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Publisher's Summary

When Lady Isabella Trevarre first laid eyes on Gabriel St. Briac, she announced to her best friend: "That is the man I will marry!" Now a woman grown, Izzie has traded her girlish dreams for the independent life of an artist, but she never quite forgot the dazzling Frenchman who captivated her young heart. When he appears again in Cornwall, the seeds of desire grow between them.
As Napoleon's army loots art treasures throughout Europe, Gabriel St. Briac's priceless Leonardo da Vinci painting vanishes from its hiding place. Bent on recovering his family's prized possession, Gabriel sets sail for the chaos of wartime France - only to find Izzie stowed away on his ship. Though fearful for her safety, he allows her to join in his quest. But Izzie harbors a dark secret...a secret that could shatter the tender blossom of their trust. When danger puts them both to the test, will these two guarded souls dare to risk all for love?
©2016 Cynthia Challed (P)2016 Cynthia Challed
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Past Romance on 02-01-17

Well written story + Masterful narration = Magic

If you could sum up The Secret of Love in three words, what would they be?

Oh my goodness!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Secret of Love?

It is full of so many memorable, magic moments that it's hard to pick one! Every scene is so well-written and so masterfully narrated that it makes the entire book memorable. One scene that will stick with me forever, though, is one of the more comical ones, when a maid provides a distraction by falling and pretending to be injured. The narrator's vocalization of her "I be hurt!" declaration had me laughing for 10 minutes straight. I kept backing it up and listening to it over and over again because it was so unexpected and hilarious. How can one man make so many voices? I would love to have that as a ring tone for my phone...

Which scene was your favorite?

There are too many to pick just one! From the laughter-inducing scenes involving the hero's overly dramatic mother to the blissfully romantic ones between Gabriel and Isabella, every scene stands out head and shoulders above most stories in this genre. But if I have to pick one, it's probably when Isabella's long-lost and feared-dead brother first appears and doesn't recognize her because she has blossomed and changed so much from the awkward girl he knew. It was very touching because you could feel their shared emotions in the author's beautifully-woven words portraying a sister's pain of loss and then elation over the reunion. Just wonderful.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Towards the very end of the story, the hero glances up at his soon to be bride who is watching him from a window high above and tells her how much he looks forward to becoming man and wife. The writing is so well done that the words go straight to your heart. I nearly swooned.

Any additional comments?

I've written a complete review of the story that is attached to the kindle version. As I said in that review, this is a wonderful story that is well-written, carefully researched, masterfully narrated, and a treasure to readers. I have loved every one of Cynthia Wright's novels and go back and re-read then often because they are truly worth reading. Adding Tim Campbell's amazing narration to this already fantastic story makes it truly magical.

One warning: Don't listen to this narration while driving or operating heavy machinery because Tim Campbell's voice for Gabriel St. Briac is enough to make you completely lose control of all of your faculties. I listen to audiobooks in the car and missed several exits and nearly drove off the road once while under the mesmerizing effect of the sound of his voice! OH MY! :)

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By S. A. Freedman on 02-18-17

Tim Campbell is a Master of His Craft

THE SECRET OF LOVE is Cynthia Wright's newest entry in her Rakes and Rebels series. It is the story of Lady Isabella Trevarre and Gabriel St. Briac, who first met in SMUGGLER'S MOON. At 14, Izzie declared upon seeing St. Briac for the first time, “That is the man I will marry!” Now grown and nearly on the shelf, Lady Isabella is less concerned about propriety and more focused on her art, spending time under the tutelage of the renowned artist, Madame Le Brun. Gabriel has given up some of his smuggling ways and is determined to find a way to keep safe his heritage: a painting of King Francis, supposedly painted by Leonardo daVinci.

As is her trademark, Wright has created a love story that weaves real history into the backdrop of her characters. This time, it is the crime of stolen artwork, including Gabriel's beloved painting, during the Napoleonic era. The settings of Cornwall, England and war-torn France are well-described, the characters well-drawn and I was captivated as I followed Izzie and Gabriel fighting their attraction and on the hunt for the stolen painting.

Of course, what would the story be without cameos from Raveneau and Beavisage families? Mouette Raveneau is Izzie's best friend and there is a visit Isabella and Gabriel visit Nicholai and Lisette Beavisage at their Château du Soleil.

THE SECRET OF LOVE stands alone, but is made richer by reading the other Rakes and Rebels books, where you can discover the back stories of the cameos. I look forward to the next installment, HIS MAKE-BELIEVE BRIDE, to read the story of Mouette and Justin St. Briac.

Here is my review of the audio version: This was the first time that I listened to one of Cynthia Wright's books. Tim Campbell is a master of his craft. His voice is enchanting and he brings all of the characters to life. His wonderful French accent helped me get a better feel for the characters. While listening, I was limited in what else I was able to do because I got so lost in the story. I can't wait to listen to more of Cynthia Wright's books narrated by Tim Campbell. I received a free review copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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