I have a hard confession. I grew up desperately, painfully, shy. I didn’t talk to anyone that wasn’t close friends or family, I didn’t look people in the eye, especially not boys. So you could say that I felt a kind of kinship with Mary Hamilton. I think all of us, introvert, extrovert, loud, quiet; want to be loved for who we are not who we appear to be. That is the beauty of the book “Secrets of a Spinster” by Rebecca Connolly.
“Mary Hamilton has had enough of being passed over by all of the eligible men in London, though she’s had years and years of practice, and she’s ready to give it up. But before she hangs up her dancing shoes for good, she wants one season of everything she’s never had.
Geoffrey Harris is more than happy to spend his time being permanent escort to Mary during her final season in London. After all, she’s been his best friend for years, and what better way to send her off than in grand style? But when her plan actually starts to work, he isn’t so sure he wants any part of it.”
I love the relationship between Mary and Geoffrey, and appreciated that the writer wrote in multiple third person point of view so we could get in both of their heads.
Geoff loves Mary “just as [she] is, just as [she] always has been”, and has always seen the goodness and beauty in her, even if no one else could. The author did a beautiful job of portraying that especially at the Masquerade Ball, a well written turning point in the book.
I have another confession, I love Halloween! (50 days and counting.) One of the reason is because you can be whatever or whoever you want to be, sometimes that can be extremely liberating. But one of the interesting plots points in this book, is pretending can also be dangerous. Especially if we start to blur the lines between who we are, and who we are pretending to be. I think all of us have a little Mary in us and a little Cassie in us. Often it’s the ones who love us as we are that can pull the best parts of us out, making us feel comfortable and loved as we are. I was lucky enough to meet people who did that for me, and found I’m not necessarily an introvert, I just wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.
Because I connected with the main character and found the relationships in the book compelling (Mary & Geoff’s, and Mary & Cassie’s). I’d give it Four Stars. –N.C.
PS- Secrets of a Spinster is 3rd in a 6 book series, I don’t feel like you need to read them in order, but there are minor plot points you may miss. The first in the series is “An Arrangement of Sorts”
*No religious content or themes