"A Tale of Unexpected Romance
Betrayed by her husband, Annabelle Tyler wears the burden of legally being a divorcee, a difficult position for an upstanding young woman to find herself in. While attempting to start a new life for herself, an unexpected turn of events once again has Annabelle married--this time to Harrison Graymoor, the most eligible, yet elusive, bachelor in Philadelphia. Harrison assures her that he will secure an annulment immediately, unaware that the constable has sent word of the marriage to the press in Philadelphia. And here things continue to go awry. Harrison's past, a philanthropic cousin with his eye on Annabelle, and the appearance of Annabelle's ex-husband threaten the tentative relationship growing between Harrison and his "wife." For two individuals set against marriage, there are certainly a lot of second thoughts regarding the one forced upon them."
My Rating: Fall/Spring
One thing I've noticed from reading two of Delia Parr's novels is that she really can create some intriguing plots! Hidden Affections is the story of a forced marriage between Annabelle Tyler and Harrison Graymoor. From the very beginning the reader is thrown into a mixed-up world where the rich and charming Harrison has no choice but to wed the sweet but secretive Annabelle. Let me tell you, it's one of the strangest shot-gun weddings you'll ever encounter!
This book isn't a light summer read--in fact, it's more of a shadowy winter read. While there are some lighter aspects to the story, such as the sassy housekeeper at Graymoor Gardens, mostly this is a sober tale about the ramifications of divorce in the early 19th-century society of Pennsylvania.
I didn't care much for Harrison's selfishness and the emphasis on society's opinion throughout the book. And the story seemed rather unrealistic considering Annabelle's values as compared with her actions (or lack thereof). However, the uniqueness of this historical romance, combined with some sweet tidbits--including Annabelle's gratitude diary and the lovely descriptions of her outfits--still make this an enjoyable read.
*With thanks to Jim Hart and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*