Cover Image: Bound By Their Secret Passion

Bound By Their Secret Passion

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Member Reviews

I have followed the fortunes of the Scandalous Summerfields as each of them found happiness. Each of the four books in the series has been immensely satisfying, and the final one, “Bound by their secret passion”, was no exception. It managed to tie up the loose ends and round off the series clearly, while also being a complete story in itself. And what a story! It had everything: intrigue, extortion, star crossed lovers and a scandal. I found myself turning the pages quicker and quicker, wondering how on earth they would get out of this mess.

I did find Lorene’s mother a little much, but I think that was deliberate. She was one of those people – and I’ve met them in real life – that you want to shake and scream at. Of course, you never do, and they go blithely on, causing mayhem. In fact, my reaction to Lady Summerfield is testament to how real she was.

The real shame of this book was that, in finishing it, I’m no longer able to dip into the lives of the Scandalous Summerfields. Thank you, Diane Gaston, for four very wonderful books.
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I was disappointed with this book.  The concept was good, but I found the text was rather stilted and I lost interest part way through and found it a struggle to finish.  Sorry, Diane, but not one of your best.
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Bound By Their Secret Passion is a romantic tale full of scandal and intrigue. Lorene is married to a much older Lord. Not out of love, but to secure a better future for her sisters and half-brother. She has given up on true love. Dell, a distant relative to the Summerfield clan, is equally unhappy. He lost his entire family in a devastating house fire and is struggling to come to terms with his loss. Marriage or love is not really on the cards for him. A wall is firmly erected around his heart. The tables are turned, when Lorene's husband suddenly dies. Lorene and Dell become closer, but will they be able to jump over their shadows? Matters become even more tense, when Lorene's mother unexpectedly returns to London.
The story is well written and the author brilliantly highlights the social etiquette and pressures all of the characters are confronted with. I found it very easy to fully immerse myself into the storyline and pretty much finished the book in one go.
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The fourth and final novel in Diane Gaston's series picks up where book three left off, but quickly leads into it's own story with the death of Lorene Summerfield's much older husband, Lord Tinmore.  Whilst the book is part of a series, and the reader has met all the main characters in the previous  volumes, the author recaps the main events of the previous novels and the relationships between the characters, so the book could quite easily be read as a stand alone novel.  As usual with Diane Gaston's books, the descriptions of regency society in London are vivid, and transport the reader back to the period (the reaction of the Duchess of Kessington to the discovery that Amelie Summerfield actually works on the sheep farm she and Edmund live on made me smile, and was a good insight into how the upper classes viewed others outside their society circles).  Having read the previous volumes, it was nice to find out what had happened to the other Summerfield siblings since their marriages in and amongst following the story of Lorene and Dell.  
If anything, I didn't think this book was as good as the previous volumes in the series, but I still enjoyed reading it.  The epilogue was a nice conclusion to the series with all the major characters from the previous books in the series featured, and concluded the series nicely.  I look forward to reading Diane Gaston's next book in the future.
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The Summerfield siblings were left destitute by their parents and thrown out of their home by the estate's new owner. In order to give her sisters dowries and her half brother advancement in his army career, Lorene Summerfield married a man fifty years her senior. Several years later, whilst not in a "happy" marriage, she is content to know that her siblings have all married for love. She has feelings for her distant relative Dell Summerfield, Earl of Penford but honours her marriage vows and keeps these feelings hidden. When her elderly husband dies suddenly after a fall, a greedy and embittered butler causes trouble in the lives of our hero and heroine. This book covers a two year time period, and in addition to Lorene and Dell's story, follows the continuing lives of Lorene's siblings and their estranged mother.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.
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Although this book starts off well, and certainly builds up the tension towards the end, I’m afraid I found most of it rather dull. Perhaps this is because I’ve not read any of the other books in the series, so was less invested in the drama of the Summerfields and their scandalous mother, but mostly I think it was because Lorene and Dell don’t get to spend much time together. Even when they do meet it’s usually for very short periods of time.

I also didn’t find Lorene particularly compelling as a heroine. She clearly cares a great deal for her family and her husband was awful, but she’s also a bit of a doormat, letting everyone walk all over her. I liked that she found an interest for herself in decorating and redesigning houses, but her self-sacrificing grew a little tiresome and I often wished she had a little more spark in her personality.

Sadly, Dell suffers from this too. He’s a nice man, who is still heartbroken over the loss of his whole family, which has made him understandably withdrawn. But he also mostly floats along through life, staying with the duke and letting him boss him around quite a bit. Dell does have a quiet strand of stubbornness, which he mostly uses to ignore the duke and duchess being snobby, but he and Lorene are both a bit too quiet and selfless to make for compelling reading.

Which is a shame, because they are very sweet together. It’s just that they aren’t together all that often, and the dramas of Lorene’s family completely overshadow the pair of them. Not to mention the scandal of her husband’s death. At times the plot wears extremely thin and I was constantly waiting for something more interesting to happen. When it finally does, though, it was too near the end and everything ended up sadly rushed, which left me feeling rather disappointed.

I felt this way about Lorene and Dell’s relationship too. For most of the book Dell barely acknowledges his feelings for her, and it takes forever for them to even kiss, but once that happens – bang – straight into an affair. It didn’t fit in with the slow pace of everything else.

So overall this was just okay for me. The slow and dragging plot left all the interesting stuff right at the end, throwing the pacing off completely, and the romance wasn’t as compelling as I’d hoped. Fans of this series will probably get more out of it, not least because they’ll get to see everyone happy and moving on with their lives. For me, though, it sadly didn’t live up to my expectations.
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Usually I don't read books that are part of a series if I haven't read the earlier books first, however the author has written this book in such a way that you can pick up the earlier stories easily without the need for too much exposition. 
The hero and heroine are instantly appealing characters and the action starts so quickly that I had read a quarter of the book before I had even realised.  The secondary characters are also well drawn and don't make you feel they are interrupting the action as such characters sometimes can. I particularly liked the the heroine's bolter mother and her dramatics.
This was an entertaining and lively read from an author who always has depth and colour in her stories.
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I love historical romances, especially set during the Regency period. I had read the previous stories in the Summerfield Sisters mini series and wanted Lorene to find happiness like her sisters and brother. Diane Gaston did not disappoint. The book was well worth the wait with strong characters and the right amount of suspense, scandal and love, which won in the end. Thoroughly enjoyable and a fitting end to the series.
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The story is very safe and follows a much used recipe for this genre, not that there is anything wrong with that. This is the first time I have read Gaston’s work so I am not going to judge on this one outing. I do like the over all writing or Gaston’s work though, she is a witty, smart and very charming writer who knows her craft and the fact that I got that impression from my first of her work just goes to show that what a skilful writer she is.

Full review at Chicks Rogues and Scandals
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Diane as always never ever disappoints, went through every emotion and was fully immersed into the book and it was a complete honour to read it, fell in love with the hero, usually in historical romance its the Hero's you want to shout honour be damned listen to your heart first, utterly adore also the epilogue, and seriously want to slap the ever interfering Duchess but you need characters to love and hate to balance an amazing book Diane definitely does this, thank you Diane and Mills and Boon
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Set in the Eighteen hundreds women are demure, main focus is marriage and babies, matched to families dependent upon their dowry. Lorene will do anything for her siblings including sacrifice her own happiness to secure a future for them. Resented by the staff, thought to be a gold digger after marrying a wealthy older man and unable to escape her mothers past Lorene defies her husband to see her family. When he dies in suspicious circumstances, suspicion falls on the Earl of Penford, the man Lorene's husband accuses of having an affair with his wife. A small down, titles, separated by classes, society is very judgmental and Lorene just wants a quiet life when her past catches up with her bringing trouble, judgement and heartache.

It has been a long long time since I read Mills and Boon books, I loved them as a pre teen. This was brought to my attention with the Mills and Boons insider and just what I needed at this time. Set in the eighteen hundreds I generally don't prefer historical fiction but it works in this book. A genteel period where women and the times are very different from modern day society. Lorene has always been attracted to Dell (the Earl of Penford) but her choices have meant she could never allow him or anyone to know. With suspicion cast on Dell for murder Lorene needs to keep her distance but she has never felt more alone. Then the past caught up with Lorene and her family bringing its own problems, emotions and judgments from the small town.

Very well constructed, the flow goes nicely, kicking off with the lead up t and death of Lorene's husband that sets the path for all that follows. A book that very much looks at morals, societies attitudes, the defined classes, love, families and as with all Mills and Boons stories there is a sex scene or two. Lorene is one of a kind, strong, selfless, loyal, passionate, kind and caring to a fault, whilst her character is one to be praised there were moments when I wished she would be a little selfless and stand up to one or two folk. Overall a really good tale of love, morality, class distinctions, family and honour, just what I needed, 4/5 for me this time. This was my first time reading this author, I would certainly read her again! Thanks to Mills and Boon for providing me with an ARC of this title.
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