Monday, April 17, 2006

Three Little Secrets by Liz Carlyle

The final book in Liz Carlyle's current trilogy, Three Little Secrets is the story of Merrick MacLachlan and Madeleine, the wife that most people have no idea exists. Merrick is the brother of Alisdair, the hero from One Little Sin, and friend to Quinn from Two Little Lies.

National bestselling author Liz Carlyle concludes her scandalous new trilogy with a sensuous novel of two star-crossed souls who share a secret or two . . . or three.

Once upon a time, they eloped. But then dashing Scotsman Merrick MacLachlan accepted payment from Lady Madeleine's father to have the marriage annulled. Or did he?

Two times, Maddie has wed. Once for love, once for comfort. Yet once more she is alone with only her beloved son and his haunting visions for company. Until fate thrusts her back into the arms of her first love.

Three little secrets dance between them. One is that he desires her as much as ever; another is that she's never forgotten his touch. But the scars of their youthful passion run deep, and the third secret will either mark their undoing . . . or spark the sizzling reunion they dare not dream of.

First things first...this whole trilogy had very nice covers! But this one is my favourite, mainly because purple is my favourite colour! Can you tell??

Okay, onto the book. There are very few people that know that Merrick MacLachlan ever had a wife. He is a man who scandalously (in the eyes of society at least) actually works for a living, so whilst he is very rich, he is his own man, and not worried about what society thinks of him. He works hard, and doesn't really have time for play, except for the visits from the local ladies of the night who meet his needs, not always in a safe and gentle way! Merrick has hidden his feelings so deeply, that most people would doubt that he actually has anyway feelings left.

When he is showing Quinn Hewitt a new home in the development that he is building, he is shocked when one of the new owner's of his houses turns out to be Madeleine, his estranged wife. After getting over the shock, Madeleine tries to withdraw because whilst Merrick still counts her as his wife, she believes that their Gretna Green marriage was annulled, believing that her father managed to pay Merrick off, and carries the emotional scars of her abandonment. For years ago she had waited weeks for Merrick to come for her after her father had separated them, and when he didn't come for her she thought that he didn't want her. The truth was that he had been severely beaten, and by the time he got to Madeleine she had already been married off to someone else to alleviate the shame of being pregnant with Merrick's child.

When Merrick first meets his son, he doesn't realise, but when the child shows signs of having The gift (the ability to see things that are going to happen in the future) and is very confused about why he is different from other children, Merrick realises that he must help the boy understand his heritage, and so they all travel up to Scotland to see his granny.

As far as Merrick goes, he is quite a dark hero, a man who hides his true self away from the world, and we not only are told about this, we actually see evidence of it, but his commitment to the fact that he was married, and to his feelings for Madeleine were admirable. As for Madeleine, she was basically a doormat for her domineering father, but by the end of the book she had realised that she needed to go after what she wanted and she did!

The strange thing about this trilogy is that it is chock full of the cliches that you sometimes hear romance readers complaining about - secret babies and big misunderstandings abound (and there's another common cliche in there as well that I can't think of at the moment) and yet for the most part, mainly because of Liz Carlyle's ability, the stories work.

What Liz Carlyle does do, nearly everytime that I read her books, is make me want to go back and reread the other stories that are linked, and she does that again with this book. The only exception to that is One Little Sin. Even though Alisdair and Esmee appear in this book, Esmee is still only a shadow character for me, and doesn't truly shine, so I am not bothered about rereading that one (the book was more miss than hit when I read it originally too)! Yet, Vivi from Two Little Lies is only mentioned, and never seen, whilst Quinn is only in a few scenes yet I wanted to pull that one out and reread it immediately. I will eventually, but for now, I have too many books that I haven't read! Others to appear in this story were the Earl of Treyhern and Helene from Beauty Like the Night, a brief mention of Max from No True Gentleman's grandmother and Bentley Rutledge and his wife Freddi from The Devil You Know. Man, I wish I had bought these books instead of borrowing them from the library!

There are two more Liz Carlyle books that I haven't read yet, and one anthology story, but other than that, I guess I just have to sit and wait and see what she comes up with next now!!

Rating 4.5/5

1 comment:

  1. Completely agree about the books having been chock-full of clichéd plot elements, and yet still working. It's not the plots that are objectionable, I guess. The problem is when they're badly executed (i.e. when the author has the hero and heroine behaving completely out of character and stupidly just to keep a Big Misunderstanding going, or when the heroine hides the secret baby for reasons that make no sense). Since Carlyle does them well, the books work.



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