Review: The Secret Mistress (Dudley, Book 3) by Mary Balogh

I listened to a narrated audiobook version of this novel. Read by Anne Flosnik.

Hero: Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, knows he must marry. As a spare, now heir, he knows the importance of preserving the family lineage. The candidate he has in mind is his family friend and favorite bluestocking, Eunice Goddard. A wife should be a friend, someone intelligent that one can converse with, and a lady unblemished by scandal or wild behavior, but when the lady refuses him, he’s flummoxed. What now? Well, his family wants him to court Angeline Dudley and so he does. He’s flummoxed again when he realizes that the scandalous Miss at the inn is none other than she!

Heroine: Angeline Dudley is preparing for her first Season. She’s determined to catch herself a simple steady gentleman, a man completely opposite her rakish brothers and father (now passed away). A potentially scandalous incident at a public inn reveals to her just such a man and it’s instant attraction for her. All she wants is his good opinion and his love, but it seems to be the thing he’s determined to hold back. She suspects his interested lie elsewhere and does all in her power to bring them together, for his sake and Eunice’s sake (who becomes her friend).

Review: I really liked the pairing of a stuffy, circumspect, and introverted hero (who doesn’t think he is and takes offense when he’s called on it) with a bubbly, impulsive, and extroverted heroine (who rambles and says things to upset the hero… like calling him a dry stick 😀 lol).

He’s extremely dignified and extends politeness and courtesy as a shield. She prattles to fill uncomfortable silences and makes jokes at her expense to hide her insecurity. Angeline feels she doesn’t deserve him and her innocent behavior appears to be reckless behavior.

I also thought it was incredibly sweet that the heroine put the hero’s desire so far above her own she tried to orchestrate opportunities for him to meet Eunice in hopes he’d propose to her. There were lots of great quotes in the story, my favorite is below.

Favorite Scenes: Their first meeting at the inn, and Edward’s first proposal to Angeline.

Favorite Quote:

In a few short minutes he had shown himself to be her ideal of manhood. Of gentlemanhood. He seemed perfectly content and comfortable with his ordinariness. He seemed not to feel the need to posture and prove his masculinity at every turn preferably with his fists… He was in fact, more than ordinary. He was an extraordinary man.


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