There’s an absolutely amazing scene late in this book where the heroine Frances ‘Frankie’ confronts her social-climbing mother. Accusing her of not listening when Frankie told her about the cruel and violent proclivities of the duke her mother was trying to marry her off to, Frankie fearlessly points out some unpalatable truths; that her mother was so blinded by the idea of her daughter being a duchess, she didn’t care that Frankie would be the one paying the price for her mother’s ambitions. It’s a heart-pounding, emotive scene that will strike a chord with every woman in this age of #MeToo, every woman who’s been dismissed as exaggerating or lying when they tell the truth about a man’s bad behaviour.
But I’m getting ahead of myself; I’d fallen in love with Frankie Bumgarten long before we get to that incredible scene. Younger sister of Daisy, the fabulous American silver heiress from A Good Day To Marry A Duke, Frankie’s not afraid of anything except failing to live life to the fullest. She’s pretty sure she doesn’t want to marry at all, but spending time with her hero Reynard slowly brings her around to a different way of thinking.
One of Frankie’s sisters Claire, a gifted musician, also gets her happy ending in this book, but not without a certain amount of Drama which does play into Frankie’s story significantly, as Frankie and Reynard must make a mad dash to Paris to try and retrieve Claire safely.
One of the (many) reasons I love Betina Krahn’s writing is the attention to detail of historical accuracy; she really brings to life the changing world of the late Victorian era, with steamships and trains offering new and faster ways to travel, a rising middle class and a new breed of wealthy industrialists encroaching on the high society traditionally dominated by the hereditary aristocracy. This is a wonderful read in every way, and I’m really looking forward to the youngest sister Sarah’s story! Five stars.
The Girl With The Sweetest Secret is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.