What chance does a ruined woman have to escape her fate? Apparently none, especially when Roselyn Longwood, tricked into becoming the mistress of Viscount Norbury, is put up for auction at a drunken orgy at Norbury's home. When she is purchased for a large sum of money by man of affairs Kyle Bradwell, she discovers that her secret is out, and she is shunned by ladies of society. Roselyn is afraid of what this will do to her sister's chances of remaining in polite society, especially because of the scandal of her brother's fraud and subsequent flight to the
Continent. What hope is there for Roselyn, her sister Irene, and her disappeared brother Tim?
But Bradwell hasn't finished with Roselyn yet. He's bought her to set her free, but she doesn't really have a full chance
at freedom. When Bradwell is encouraged to propose to Roselyn, he realizes the
advantages the match could provide him. As a former colliery worker and not a member of the gentry amongst whom he now moves, he is not invited to society events.
However, if he marries Roselyn, then at least his children would be able to be part of the polite world.
But Roselyn has more secrets than Bradwell thought. As they commence married life and begin to adjust to each other, Roselyn has to keep part of her life secret. Bradwell, too,
is keeping some things from her. However, this isn't too much of the plot; most of the second half of the book is about Roselyn and Bradwell learning more about each other, difficulties with Norbury, and the fallout from her brother's fraud.
As with another book by Madeline Hunter that I read earlier this year, this story is well-written with good pacing, interesting characters and some good settings. The dialogue comes across
as more American than English at times, but overall it's easy to get sucked into this story. What
is particularly good is the exploration of the differences in class between Roselyn and Bradwell, and how difficult it is for Bradwell to move up but how easy it is for Roselyn to fall down the social ladder. Although at times the central part of the plot, the difficulties over the fraud,
is a bit thin, the book overall is enjoyable. I recognized some characters from the previous book I had read, but Secrets of Surrender works well as a standalone novel and is a good way to while away an afternoon.