Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: Hidden Affections by Delia Parr

Hidden Affections by Delia Parr
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Pages: 344
Publication Date: May 2011
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: This book was provided for review through the Bethany House Book Reviewers program (for more information on my reviews, please view my disclosure policy).
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Book description (from the publisher):
Betrayed by her husband, Annabelle Tyler wears the burden of legally being a divorcee, a difficult position for an upstanding young woman to find herself in. While attempting to start a new life for herself, an unexpected turn of events once again has Annabelle married--this time to Harrison Graymoor, the most eligible, yet elusive, bachelor in Philadelphia. Harrison assures her that he will secure an annulment immediately, unaware that the constable has sent word of the marriage to the press in Philadelphia. And here things continue to go awry. Harrison's past, a philanthropic cousin with his eye on Annabelle, and the appearance of Annabelle's ex-husband threaten the tentative relationship growing between Harrison and his "wife." For two individuals set against marriage, there are certainly a lot of second thoughts regarding the one forced upon them.

Delia Parr has quickly become one of my favorite Christian Historical Romance authors. Each of her stories has what I consider to be a unique element to it, and usually that element serves to pull me into the story even deeper. In this particular story, main character Annabelle has been forced to marry a man she barely knows simply because they had to spend the night together in the wilderness after their stagecoach was robbed. Their rescuers believe they are salvaging her reputation by forcing the marriage (especially since the man, Harrison Graymoor, doesn't have the best reputation himself). Harrison and Annabelle assume they will be able to get the marriage annulled pretty quickly, but things don't go as planned when news of their marriage hits the newspapers.

This was another great story by Ms. Parr. I really appreciated that the story went deeper than just showing how these two strangers got to know each other and came to love each other. Annabelle's situation is pretty complex, especially since she is secretly a divorcée, and each time someone in the book talks about how shunned a divorced woman would be, it wounds her deeply. It got even more complicated when her ex-husband comes on the scene, and tries to blackmail her. On top of that, Harrison was a complicated character as well. He had a reputation as a playboy, but as Annabelle got to know him she started to understand how his past hurts had influenced some of his fears about love and commitment. In the end, both Annabelle and Harrison had to learn to trust and love other people.

The characters were all great, even if Annabelle's ex-husband was almost too evil to believe. I did find myself wishing that Annabelle and Harrison would stop hiding their feelings for each other and just open up about it, but unlike other books where this annoys me, it kind of made sense for these characters. They both had a lot of baggage to deal with, so I totally understood why it was so difficult to admit they had fallen in love. I also loved the secondary characters. Harrison's cousin Philip was almost too good to be true (I kept wondering if he was up to something), but he turned out to be genuine. And Irene, Harrison's housekeeper, was a wonderful woman with difficulties of her own, but who modeled the kind of love that Harrison and Annabelle both needed in their lives.

I really liked this story, and Delia Parr continues to be at the top of my list of favorite Christian fiction authors! This is a thoughtful and satisfying read, and I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian historical romance.

Related Linkage:
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction Challenge


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