February is definitely the month of love and what better way to embrace that than to read a romantic novel?! This month I teamed up with Writerly Yours alongside some other amazing bloggers to read and chat about A Valentine Secret, a regency novella by Emily Murdoch. A like with all my book reviews I will keep this as spoiler free as possible, just in case any of you lovely readers would like to read it too, as I wouldn’t like to spoil the enjoyment for anyone!
Though I have read a few many books I was yet to read any in the period romance genre, so this book was definitely a great introduction to the genre for me. It was beautifully written and you can really feel the Jane Austen influence on the writing from Emily Murdoch, it’s like a modern twist on the classic Pride and Prejudice, but still set in the same time period and missing the zombies like another twist on the tale introduced. One thing I really appreciated about this novel was that it wasn’t full of fluff and unnecessary gumph to bulk out the book, which I have found to be an issue with other romance novels I have read in the past which is both unnecessary and off putting. Every line was to the point yet superbly explained in depth the surroundings, the feelings and the thoughts of the settings and the various characters we meet on the reading journey. Though the book isn’t very long it would make the perfect read on a commute to and from work.
A Valentine Secret follows the classic tale of the “Prince and the Pauper”, the high class and well established Jonathan Brodie falls in love with the shy and sweet adopted daughter of the local florist Penelope Dryden. Though you may think you can tell where this is heading you are wrong as this book remains unpredictable until the end, keeping you gripped and wanting to read more as you root for the pair to have a happy ending. Both these two main characters and thoroughly explored throughout the novel, and Jonathan Brodie is not your usual gentleman from an aristocrat family, instead he is deep down a shy young man, with a very sweet nature unlike his father, Sir Roger Brodie who straight off the bat comes across as a very vindictive antagonist. A big part of the story follows Jonathan investigating the true parentage for the seemingly quiet Penelope Dryden, in hope that this would bring them closer together. One of the characters that I grew to love in this book was Penelope’s adoptive father, Mr Baldwin, whose wit made me giggle, but whose knowledge, love and passion for everything he does makes him to be one of my favourite aspects of the book.
A highlight of this book for me was the use and symbolisms of flowers. As Penelope’s adoptive parents and she work in the local flower shop the incorporation of flowers and their meanings is something that is mentioned throughout this novella and has really sparked an interest in me as now I want to get to know more about flowers and their hidden meanings, so I would like to thank you Emily for bringing this into the novel! It’s certainly going to become a new interest and hobby of mine.
If you’re looking for something new to read, are after dipping into a genre different to the ones you usually read, or simply appreciated a well written novella I would highly recommend giving A Valentine Secret by Emily Murdoch a go! It’s short, sweet, and keeps you wanting more from the start as it’s filled with unpredictable twists and turns, ending on such a sweet high note. A book I would suggest all ladies who want a bit more romance in their lives give a whirl, you won’t be disappointed!
The course of true love never did run smooth…