so far is Evie. She is a shy girl with red hair, freckles and a stutter, who appears to be set upon by controlling relatives, but who also seems to notice and understand far more than most people give her credit for. I can't wait for her book, which is number three in the series.The one other secondary character who plays a strong role in Secrets of a Summer Night is Marcus who is best friends with Simon. I had previously gotten a pretty good feel for his character in two other Lisa Kleypas books that are not a part of the Wallflowers series, Again the Magic and Worth Any Price. In both of those books, as well as this one, he presents himself as rather uptight and arrogant, but he always makes some grand gesture that proves what a good heart he has underneath his blustery facade. I'm really looking forward to reading his and Lillian's book, It Happened One Autumn. It was also nice to get a glimpse of Gideon and Olivia who represented the secondary romance in Again the Magic. While there had been enough of a wrap-up to their story in that book to leave me with the feeling that they would have an HEA, I was pleased to see them quite happy and engaged in Secrets of a Summer Night. Although they didn't play a role in the story, there was brief mention of Lord St. Vincent, the hero of the third Wallflower book, The Devil in Winter, and Harry Rutledge, the hotel magnate who becomes the hero of Tempt Me at Twilight, part of the spin-off Hathaway series. Secrets of a Summer Night may have gotten off to a somewhat slow start for me, but overall, it turned out to be another enjoyable read from Lisa Kleypas with a strong (if not perfect ;-)) hero and heroine. Hopefully, now that the groundwork for the Wallflowers has been laid, there will be earlier and more prominent focus on the romance in the remaining books of the series. For now, Secrets of a Summer Night has earned a spot on my keeper shelf, and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading the remaining books in the series, It Happened One Autumn, The Devil in Winter, Scandal in Spring, and A Wallflower Christmas very soon.more
I like this series, and I think the attraction between Annabelle and Simon is believable. However, I wish the author had spent more time on Annabelle's views of her financial predicament. Yes, she needs money: in the beginning of the book, she intends to marry rich, but says she would rather 'marry a beet farmer' than become someone's mistress. And yet 200 pages later, there she is considering becoming someone's mistress! We're given no insight to her thought process, and that's what would have made this book a winner for me.more
I found this book to be a little more interesting then other historical romance I've read because the leading lady, Annabelle (love that name by the way), was a little more strong willed then most. And our hero of the story, Simon, actually needed her as much as she needed him at times.. It was a rather nice change from the usual "Night in Shining Armor come to rescue his Damsel in Distress".So all in all I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next book in the series.more
London 1841 - Stony Cross, Hampshire 1843The search for a husband is tough enough without having to be the one that has no dowry to help. Annabelle Peyton had family problems and the only asset they had left was her beauty. She needed a good match that could bring her family out of the hole that the death of her father had left. The scheming of four friends (the wallflowers) finally found what they thought would make Annabelle a good match, and the plan was in motion. The rich and powerful businessman Simon Hunt had always been interested in Annabelle, but she wanted a peer, not the son of a butcher. His hope was to take what he wanted, but as he watched and waited, he found he may not ever be happy with just that little bit of her. Another great story by Lisa Kleypas. The introduction of the Wallflowers and their personalities was wonderful, I have heard so much about this series and enjoyed finally getting to know them all. The strength of Annabelle and Lillian are wonderfully contrasted with the comedy of Daisy and the shy timid girl of Evangeline. “Somehow I’ve never thought of husband-hunting as a team sport” has to be what sums up the idea of the Wallflower series. The strength and patience of Simon draws you in, but his passion is the stuff dreams are made of, that is why (I believe) that we read romance novels, to see this kind of passion, to dream of this kind of devotion. Excellent characters and a good story, I found myself laughing and tearing a bit with them. On to the next of the series, (It Happened One Autumn), which I believe is Lillian and Lord Westcliff’s story based on the ending of this one.more
This book was an enjoyable read, its most appealing aspect being the positive portrayal of genuine, female friendship, a scarcity, in my admittedly rather limited experience, among romance novels. Of course I've come across other romances that provide a cursory attempt at friendship among women, but it's never been so well done as I think it is here. Secrets of a Summer Night introduces "the Wallflowers," four girls who give themselves this title (not without appreciable irony) in their decision to join forces and help each other find husbands. It sounded kind of silly to me at first, but Kleypas managed to avoid most of the clichés I was worried about by showing that the Wallflowers were friends with or without the incentive of their professed mission. Added to which, the presence of friends in the story allows a broadening of perspective, wherein the heroine's life doesn't shrink to encompass solely a life-altering obsession with the hero. (Ideally, at least. Here, that's not so much the case because the friends mostly talk about husbands and how to catch them - but the theory is nice anyway.) Of course, Secrets of a Summer Night is mostly about Annabelle and Simon, but the Wallflowers added something different to the story, a little bit of dimension, that made me care more about the characters than I would have otherwise. As for the romance itself, Secrets of a Summer Night doesn't quite offer all that I would have hoped. Kleypas is mostly concerned with the hierarchies of class and wealth in this book - some might think she's heavy handed with a moral to the story, punishing Annabelle for her initial prejudices against the working class. (Simon is a businessman with everything but a title to recommend him). However this didn't bother me too much, even if it was a bit transparent. I think Kleypas dealt pretty honestly with Annabelle, who was unapologetic and honest in turn about her attraction to wealth and luxury. She didn't have to compromise herself in this regard, for which I was grateful. Other than the melodrama of a final climactic scene, which seemed an external plot contrivance to me and detracted from the romance, I liked this book enough to continue with the series.more
The first in a well-written series by Kleypas. A look into the women who were wallflowers, not popular debutatnes, and the men who fell in love with them.more
Annabelle is desperate to find a way out of financial straights for her family and marry properly to a gentleman of peerage. But, after four years of being a wallflower Annabelle's prospects are dim. No suitable man would propose marriage to a woman with no dowry. Then suddenly Annabelle strikes up a fortuitous friendship with three of her fellow wallflowers and together they plan a way to help Annabelle hunt down and snare an appropriate suitor. This plan firmly excludes the improper entrepreneur Simon Hunt whose interest in Annabelle disconcerts her almost as much as his stolen kiss and smoldering looks. Will Annabelle be able to bag herself a man of station and money before she gives in to the heat blossoming between her and the insufferable Mr. Hunt?I greatly enjoyed reading Secrets of a Summer Night. With each of Lisa Kleypas' stories that I read I understand more and more why she is such an esteemed writer of historical romance. This is the first of her Wallflower Quartet and definitely kicked off the series well. The romance between Simon and Annabelle was built up very well and didn't become stale as the story went on as romances sometimes do. I am very much looking forward to the last book of this series that I haven't read (although it is actually the second book of the set) and plan to continue to seek out other historicals by this gifted writer.more
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