Secrets of a Summer Night: A
Annabelle Peyton & Simon Hunt
The Wallflowers Series #1
Annabelle and Simon's story is the first in the Wallflower series. I read it ages ago and didn't like it because I didn't like Annabelle. whom I viewed as a shallow, greedy, money-grubbing punk.
But in honor of I-love-Lisa-Kleypas-week, I re-read it and to my surprise, loved it.
How could I have not liked it the first time around? There must have been a misunderstanding!
Annabelle Peyton is a gorgeous on-the-wall spinster at twenty-five years of age. Without a dowry and the poor economic state of her family, she finds it impossible to find an adequate suitor.
It is at a ball that she finally speaks with three other young ladies who have also been labeled as "outcasts" in the ton. They choose to call themselves the Wallflowers and agree to help themselves find husbands. Of the young ladies, there are the Bowman sisters - Lillian and Daisy, whose family is ridiculously wealthy but to everyone's chagrin, the Bowmans are American and uncultured. The last is Evangeline Jenner, the daughter of the man who owns a famous gaming house in London. She has flame colored hair and a freckled face; unconventionally beautiful but is horribly shy and speaks with a stutter.
When Annabelle realizes the dire situation she, her mother, and younger brother are in, she decides to marry wealthy and a peer, no matter the cost.
Unfortunately for her, she has caught the eye of Simon Hunt, a son of a butcher ...from the working class! He is handsome, tall, and arrogantly aggressive. His alpha attitude intrigues her, but she knows she cannot marry him because he is of the working class.
Simon Hunt has worked his way up, amassing ludicrous amounts of money as a businessman. He finds himself in a limbo when he realizes he is neither accepted by the ton (because of his family origins, and because he works for his living) nor his true middle-class peers (because he is so wealthy and he interacts with the British peers).
He sees Annabelle and immediately falls for her. He senses that she is the one for him... except for the fact that she continuously rejects him.
The Wallflowers decide that since Annabelle is the oldest, they ought to work together to find her a husband first. They all venture to Stony Cross, Lord Marcus Marsden's country home.
Annabelle meets Simon there and is horrified. But excited.
At Stony Cross, Annabelle deems Lord Kendall to be the best candidate as her husband, knowing that he is all wrong for her and her for him.
And things get serious when Lord Kendall develops an interest in Annabelle....
What I love about LK's novels is that usually the heroes are self-made. They're from ordinary background and make something out of themselves. Simon is an excellent example of this. He works his tail of, knowing that he would never be satisfied as a butcher's son.
Another characteristic I love about Simon is his determination in making Annabelle his. He genuinely cares for her and expresses this to Annabelle. He speaks to her and shows her that he knows who she is.
Annabelle is another story; she cares for her family and therefore decides to marry wealthy, however, her stubbornness and pride prevent her from pursuing her attraction to Simon. Even after they are together, she seems to be embarrassed of Simon's humble origins.
However, this is remedied and she redeems herself when.. *spoilers - highlight to read*
she shows her love for Simon by risking her life for him. She redeems herself 1000%
... how can you not love her and Simon both?
The end of the story is fabulous. All the lead-up to the ending is worth it and wonderful.
All I can say is: Secrets of a Summer Night is what a love story ought to look like.