Book Review: "Hidden Affections" by Delia Parr

Summary from 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.

This was an interesting historical romance that talks about something you normally don't see in Christian fiction even though many Christians have gone through this in their lives: divorce and remarriage. This seems to be one of the taboo subjects in most Christian circles as this is probably one of the few times I have read a book where divorce is brought up and actually takes place with Christians who are considered to be "good people." Parr takes the overly-used hastily married and THEN fall in love afterward scenario and adds a twist to it.

I liked the characters and felt the storyline to be intriguing and evenly paced. The staff at Harrison's second home welcome Annabelle and make her feel welcome. They don't question the unconventional marriage and allow her to be herself. I really like how she helps out the staff with teaching them how to read or even just cook better desserts. The relationship with Harrison and Anna grows throughout the story. I thought it was going to be predictable but found that Parr kept throwing in things to twist up the story such as an ex-husband and another divorce. This is not to say that divorce is used casually in the book but given the circumstances that happened in the book, I can agree as to why it happened.

I did have a a bit of issue with with how the whole marriage took place in the beginning. I hated how both of them had no say in it, especially Annabelle simply because she was a woman. It felt like the townspeople were trying to cover up something that could put a blight on their otherwise perfect town. They didn't take into account that this marriage might fail or that even Harrison could be dangerous. They just wanted to get them married so there wouldn't be scandal and wash it off their hands. Luckily for everyone, everything worked out but still it annoyed me at the way it was all handled.

Overall a nice historical romance with a bit of a twist on the normal love story.
On an aside, while I'm not too fond of the front cover of the book (doesn't the cover model look like Kate Hudson?), I love the back cover. It's just a very simple shade of light ice blue but it's so comforting and soothing to look at. It's hard to explain in words but when I saw the back cover, I felt very refreshed. It's been a while since cover made me feel that way.

Hidden Affections by Delia Parr is published by Bethany House (2011)

This review copy was provided for a tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


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