Mary Balogh's publishers are having a busy time of it, with re-issues of several older books and the Huxtable series all
being released very close to each other.
A Secret Affair (Huxtable Quintet, Book 5) is the fifth and final book in the Huxtable series and has been a longer wait than the others. I suspect this is a good thing; I found the previous books less memorable, but this one
is a bit more special.
Constantine Huxtable has appeared in the previous books (First Comes Marriage, Then Comes Seduction, At Last Comes Love and Seducing An
Angel), and it's been hard to know whether he is a good or bad character.
He behaved badly occasionally in the former books and has a dark past with regard to selling his brother's jewels, but it's never entirely clear whether there was a misunderstanding.
This book gradually unpeels the layers of mystery around Con to reveal out what he's really like.
This voyage of discovery happens through Hannah Reid, Duchess of Dunbarton, a woman who is just out of mourning for her much older husband. Everyone knows Hannah is a shallow, avaricious woman who married a man old enough to be her grandfather to get a title. She gets what she wants, and this year she wants Con as a lover.
But, as usual in a Mary Balogh novel, people are deeper than they appear on the outside. When Hannah fixes on Con for her lover, she doesn't realize that she's going to get MUCH more than she bargained for.
When Con finds himself in trouble, he would never have guessed that shallow Hannah might be the one to help him.
There's a lot of emotion here, making A Secret Affair (Huxtable Quintet, Book 5) a real joy to read.
The characters from the previous Huxtable books make appearances, but Balogh
focuses tightly on the relationship between Hannah and Con. It's well written, of course, feels historically accurate, and leaves the reader with a real sense of the happiness of the characters and their suitability. Another tour de force from Mary Balogh.