About the Book
Book: The Valet’s Secret
Author: Josi S. Kilpack
Release Date: March 8, 2022
Genre: Historical Romance
A passionate kiss from a handsome valet becomes a Regency Cinderella story when he is revealed to be the heir to the earldom.
York, England, 1819
As a once happily married woman, Rebecca Parker had a good life, but now widowed, working for a living, and her only child grown, she feels invisible, tired, and lonely. That is until the day a valet speeding by on a horse nearly runs her off the road. Mr. Malcolm Henry is apologetic, gentle, and handsome. She’s instantly drawn to him, which is why, rather than stopping him from kissing her, she kisses him back, reigniting a nearly forgotten passion. But love at first sight only happens in fairy tales—never to an ordinary woman like her.
She sees Mr. Henry again and feels the possibilities growing until, while working in the kitchens during a dinner party, she sees the valet she kissed sitting at the right hand of the baroness. Mr. Henry is not the earl’s valet; he is the heir to the earldom—Kenneth Winterton.
Heartbroken, angry, and betrayed, Rebecca does not trust Lord Winterton and refuses to accept his apology. But when Lord Winterton proves he is as kind and gentle as “Mr. Henry” was, she finds herself willing to give him a second chance. But will he take a chance on her? He needs a wife to help him in his place in society, and nothing about Rebeccas life does that . . . except how he feels when she is with him.
Trust, love, loneliness, and passion collide in this story about a man who will risk it all to fight for the woman he loves and a woman who does not believe in fairy tales—until she finds herself living in one.
Once I’d read the premise for The Valet’s Secret by Josi S. Kilpack I knew I needed to get my hands on a copy of this book. It sounded like so much fun! And it really could have been a great story. I mean, who doesn’t like Cinderella?! I very much enjoyed Kenneth and Rebecca’s unique meet cute. It reminded me of Jane and Rochester’s very first meeting in Jane Eyre when she startles his horse. The passionate kiss between Kenneth and Rebecca at the start of this story is both shocking and very sweet. I found the entire opening well-written and engaging. It drew me in and made me want to see where these characters were going to go. I also really love how this story ends. The creative way to get both hero and heroine to fulfill aspects of the Cinderella archetype is great. And I really love the happily ever after. Made my reader’s heart happy!
Unfortunately, I found the pacing of this story to be problematic. It is a S – L – O – W read. The relationship-building interactions between Kenneth and Rebecca are minimal. For most of the story, Kenneth and Rebecca are doing all they can to stay away from each other. This is partly because they come from two different social spheres — Kenneth from the upper Eschelon and Rebecca from the working class. When the majority of the story consists of the hero and heroine saying they like one another, saying they are attracted to each other physically, but saying they can’t possibly be together because of societal expectations, and then doing what they can to be apart, it’s really hard to feel the chemistry. Too much saying and not enough of the right kind of doing. There is one clandestine meeting under a walnut tree that is super cute and kept me hoping for more, but then we go right back to Kenneth and Rebecca not being together. When they finally do declare their true feelings, I felt it was too little too late. I needed more interaction between them. Yes, it is plausible that characters have serious obstacles to overcome that could prevent them from being together, but there is usually some connection between the two that allows chemistry to sizzle. Rebecca and Kenneth feel like opposing magnets pushing each other apart.
The Valet’s Secret is a solid three-star story. Its beginning is magical, its end is fantastic, but the middle needs a little more oomph, a little more dazzle. I do recommend this story because the cute is super cute and super satisfying, but just know the middle might be a little disappointing.
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishing, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.