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ARC Review: The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda by Sophie Barnes

Submitted by on November 9, 2012 – 4:16 amNo Comment

Author: Sophie Barnes
Title: The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda
Release: November 21, 2012
Series: Summersby #3
Reviewer: Mona Leigh
Source: Edelweiss/ HarperCollins Publishers/Avon Romance
William finally meets his match in the latest Summersby Tale from Sophie Barnes, author of How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back.

Lucy Blackwell is desperate, reckless, and maybe a little bit crazy. That’s the only possible explanation for tricking a man she doesn’t know into a dance, a kiss, and an engagement—all in the middle of the biggest ball of the year! But Lord William Summersby is the final piece of her grand plan, and she’ll do what it takes to make this marriage of convenience work—as long as it’s convenient for her. She just never counted on falling in love . . .

I liked The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda much better than the first Sophie Barnes book I reviewed. It started out strong and interesting, promising us a daring heroine in Lady Lucinda. After the first few chapters, though, Lady Lucy became reticent and almost fragile. Thankfully, the other characters came together to save the day and add spice to the story.
The tale begins with twelve-year-old Lucinda witnessing the murder of her mother in Constantinople. Moments earlier, her mother had given her money and told her to find Constance and hide. From what I gathered, her mother’s friend lived in England, and somehow a twelve-year-old Lucy was able to escape the Turkish Empire and make her way there alone.
Six years later, Lucy has a plan to return to Constantinople, find the murderer, and avenge the deaths of her parents. To that end, she chooses master spy Lord William Summersby to facilitate it. Though he’s betrothed to another, Lucy kisses him publicly at a ball and summarily announces their engagement. Pretty gutsy.
After that first audacious step, Lady Lucy seems to regress into a timid mouse. She tells Lord William she needs his help, but refuses to tell him why she needs it or even what her plan involves.
During a house party for the newlyweds, the murderer uncovers Lucy’s true identity and threatens to harm those she loves if she doesn’t cooperate. Finally backed into a corner, Lady Lucy tells Lord William her story and of the threats. Neither seems particularly bright at deciphering the clues, and Lucy is soon abducted.
I know I said this book was better, and it was. Ms. Barnes didn’t dwell on unnecessary clothing details or introspection this time. She also gave us some interesting characters with colorful backgrounds. The weak link was in allowing her main character, Lucy, to shrivel from a daring, vibrant woman into a weepy, helpless victim. I’m sure with more experience, Ms. Barnes will become as proficient as many other popular historical romance writers. Meanwhile, I’m following her progress with great interest.

Mona's first grade teacher, Mrs. Stanford, gifted her with the love of reading. For that, she'll always live in her heart. But reading took over Mona's life, eclipsing everything but playing sports, and has continued to be a huge part of her life. Although she has always written poetry and stories for her self, last year she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. She is currently editing her first urban fantasy and hopes to have it ready for the agent by summer's end. Besides reading, Mona loves speed in the form of fast cars. The faster, the better! In her next life, she plans to drive race cars (or whatever happens to be their replacement in the future) all while reading and writing. She has also taken up rune reading, and find it to be disturbingly accurate and exciting.
Doll Mona Leigh