Posted by: Jennifer | October 2, 2007

Secrets of a Proper Lady – Victoria Alexander

Alexander, Victoria. Secrets of a Proper Lady. (New York: Avon, 2007). ISBN – 9780060882648.

Main Characters: Daniel Sinclair and Lady Cordelia Bannister

Date: 1854

Related works: “Four most desirable gentlemen have wagered one shilling a piece and a bottle of cognac that will go to the last unmarried man standing…” The four men are Gideon Pearsall, Viscount Pearsall; Nigel Cavendish; Oliver Leighton, Earl of Norcroft; and Daniel Sinclair.

  1. Gideon is the first to wed in A Little Bit Wicked.
  2. Nigel is the second in What a Lady Wants.
  3. Daniel is the third in Secrets of a Proper Lady.
  4. Oliver is the fourth to marry in Seduction of a Proper Gentleman.

Description from book:

Who will be the last man standing? New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander’s delicious series about four men desperately trying to avoid matrimony continues . . .

Lady Cordelia Bannister simply cannot marry a man she has  not chosen herself, no matter what her father decrees. So, pretending to be her own companion, she decides to seek out information about her intended by meeting with his secretary – a man who soon beguiles her. But Lady Cordelia doesn’t know the truth – the man she can’t resist is really her intended, Daniel Sinclair.

Daniel has nearly won the wager he made with three of London’s most eligible bachelors. While two of his compatriots have surrendered to the shackles of marriage, he’s remained free to woo any woman he chooses. Yet duty forces him to consider Lady Cordelia – and determined to escape honor intact, he continues the masquerade he started.

Each finds the other completely irresistible, but when they uncover their mutual mistaken identities, Daniel and Cordelia must make the most important choice of all . . .

My Thoughts:

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the mistaken-identity plot of this book. Neither Daniel or Cordelia are happy about the proposed match that their respective fathers have proposed. In order to learn more about the man her parents want her to spend the rest of her life with, Cordelia masquerades as her companion (Miss Sarah Palmer) in order to quiz Daniel’s closest friend, Mr. Warren Lewis, about her prospective groom. Of course, fate conveniently intervenes. Mr. Lewis is sick, and Daniel takes his place on a morning walk. So, Cordelia is actually talking to Daniel, although she believes him to be Mr. Lewis. The two naturally develop feelings for each other. It gets much more complicated when Daniel decides to confess to Miss Palmer and discovers Cordelia’s deception. Rather than acknowledging that the game is up, he takes advice from Cordelia’s brother and decides that the next move should be Cordelia’s. Then, of course, Cordelia figures out that the love of her life is Daniel rather than Warren Lewis – and feels compelled to get back at Daniel. Everything comes to a head at a dinner party held by Cordelia’s parents which is supposed to be the first time that Daniel and Cordelia meet. Cordelia finds out about the financial inducements that are included in the marriage settlement. In her anger, she decides to marry Daniel, but not return to America with her new husband. Fortunately, they are able to work out their differences before Daniel’s return home.

As I mentioned, I did enjoy the book. Daniel was slightly less repelled by the idea of marriage than Nigel Cavendish from What a Lady Wants, but still a bit irritating in his commentary on the state of wedded bliss. However, Daniel was quite lovable as a character. I did wish there had been greater attention given to Cordelia’s brother, Will, Viscount Creswell and his romance with Miss Sarah Palmer. I think there was a definite story there. The one part of the book that I did not care for was the impetus to the proposed union between Daniel and Cordelia. The two families wanted to do business with each other. They put the burden of fulfilling complicated financial matters on their children. Neither set of parents seemed to be the type to be terribly heavy-handed – well, I guess Daniel’s father was until his second marriage to Daisy the opera singer. By the end of the story, there is too much good will within each family to make me believe that this marriage actually had to take place. Quite bizarre!

First read on October 1, 2007



  1. […] Nigel is the second in What a Lady Wants (to be released in Febraury 2007). Daniel is the third in Secrets of a Proper Lady. The fourth installment is […]

  2. […] to wed in A Little Bit Wicked. Nigel is the second in What a Lady Wants. Daniel is the third in Secrets of a Proper Lady. The fourth installment is […]

  3. […] Secrets of a Proper Lady – Victoria Alexander […]

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