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Secrets of An Accidental Duchess (Donovan Sisters Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Jennifer Haymore
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

With her pale hair and slim figure, Olivia Donovan looks as fragile as fine china, and has been treated as such by her sisters ever since a childhood bout with malaria. But beneath her delicate facade, Olivia guards a bold, independent spirit and the kind of passionate desires proper young ladies must never confess...

It was a reckless wager, and one Max couldn't resist: seduce the alluring Olivia or forfeit part of his fortune. Yet the wild, soon-to-be Duke never imagined he'd fall in love with this innocent beauty. Nor could he have guessed that a dangerously unpredictable rival would set out to destroy them both. Now, Max must beat a Madman at his own twisted game-or forever lose the only woman to have ever won his heart.

Product Description


"Sweep-you-off-your-feet historical romance! Jennifer Haymore sparkles!" "New York Times bestselling author Liz Carlyle on A TOUCH OF SCANDAL""

Book Description

Jennifer Haymore is back with book two of her Donovan series-when the Donovan sisters are near, passion is never far behind!

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1118 KB
  • Print Length: 425 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0446573159
  • Publisher: Forever; Original edition (1 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FOVT49S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #411,574 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the first book 28 Feb. 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Miss Olivia Donovan has arrived with her family in England, after spending most of her life in the West Indies. In her youth, she suffered bouts of malaria, which has weakened her immune system, thus leaving her more frail and often has fevers as a result. Max Buchanan, Lord Hesley, spies Olivia at a ball and is instantly drawn to her beauty. Leonard Reece, a married marquis, tells him she refused his advances, so Olivia won't succumb to his. They make a wager, although once Max knows Olivia better, finds himself feeling guilty for agreeing to it in the first place. Olivia, meanwhile, is happy that someone isn't treating her like she'll break at any moment. She knows her family just want to protect her, but when Max enters her life, she's had enough. They enter into a relationship and at first, she tells him she doesn't want marriage, and is surprised to learn he doesn't want it either. However, over time, it's something they both want. The marquis has discovered Max, (now Duke of Wakefield) and Olivia's affair, he's annoyed and orders for his kidnap. Always hating Max since childhood, he plans to use Olivia as bait for revenge, but feels that she should also know about their wager too. They manage to escape Leonard's clutches, yet Olivia is unsure whether or not she can trust Max, so she heads north to see family so she can decide what she wants. Max realises he loves her and chases after her, but there are other obstacles in his path before he can win Olivia's trust again.

Overall, the book was OK. I'd already read the first book in the Donovan series and loved it, but some elements of this story bothered me. The female protagonist was a little annoying, which surprised me, considering I should be feeling more for her due to her affliction. I'm undecided about the unreleased book 3 with Captain William Langley just yet, but it's not out until August, so perhaps I'll change my mind by then.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I thought there'd be a good story under all that florid language. 13 Feb. 2012
By rameau - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first time I've heard of Jennifer Haymore, and had I known what to expect I most likely would have passed the opportunity to read her work. This isn't going to be a positive review.

The title is misleading. There really weren't that many secrets this accidental duchess had and the ones there were, were revealed quite quickly and without in a timely fashion. His secrets too.

There really should be a series warning for all unsuspecting readers. Not that I was one of them. I knew I was jumping in in the middle of a series, but that wasn't the problem. The problem was the extensive character gallery I was expected to familiarise myself with immediately. To this moment I wouldn't be able to name and place all the important side characters. I barely remember the main characters, but that has more to do with the poor characterisations or lack there of. More about that later.

From the very start I realised that Haymore's writing style wasn't for me. I happen to think there's a difference between detailed and florid-one of which is good and the other one isn't-I thought she crossed that line, although, it did get slightly better when action overtook the moment.

Speaking of things that were better than expected, the sex scenes were a positive surprise. Despite the fact that the her happiness was dependent on his orgasm, there was nothing too awkward or unintentionally hilarious. I found these scenes quite titillating, which is a first in a professionally published work for a while.

Having said that, I still think there was more passion between Max and his rival Fenwicke than there ever was between Max and Olivia. That's because of the characterisations. Max and Olivia both felt so flat and uninteresting in comparison that over the top evil Fenwicke appeared to the only three dimensional character in the book. I could have handled the brutality and the abuse described, had it been properly addressed and not been reduced to a mere plot device. Fenwicke was nothing more than a ploy to create drama and angst where none was needed as the relationship between Max and Olivia had its existing inner tensions.

What's worse, neither Fenwicke or his victims were addressed with enough care or attention, but they were quickly dismissed as their part in the storyline expired.

I could dwell on the idiocy of the two main characters exhibited throughout and especially towards the end of this book, but suffice to say that there's a reason why I shelved this book under the too-stupid-to-live category. I'm not just talking about the contradiction between a gentleman willing to seduce a virgin but reluctant to fight dirty when being attacked by a mob, I'm talking about the lack of pure survival instinct. He'd rather beat up a man in his weakened state than run to save her life.

I'm aware that my generation nor that the one of my parents'-or their parents'-invented sex, but to read about sisters-one of which is an unmarried virgin-talk about contraception sounded too modern to fit the time to me. There was also another instance, when Olivia was asking Max to give her space , that felt out of place in this historical setting.

Also as detail orientated as the author is, I was surprised how easily Olivia could wolf down her meal despite the injury to her throat.

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.**
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really liked 5 Jun. 2012
By Ramblings From This Chick Blog - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I just finished Secrets of an Accidental Duchess and I'm just all over the place. I'm feeling so many different emotions now that I've finished this book. I really enjoyed this book but there were a few times I had to put this book down because it became a little rough to get through. It wasn't bad at all but this book was definitely not a light read. In fact, the villain of this story is so heinous and brutal and some of his actions made me shudder. Besides my hatred of the villain, I really enjoyed the story and all of the characters that are in it.

Let me just start off by saying that I love Max. I love Max so freaking much! Watching him and Olivia both fall in love with each other was great to watch. Their interactions with each other and just the way they both opened up to one another was great. There really weren't any games between them and I liked that. I liked that they both fell and fell hard.

I'll admit that the first couple of chapters kind of dragged for me a bit, but once Olivia and Max started interacting with each other the story just picked up and I found myself unable to stop reading. I loved getting to know who both Olivia and Max were. The type of people they were inside and out. Both are caring and so full of love. I was worried that I might not like Olivia based off of reading the back of the book. I'm not the biggest fan of heroines that always need saving and are helpless. That wasn't the case at all with Olivia. Everyone may try to baby her and shelter her but she definitely doesn't need it. She is strong and if given the chance, independent. She is also selfless. She willingly put others first to save them even if it costs her so much more. She doesn't back down when times get hard and I loved that about her.

With Max, in the beginning he's portrayed as a womanizing rake that doesn't have a care in the world and could care less about another feelings. That was not the case at all. Max is so caring and considerate. He fights for what he believes in and the ones he loves and cares about. He is truly good even though it takes him a while to realize it.

As I said before, I really enjoyed this story. I loved meeting the rest of the Donovans and I am eagerly awaiting the next book from Jennifer Haymore. I can't wait to see how things end up for the rest of the Donovans. I also will be checking out the first book in this series, Confessions of an Improper Bride. I loved seeing the little tidbits of Serena/Meg and her husband and I am very curious about their book.

**ARC copy provided by NetGalley/Forever Romance Publishing**
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What happens when you most unbelievable dreams come true? 3 Feb. 2012
By Mary Gramlich - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Olivia Donovan grew up in a house full of sisters being viewed as the weak link. Having contracted malaria as a small child Olivia knows that every day she is susceptible to a recurrence of the fevers. Olivia does not want to be treated like a china doll on a shelf and the minute she meets Max, her wishes for adventure may come true.

Max never thinks of Olivia as frail or less than perfect, he sees her beauty and yearns to place a gentle hand on Olivia's beautiful face. Max is more than interested in Olivia and the ridiculous bet he made to win her affection have nothing to do with his intention. Being competitive has made Max strong but the mere sight of Olivia astounds him and there is no amount of compensation for that reward.

When Olivia chooses adventure over sedentary the game she and Max begin to play is dangerous with severe consequences. Olivia throws care to the wind and goes after the one thing she has always wanted and feared she would never have intimacy. Her life is too set in one direction, shifting the sand is going to be fun.

With all the joy in the forefront, neither Max nor Olivia could see the darkness right behind them. The entire Donovan family is taking on a mad, cruel man bent on ruining Olivia just because it will hurt Max. When both of them are shocked with the severity of this man's vendetta Max and Olivia wonder who will come to the rescue of these two lost souls.

Jennifer Haymore writes intriguing, detail orientated stories wrapped around the most glorious depths that is the romance of love. The scenarios and details that Ms. Haymore creates make every reader feel as if they too are being held captive by the magic that is the blush of true love.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Secres of an Accidental Duchess 23 Feb. 2012
By Nelaine Sanchez - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Olivia Donovan has been brought up sheltered and protected by her family. While living on a small island in the West Indies she contracted Malaria as a child and has since been plagued by a recurrence of the fevers. Now at twenty-one, she knows that no man would fall for a frail woman and has therefore resigned herself to the fact that she will be the "spinster aunt". But when Max Buchanan promises a no-strings attached romance, becoming the "disgraced spinster aunt" might not be so bad after all.

As with all of Ms. Haymore's novels (and yes, I've read them all) you cannot go wrong with her books. Her heroines are always brave and witty and her leading men are dark and swoon-worthy. I especially loved Olivia - she was such a carefree young woman. I liked that she didn't overdo or dwell on things. She saw a hurdle and she pretty much just jumped over it. She was never frail or timid in my eyes (nor Max's for that matter). Max was all that I look for in a leading man. I loved how he is portrayed as dark, big and brawny compared to the petite Olivia. But don't let the cover or its short synopsis fool you. Aside from the sweet romance you'll find there's a lot going on in this novel. I could not sit still with everything that was going on - from the worry of Olivia's illness, the wager on her seduction, several kidnappings, sultry love scenes and one of the vilest villains I've read in a long time. Needless to say, I devoured this one quite rapidly.

All in all, Secrets of an Accidental Duchess is a wonderful addition to the series. I loved how we get to see more about the lives of Serena and Jonathan (Confessions of an Improper Bride) as well as foresee who the next characters in the upcoming book will be (Pleasures of a Tempted Lady - releasing August 2012). I personally cannot wait. Ms. Haymore has proven herself once again and has earned the honor of being a permanent staple in my Historical Romance shelf.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read 1 Feb. 2012
By Larena Hubble - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Historical England

Olivia Donovan looks fragile and delicate but one thing her family has never understood in their concern to protect her after a bout of childhood malaria is that she is much stronger than she looks. Content with the life she has laid out for herself Olivia never expected to suddenly want more in her life like she does when she meets Max. Now she has to figure out what she really wants in her life and whether what she always had planned is what is right for her.

Max, a soon to be Duke, agreed to a wager that was extremely reckless but when he accepted the wager he really didn't know that the true stakes would be. Agreeing to seduce Olivia who he found to be very tempting seemed easy enough when he agreed or else he can give up part of his fortune. What he never expected was that once he really got to know Olivia just what he truly risked in the wager he agreed to. Now that he has fallen for her he isn't interested in the wager but he never expects to have his rival become so dangerous. Now Max is going to have to find a way to protect the woman he loves from a man that is as unpredictable as he is dangerous.

Soon Olivia and Max are caught in a snare that if they aren't careful will cost them more than they ever imagined not the least of which is the love they have manage to find with each other. A love neither of them ever expected but will do anything they have to so that they can keep the love they have found. They will both have to find a way to outwit a very dangerous man if they want to make it out with their hearts intact.

This is a wonderful additional story in a series that continues to get better and better. The characters have all the human flaws that make them easy to identify with and will have the reader turning the pages just to see how this one will turn out. The story has action with a wonderful love story that will have the reader hating to see it come to an end but will have them eagerly awaiting the next story in this series. This is the second book in this series and while it can be read as a stand alone the story will be greatly enriched if the reader reads the first story before this one. This is one author that will be come an auto buy for many readers as her stories are so well written.
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