The Secret of Flirting by Sabrina Jeffries
The moment spymaster Baron Fulkham meets the stunning Princess Aurore of Chanay, he's positive her royal persona is a ruse and that she's actually Monique Servais, the mysterious actress he met three years before in Dieppe. But as he pursues his suspicions, he uncovers a plot of attempted assassination and betrayal that could very well destroy his career, expose his own secrets...and ruin the woman he's rapidly coming to love.

Title: The Secret of Flirting
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Sinful Suitors
Pages: 416
Genre(s): Historical, Regency, England
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I have to hold my hands up and say I am a massive fan of Sabrina Jeffries. This is a double edged sword as while I’m pre-disposed to like her novels, I also have very high expectations of what I want from her books. So I’m always a bit nervous when I start one of her novels - will I love it or will it be the first to disappoint me?

Luckily, this book didn’t cause me any problems whatsoever as it was a classic Sabrina Jeffries tale - full of sparkling banter, wit and sexual tension between two well-rounded and likeable characters you can’t help but fall in love with.

This is the 5th book in the Sinful Suitors series. You don’t have to have read any of the others to like and understand this one although the characters from the previous books do make a few appearances. I’ve read all the previous books and even I was quite confused by everyone popping back up - but it was nice to see that all our previous couples were still happy and in love.

This book had two of the things that I really love in a hero/heroine combination. First, Gregory is an arrogant, closed-off man who always thinks he knows what’s right and what should happen and when. Enter Monique. From the first the pair rub each other the wrong way - and rub sparks off each other in a big way. When they meet each other again, years after their initial encounter, Monique throws Gregory for a loop and really knocks him off balance and this causes the pair to constantly spar. That’s the second thing I love - lots of banter that barely disguises the sexual tension.

The sex scenes are hot but perhaps not as plentiful as in other books, including previous Sabrina Jeffries novels. Still deliciously satisfying, though.

This book is a romance but there is still a little bit of mystery as to who wants to cause disruption to the conference to choose the first ruler of Belgium. Even as a small part of the romantic storyline, I still didn’t know who the bad guy was or what his/her motives were. It was a nice little aside and helped to bring about a happy conclusion to the story as a whole.

The love story was sweet, believable and gave me little butterflies in my tummy. As I mentioned before, Gregory was an arrogant sort and it’s always more satisfying to see them fall into love. It was especially wonderful as Monique was such a different character than you would normally expect from a Regency. As a French actress, she was more free, unrestricted by the strict rules of the ton (despite her having to play that role) and she was an all-round likeable character. I was rooting for her.

And as for the whole ‘deception’ plot - I was very pleased that it didn’t go the traditional route where Gregory was unaware of her real identity when she was playing the role of Princess. Not only would that have been daft, it would have felt like we would have been just waiting until Gregory figured it out. This way, there was a different set of problems which made for a good read.

I was going to take exception to the use of Guy Fawkes Day rather than the more usual Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night - but having looked it up, I have to admit that during the time this book was set (1830) it looks like ‘day’ was the preferred term since there was a lot of civil disobedience throughout the whole day rather than just the normal night time festivities. So that’s me telt! British people definitely don’t call each other pistols, though! (“He’s a real pistol!”)

All in all, this was an enjoyable, rich and witty tale - the best of historical romance. We’ve only got one book left in the Sinful Suitors - a novella out in July - The Risk of Rogues. I hope that will be as enjoyable as this which will make it a great end to what’s already been a very great series.

And you’ll be happy to know that we do find out what the secret of flirting is. Watch out men - I’m coming!


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* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *

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