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A Terrible Secret to Hide - an Editorial Review of "Angelina's Secret"

Book Blurb:

If you were asked to keep a secret to save the life of someone you barely knew, would you?

Lady Angelina Stewart is a bold, beautiful, independent woman with a terrible secret to hide. After returning home from a sea voyage, she is touted as a hero for saving her family’s ship and crew from a band of ruthless pirates. But Angelina is a fraud. She allowed that dreadful pirate captain to touch a part of her that no other man has touched before; her heart.

Captain Jude Deveraux is leading a double life. He and his band of French privateer’s steal, rob and plunder unsuspecting ships that have the misfortune of wandering into their domain. Awarded a title by the King of France for bravery during battle, The Duke of Bayonne, A.K.A. Pirate Captain, takes what he wants from the world, while he and best friend, Honore live each day as if it were their last. That is until the day Jude discovers that the only thing he truly wants is to capture the untamed heart of fiery tempered Lady Stewart for his own.

Author Bio:

I was born in Riverside, California in 1963. My family and I moved to San Diego when I was 7 and I never looked back. I had a very rich life growing up with my brother, David, and best friend Gigi. I married my husband, David in 1998 and we lived in Encinitas, California for a couple of years before moving to Herald, California in 2001. We have a blended family of 6 kids and truly enjoyed the rural life on a 5 1/2 acre ranch, 45 minutes south of Sacramento. I love writing and creating stories that are different from and intriguing. I like to give my readers a little something extra and unexpected. I have always wanted to be a published author, but the timing never seemed right. Raising a family and working fulltime always took precedence. Shortly after I turned 50 I decided that if I continued to put off my dreams, the time would never be right. So, with an idea in my head, I sat down and began writing. I wanted there to be no regrets in my life. What resulted was a historical romance, filled with adventure, suspense, and an underlying epic love story weaved in for good measure and "Angelina's Secret" was born. I loved everything about the process of writing and there are currently three books in "The Jeweled Dagger Series." I am very excited about the future and thrilled to be writing fulltime now since I retired from my "9 to 5," job at the end of April 2017. My husband retired shortly after me and our youngest was a sophomore in college so we decided that it was time that we had an adventure of our own. We made the move to Kalispell, Montana and the adventures just seem to happen every day. We go for hikes in our own backyard or take off for Glacier National Forest on a whim. We currently have seven grandkids, with another one due this August 2018. Being "Grandma and Grandpa" is the icing on the cake for us. I count my blessings every day because I know how lucky I am. Life is good and now I can devote my days to doing what I really love, and that is writing and creating more stories. Please look up my other web pages -

Editorial Review:

“But Mother had a secret, a sixth sense about things that happened or were about to happen,

and she was never wrong.

She told me once that certain gifts ran in our family and that I should always trust my instincts.

At the time I was too young to understand what she was trying to say to me. It wasn’t until many years later her words to me made sense.”

An undercurrent of premonitions, feelings and intuitions adds to the depth of the character of

Angelina Marguerite Amelia Stewart, a wealthy aristocrat in 1763, London, England. Mostly

written in the first person, “Angel” has a brother, Jonathan, whose twin died and binds her to him as if she were his twin. Her best friend, Sarah Burgess, listens, supports and keeps her secrets. Angel’s two nemesis’ are spitefully female and characteristically cattie.

“Why is everyone in such a hurry to marry anyway?”

At a time when every eligible young lady pined for the perfect husband, “Angel” does not want to marry. She can’t imagine falling into that trap where she is the property of a man, but she soon changes her mind. When she gets bored on the ship she is sailing, Angel goes down to help Cook, who acknowledges, “So you got a wee bit of sight in ya, now don’t you, lassie?”

The ship is taken over by pirates and Angel lands in the Captain’s suite, who for some reason has a closet of dresses. He brings a beautiful gown to her and demands she put it on. Initially she fights him, but then succumbs to his charms and has dinner with him. She is mesmerized by his good looks, and they almost make love. Soon after, mates on the ship tease Captain Jude about falling for the “enchantress”, that she could be trouble.

“…if that is trouble, I wish to be up to my head all the time.”

Ultimately, Angelina makes a wager with the Captain freeing the others from the ship she was on and becomes a hero, but she can’t get him out of her thoughts. Later, in an interesting twist, the Captain turns out to be the Duke of Bayonne, his father the Prime Minister of France and his mother, a Countess. Jude returns to London where he is seated at the same dinner party as

Angelina. Here, the reader might wonder why a man of such wealth would turn to piracy. Darcy Montgomery enters the story as a dark force casting murder and fear into the storyline. At King George III ‘s Annual Venetian Breakfast, Angelina scoffs Montgomery to which he threatens her and calls her an “uppity bitch”. A series of events lead back to more serious consequences for Montgomery.

In a much-anticipated scene, Jude scoops Angelina up, consummating their love affair in a cabin in the woods on Angelina’s parents’ property before they are wed. The author’s well-written scene of intimacy is both titillating and predictably effective.

“The French have a term, fau d’amour or le grand amour. Madly in love or the grand love,

either way its meaning is true love…”

Throughout, Angelina’s gift of the “sight” crops up when she feels like someone is watching her and has feelings of “foreboding” ensued by bad dreams.

“My brain felt like I was in a fog, unable to think.”

Angelina doesn’t warn anyone, but she does tell her best friend Sarah about a dream of a murder and a pagan ritual and swears her to secrecy. Her feeling of “impending disaster” precedes her telling Jude about her pregnancy.

Taken captive by Montgomery, Angelina is rescued and survives his cruelty. He is taken to

prison. Afterwards, when she is in London, she sees a server in restaurant with the same

marking she had seen on Mongomery’s wrist signifying a cult. Then, she learns of

Mongomery’s escape.

After their wedding, Jude’s piracy is revealed as a ship carrying authorities from London chase and interrupt Jude and Angelina’s honeymoon. Jude’s father and mother are aboard the ship and continue with Angelina to France, where they will live.

Occasionally a word crops up in the story that can pull the reader out of the time period, such as “psychotic” which was first used in the late 1800s, but the storyline leaps over small errors and advances easily.

Depicting the time period of 1700’s London withwell-researchedd details, the author transports the reader to an aristocratic time of decadency and wealth. Details such as clothing, from hooks to buttons on corsets serve to deliver a sense of discomfort as the reader imagines how the women of the time felt being cinched into such tortures. Well-developed characters with a protagonist possessing the gift of intuition and foresight propel the reader to wonder what she will see or know next. An unexpected ending culminates in one last burst of extrasensory perception that ties the family, both past and present together.


“Angelina's Secret” by Diane Merrill-Wigginton receives 4.5 stars from The Historical Fiction Company


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