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The truth behind the hero Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington's most valued code-breakers, but since Waterloo, he's hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within; Perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves? Except Celeste harbors secrets of The truth behind the hero Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington's most valued code-breakers, but since Waterloo, he's hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within; Perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves? Except Celeste harbors secrets of her own, and questions that she needs Jack's help to solve! With Celeste's every touch an exquisite temptation, how close can Jack get without revealing his darkest secret of all? Comrades in Arms War heroes, heartbreakers & husbands?


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The truth behind the hero Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington's most valued code-breakers, but since Waterloo, he's hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within; Perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves? Except Celeste harbors secrets of The truth behind the hero Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington's most valued code-breakers, but since Waterloo, he's hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within; Perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves? Except Celeste harbors secrets of her own, and questions that she needs Jack's help to solve! With Celeste's every touch an exquisite temptation, how close can Jack get without revealing his darkest secret of all? Comrades in Arms War heroes, heartbreakers & husbands?

30 review for The Soldier's Dark Secret

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol Cork *Young at Heart Oldie*

    This is the first book in Marguerite Kaye’s new Comrades in Arms mini-series and, from the first page, I was totally immersed in the emotionally charged story and her fascinating, flawed characters. My Thoughts - Jack Trestain was one of Wellington’s best code-breakers, lauded in the duke’s dispatches as a hero, but Jack knows that… Heroes didn’t have stains on their soul. Ms Kaye imbues her characters with such depth that I experienced everything Jack did…the horror of those recurring nightmare This is the first book in Marguerite Kaye’s new Comrades in Arms mini-series and, from the first page, I was totally immersed in the emotionally charged story and her fascinating, flawed characters. My Thoughts - Jack Trestain was one of Wellington’s best code-breakers, lauded in the duke’s dispatches as a hero, but Jack knows that… Heroes didn’t have stains on their soul. Ms Kaye imbues her characters with such depth that I experienced everything Jack did…the horror of those recurring nightmares, his overwhelming sense of guilt, his grief, despair and fears. There were times when he felt as if he were being literally torn in two. Times when he raged at the injustice of what was happening to him, times when he was overwhelmed with guilt. There was no right and wrong anymore, which had been one of clear-cut lines for so long, was now so blurred that he was careering around like a compass struggling to find true north. At times, Ms Kaye really tugs at the heartstrings, particularly in the deeply emotional scene where Jack finally breaks down and reveals his long-hidden secret to Celeste. I couldn’t help but be moved by the raw, unguarded emotions. The guilt is slowly eating away at him and he refuses to talk to anyone about it, bottling it up inside. He seems unaware of the effect his erratic temper is having on his brother, sister-in-law and particularly his young nephew. It isn’t hard to sympathise with Celeste, estranged for so many years from a mother who treated her with heartless indifference, packing her off to boarding school at the age of ten. She has grown into an independent, confident and intelligent woman who has carved a life out for herself as a landscape artist. Then to have the letter arrive, casting doubt on everything she believes to be true about her mother, throwing her “perfectly calm and perfectly orderly” life into turmoil She had taught herself over the years not to care but it resurrects all the hurt and anger she’s suppressed. She needs closure. Maman’s life was an unfinished book. Celeste had to discover the ending, and then she could close the cover for ever. I like how she refuses to be cowed by Jack’s erratic behaviour and is determined to help him. Jack and Celeste’s journey is full of emotional, poignant, moving, dramatic and passionate moments and seeing them finally come to terms with their pasts and open their hearts to love was so rewarding. I’m sharing some of those moments. This was the kind of kiss that would never end. Lips and tongues in a slow dance. Hands smoothing, stroking. Skin clinging, damp, heating. ~~~~ Celeste grabbed his arm. “You see, you are running away from the truth. Why won’t you talk about it?” “Take your hands off me. Now.” She had gone too far. She knew it would be insane to push him further, but she knew with certainty that was exactly what she was going to do. Celeste tilted her head and met his stormy eyes. “No.” ~~~~ But the pain, the tearing blackness, the white heat of his uncontrollable fury, the terror that made him run from himself, the sweats and the shakes, and the dull ache in his head, they were all too real. ~~~~ She kissed him to stop the words babbling out. She was in love. “Jack,” she said, because it was all she could trust herself to say. “Jack.” She loved him. She kissed his eyelids. She loved him. ~~~~ I love Ms Kaye’s attention to detail and her skillful weaving of fact with fiction. Her meticulous historical research is evident throughout the story. VERDICT: Another beautifully crafted and emotionally satisfying love story from Marguerite Kaye. REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS Comrades in Arms - Seduced by the Soldier (free on-line read available here: http://www.harlequin.com/articlepage....) The Soldier’s Dark Secret The Soldier’s Rebel Lover (Autumn 2015) My sincere thanks to Marguerite Kaye who provided me with a complimentary copy of her book in return for an honest review. This review is also posted on my Rakes and Rascals blog: https://rakesandrascals.wordpress.com...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    The Soldier's Dark Secret (Comrade in Arms #1) is an inspirational read from the talented pen of one of my favourite authors. Marguerite Kaye never disappoints and I am constantly amazed by her creative, captivating and original story lines, we could never accuse her of being boring; no two books are the same, and each one is better than the last. Jack Trestain is an ex intelligence officer, one of Wellington's most valued code breakers, a brave one too, mentioned in dispatches and a truly honour The Soldier's Dark Secret (Comrade in Arms #1) is an inspirational read from the talented pen of one of my favourite authors. Marguerite Kaye never disappoints and I am constantly amazed by her creative, captivating and original story lines, we could never accuse her of being boring; no two books are the same, and each one is better than the last. Jack Trestain is an ex intelligence officer, one of Wellington's most valued code breakers, a brave one too, mentioned in dispatches and a truly honourable man with a conscience. And he has a secret - a dark, dangerous secret, one that conjures up terrifying tortuous nightmares, night after night, leaving him sleep deprived and short tempered. Jack is desperate to find peace but unable to, and believes himself unworthy of love or forgiveness. His salvation arrives in the form of an enchanting and beautiful French woman. Celeste Marmion has been commissioned by Jack's elder brother Charlie to paint some landscapes of their ancestral grounds and gardens. She has used this opportunity to travel to England in search of some answers to a devastating secret of her own. Their first meeting is unorthodox to say the least, unable to sleep, Jack is in the habit of swimming in the lake in the early morning - without clothing. Celeste, on an early morning reconnaissance of the grounds spots the intriguing Jack, and to begin with simply enjoys, with an artists eye, the beauty of the man. Soon, however, she is aware that what she is doing could be interpreted as spying, indeed she is also aware that she is actually enjoying the spectacle, that is until Jack turns an anguished face to the sky and Celeste sees the torment and suffering written on his face and makes an attempt to escape this deeply private moment...and fails. The two have got off to a bad start, but it doesn't take long before they become reluctant friends, with a burning attraction developing between them. Celeste is unafraid of Jack's black moods, unlike his family, she stands her ground, challenging him and begins to pick away at his defences. He is rattled by her ability to get beneath his skin, afraid to let her see his suffering, but still physically and mentally attracted to this beguiling young woman. Eventually Celeste confides, at least part of her story to Jack and it is with relief he is able to turn his mind to what he does best, unravelling secrets, breaking codes in effect. Helping Celeste to search for the answers she has travelled to England for is something his analytical, if troubled mind, CAN do. He has a purpose again, not only will he be able to help Celeste - and he desperately wants to - but he can also discourage her from delving too deeply into his own deeply disturbing thoughts. I love the way Ms. Kaye slowly builds the attraction between her characters, sensuously, sizzling and oh so sexy! Nothing too physical happens until well into Jack and Celeste's story but the air is electric and when it does happen it jumps off the page. The sheer amount of historical research that has gone into this novel is breathtaking, a fascinating but never boring history lesson (which I love) wrapped up in a beautifully sensitive love story. I have no doubt that the facts about Waterloo and the enigmatic, if egotistical Wellington, are as accurate as Marguerite Kaye's thorough research can make them. Jack is obviously suffering from PTSD, again I can only guess at the amount of reading Ms. Kaye has done in order to make his condition as authentic as possible, without being able to tell us that that is what he is suffering from, a condition undiagnosed at that time in history. The plot is intricate, clever, and interesting, the soldier really DOES have a dark secret and Celeste's tale is fascinating, the unravelling of it all intelligently and ingeniously achieved. Altogether we have accurate history, scintillating romance and mystery. And the artwork on the cover is perfect, a dark, brooding soldier in a red military uniform; I'm not sure if the jacket is absolutely correct but quite honestly I don't care, he looks the part and he looks as I imagine Jack would look. A perfectly wonderful novel Marguerite Kaye; I loved it, 5 stars and highly recommended. Can't wait for Comrades in Arms #2

  3. 5 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this a B+ at AAR, so that's 4.5 stars. Whenever I pick up a book by Marguerite Kaye, I know I’m going to get a well-crafted, character driven story with a slightly different focus to that found in the average historical romance - and The Soldier’s Dark Secret is exactly that. Touching and very readable, the story focuses on two emotionally damaged people struggling to live with the pain and guilt that is threatening to overwhelm them. Lieutenant-Colonel Jack Trestain, a highly respecte I've given this a B+ at AAR, so that's 4.5 stars. Whenever I pick up a book by Marguerite Kaye, I know I’m going to get a well-crafted, character driven story with a slightly different focus to that found in the average historical romance - and The Soldier’s Dark Secret is exactly that. Touching and very readable, the story focuses on two emotionally damaged people struggling to live with the pain and guilt that is threatening to overwhelm them. Lieutenant-Colonel Jack Trestain, a highly respected soldier who served as Wellington’s premier intelligence officer - resigned his commission and sold out of the army shortly after Waterloo. He has been residing with his brother Charles and his family while recuperating from injuries sustained during the battle, but he is having a difficult time adjusting to civilian life. Plagued by nightmares of one particularly harrowing experience during the war, Jack is close to exhaustion and heavily weighed down by guilt, determined to bear the burden alone. His mood swings, loss of appetite and continual fatigue have been noticed by his brother and sister-in-law who are very concerned about him. They love him and want to help, but have no idea what to do when all their overtures are repulsed and Jack seems determined to keep pushing them away. He’s been home a few months when Celeste Marmion arrives. She is half-French and an artist of some renown who has been commissioned by Charlie to paint a series of landscapes of various aspects of the estate before he has some major renovations done. Although their first meeting does not go well, they soon strike up a cautious friendship of sorts; and Jack is both surprised – and relieved – to discover that he’s very attracted to Celeste. He hasn’t experienced feelings of desire in a very long time, and had thought it just another part of him that was irrevocably changed by his wartime experiences. He quickly discerns that Celeste has secrets of her own, and offers to help her, somewhat re-energised at the prospect of having something useful to do. The fact that it also allows him to push aside his own troubles for a time is just an added bonus. Celeste’s life has been characterised by a distant, unemotional relationship with her mother. Over the years, Celeste has schooled herself to indifference about it, just as she has decided that she only wants casual relationships in her life as anything more than that is too much trouble and leave her open to hurt. Her mother died a year or so ago, and the last letter she sent was, to Celeste’s eye, just as cold and unemotional as the rest of their relationship. Celeste can’t help being angry – at her mother’s lack of affection and for the fact that she took her own life, leaving Celeste to feel guilty and confused as to her motives. She has come to England to undertake Charlie’s commission, but also wants to see if she can find out anything about her mother’s English family. Celeste is initially reluctant to take up Jack’s offer of help, but knowing he can make enquiries through avenues unavailable to her, she swallows her pride and shows him her mother’s letter. She is amazed when his interpretation of the words is so different to her own, which forces her to begin to re-evaluate her mother’s actions towards her and to question everything she had believed about their relationship. Both protagonists have to make major reassessments of themselves and their pasts in order to be able to move forward and shake themselves free of the guilt and misconceptions that threaten to swamp them. Jack’s issues seem, on the surface to be the more serious ones. He’s clearly suffering from what we would today recognise as PTSD and is almost falling apart before our eyes, while Celeste appears confident, serene and happy in her independence – albeit rather emotionally controlled. But her journey of discovery balances Jack’s – as he uncovers more and more about her background, she allows herself to fully explore the resulting emotions in a cathartic way, coming to realise that she doesn’t want to live a cold, emotionless existence. But Jack, even though he does eventually derive some degree of solace from unburdening himself to Celeste, takes longer to realise that he has to make a similar choice, and it’s a delay that almost costs him dear. Ms. Kaye has clearly researched the historical background very thoroughly, and doesn’t sugar-coat the horrors of war or play down its after-effects on those who fought and returned home to face poverty and despair. The way she writes Jack’s condition makes it seem very real – she conveys his situation through his words, moods and body language, bringing home to the reader most effectively that, like his family, he is scared by the fact that he doesn’t know what’s happening to him or what to do about it. Once again, I’m awed by this author’s ability to craft such an intelligent, compelling and moving story and pack it into a relatively small page-count. The writing is excellent, the plot is skilfully rendered and the romance is beautifully developed, with a lovely sensuality about it that builds slowly and deliciously as the story progresses. The Soldier’s Dark Secret is the first of two books appearing under the title of Comrades in Arms . The second will feature Jack’s friend and colleague, Major Finlay Urquhart – whom we meet briefly here – and I’ll certainly be looking out for it later this year.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Good story about two emotionally wounded and vulnerable people. Jack has left the service after thirteen years, most recently as Wellington's best code-breakers. With the end of the war there is nothing to keep the memories at bay. He is haunted by the things he has seen and done, and the peace of his brother's country home only seems to make it worse. Celeste is an artist who has come to England to paint various scenes around his brother's home. The recent death of her mother has also brought f Good story about two emotionally wounded and vulnerable people. Jack has left the service after thirteen years, most recently as Wellington's best code-breakers. With the end of the war there is nothing to keep the memories at bay. He is haunted by the things he has seen and done, and the peace of his brother's country home only seems to make it worse. Celeste is an artist who has come to England to paint various scenes around his brother's home. The recent death of her mother has also brought forth some questions that she hopes to get answers to. I hurt for Jack and the pain he is going through. Since his return from the war, he can't eat, can't sleep without nightmares, and has a hair-trigger temper. The care he gets from his family just makes him feel worse, as he feels he does not deserve it. He desperately wants to feel normal again but has no idea how to make it happen. Jack and Celeste get off to a rough start, as she witnesses an intensely private moment. Her first glimpse of him delights her artistic soul as she admires his physical form, but it's the anguish she sees on his face that sends her running. Though angered by her invasion of his privacy, he quickly finds himself drawn to her and offers to show her the grounds. I thought it was interesting to see how each sees the other's pain and wants to help relieve it, without being willing to share their own. Celeste grew up with parents who were emotionally distant from her, and was sent away to school when she was ten. She has spent the years since then feeling rejected by those who should have loved her. She has been estranged from her mother for years. A letter written by her mother shortly before her death has Celeste drowning in guilt, thinking that she might have prevented it, and with unanswered questions about who her mother really was. Jack's questions and suggestions have Celeste looking at her past in a different way, tearing down the walls she has built around her emotions. She takes Jack up on his offer to help her find the answers she's looking for. Jack starts out looking at Celeste as a distraction. Her search is just the sort of puzzle he is good at, and concentrating on that could give him a break from the memories that haunt him. The more he finds out about her quest, the more he wants to help her avoid the crippling guilt that he is experiencing himself. There is also an intense attraction between them. Jack is surprised by it, as he hasn't felt anything like it in years. He also considers himself a bad bet, and tries to resist giving in to it. Celeste is a grown woman, confident in her own needs. She is just as attracted to Jack and has no problem with the idea of indulging in it. She quickly comes to realize that what is between them is far more than she has ever experienced before. As they work together on her quest, they are drawn closer together by their empathy for each other's pain. I loved Jack's determination to get Celeste her answers, and his need to keep her from suffering the way that he does. I also loved the way that Celeste's own personality and empathy enables her to stand up to Jack when he is being a jerk. Celeste's growing love for Jack is especially apparent when she agrees to go to the dinner honoring Wellington with him. Though feeling out of her element, she is determined to support him in whatever manner he needs. The scene with his fellow officer was heartwrenching, as Jack's memories of that horrific event are finally exposed. Her ability to get him through it said so much about her feelings for him. A trip to France finishes off the search for Celeste's answers. All that is left is for each of them to be able to see that they bear no responsibility for the actions of other people. It is not something that is easily done, and it takes the help of the one they love to be able to move forward into the future, The epilogue was great, as it showed how they have turned their pain into something good.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sophia

    It was the title. I saw the words 'soldier' and 'secret' so I just had to grab it. I love historicals and I was very taken with a post-Napoleonic War story that featured an English man broken by the war and a French woman artist who is searching for clues to her past. The story begins when Jack Trestain leaves the army to come home to the civilian life at his brother's estate. Something so horrific occurred during the war that he will never be able to forget and it will haunt him forever. Jack's It was the title. I saw the words 'soldier' and 'secret' so I just had to grab it. I love historicals and I was very taken with a post-Napoleonic War story that featured an English man broken by the war and a French woman artist who is searching for clues to her past. The story begins when Jack Trestain leaves the army to come home to the civilian life at his brother's estate. Something so horrific occurred during the war that he will never be able to forget and it will haunt him forever. Jack's relations are concerned that he doesn't seem to be getting better, but worse so they tip-toe around him while trying to make him welcome in his childhood home. They want to know about his glorious time in Wellington's army, but he can't bring himself to speak of it. Into this situation comes a landscape artist hired to preserve the scenes around the estate now that Jack's brother and sister in law make extensive plans to redo the estate grounds. Celeste is happy to have this commission in England, but her motives are not all just for the work. With her mother's death and the receipt of a letter from beyond the grave, Celeste learns that everything she once thought about her family and her life is suspect. She needs the answers so she can move on. Encountering the brother of her employer side tracks her a little as she discerns that he has dark secrets that rival her own and just as she never plans to trust or open herself up to a relationship, the same is true of him. Jack doesn't know what to make of the woman who challenges him and claims that she feels nothing though she feels deeply behind that wall she puts up to the world. Celeste dares to question him and challenge him to let go his secrets even as he slowly pries hers from her as well. The attraction between them is palpable, but his guilt won't allow him to move on it toward anything permanent and Celeste feels the same- or so he thinks. When I began this story, it took me a bit to warm up to Celeste and settle into the story. The author chose to approach things by plunging right in before pulling back to slowly unveil their secrets. As the truth came out, my emotions were strongly engage for this pair who carried around such heavy guilt. Neither saw themselves as others saw them and didn't feel fit for ordinary life. They have the star-crossed lover thing going strongly as a result. The story moved along nicely and I enjoyed the little surprises that were tucked in as secrets were revealed. All the exciting moments happened in the past and this one stayed gently paced with just a few moments of sexual tension or moments when Jack or Celeste were confronting their personal demons. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of historical detail that added color and layers to the story. Jack's involvement in the war, Celeste's connection to the French Revolution, and their place now in peacetime England and France was all so well-told. The romance is one that begins with sizzling attraction and some sultry bedroom scenes, but paired with that is the slow development of trust, understanding, friendship, and a strong yearning on both their parts. In summation, this was an engaging and touching historical romance that I would recommend to historical romance lovers who enjoy a bit of spice and a nice dab of authenticity. My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kristiej

    It didn’t occur to me until just now that last two books I read are both about soldiers, but my what a difference. It’s been quite a while since I last read an English historical; I am SO over the whole aristocracy thing but when I read the review for this book at AAR, I thought I’d give it a try and the hero, Jack Trestain is a soldier and not titled, though his older brother holds a barony. Jack has cashiered out of the army after the battle of Waterloo. He is suffering from what we know is PTS It didn’t occur to me until just now that last two books I read are both about soldiers, but my what a difference. It’s been quite a while since I last read an English historical; I am SO over the whole aristocracy thing but when I read the review for this book at AAR, I thought I’d give it a try and the hero, Jack Trestain is a soldier and not titled, though his older brother holds a barony. Jack has cashiered out of the army after the battle of Waterloo. He is suffering from what we know is PTSD, he can’t eat, can’t really sleep, has ghastly nightmares, has a hair trigger temper and in general is not the same person he used to be. He is living in the country, at the estate with his brother and his family and they are quite concerned about him. They are planning major changes to the grounds and have hired a Parisian artist, Celeste Marimon, to do paintings of the gardens before they are renovated. Celeste first spies Jack when she watches in in his early morning swim. She can see the agony and pain on his face and she knows he is suffering from something deep an painful, as is she. He’s not exactly pleased when he realizes he’s been seen in a vulnerable moment, but it doesn’t take long to recognize that there is sorrow in Celeste’s life too. There is a growing attraction between the two as Jack offers to help Celeste with what is troubling her. Her mother recently committed suicide leaving more questions than answers and as Jack was a riddle solver during the war, he offers his services to find out the story behind the story and is with her with each new discovery they make. As he helps Celeste, while not exactly healing himself, he does at least have a purpose now. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I adored both Jack and Celeste. Jack was haunted by an incident that happened during the war. He finally confesses the dark secret to Celeste but she doesn’t turn away. Jack is loyal and intelligent and a great hero. Celeste is equally a great heroine. All her life she has felt rejection from her mother and she has had to wall up a great deal of herself to keep the pain at bay. But with Jack’s patience and understanding and with his different take on some of the things they uncover about her mother, Celeste’s walls slowly come down. Theirs is a love story that starts first as a friendship and as such, the HEA is very believable. Normally I can take or leave an epilogue but with The Soldier’s Darkest Secret, I thought it closed the book very well.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    England - August 1815 Jack Trestain is a highly decorated an admired code-breaker who has just returned from fighting against Napoleon. He is living with his brother, Charlie, and family at their home, Trestain Manor. Charlie has inherited the home and title from their father and he and his wife have been working hard to re-do the home and the grounds. Jack is having a difficult time settling back home. Nightmares of the things he has seen and experienced during the war fill his nights leaving hi England - August 1815 Jack Trestain is a highly decorated an admired code-breaker who has just returned from fighting against Napoleon. He is living with his brother, Charlie, and family at their home, Trestain Manor. Charlie has inherited the home and title from their father and he and his wife have been working hard to re-do the home and the grounds. Jack is having a difficult time settling back home. Nightmares of the things he has seen and experienced during the war fill his nights leaving him exhausted and with a constant feeling of guilt. Celeste Marmion is an artist raised in France and has been commissioned by Charlie Trestain to paint the gardens of Trestain Manor before its planned transformation. Celeste was sent to school at age 10 by her mother who was always indifferent to her. Her mother’s essential desertion has always hurt and troubled Celeste and now she is on a mission to find out more about her. She uses her talent of painting to make money to support herself. As a guest at the manor, Celeste and Jack meet and are almost instantly attracted to one another. They each recognize the other as someone who is suffering from bad experiences in their pasts which only draws them closer together. When Celeste shares a letter with Jack she had received from her estranged mother, Jack quickly agrees to accompany her to France to work with the clues they have to solve the mystery of her mother’s past. These characters are brilliantly written to reveal two wounded people looking to one another for solace. Celeste is hurting because she feels her mother never loved her and Jack feels a terrible guilt for people he may have harmed or was unable to help save during the war. Once again, the author has created a novel that has obviously been researched in-depth to share with the reader not only a great story but the history of the war itself. I know readers will enjoy Jack and Celeste’s story and finish the novel with a feeling of satisfaction having read a story that will long remain with them.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Trudy Miner

    In this deeply moving and poignant story, Officer Jack Trestain has returned from the war with Napoleon a changed man whose brother Charlie and wife Eleanor have despaired of having back to normal again. Little did they know the cause of his erratic behavior, they only thought that Officer Jack Trestain was a hero of the Battle of Waterloo, serving on Wellington's staff as a code-breaker. Now, two years later, Jack is dealing with his war wounds both the musket ball to his arm and his nightly dr In this deeply moving and poignant story, Officer Jack Trestain has returned from the war with Napoleon a changed man whose brother Charlie and wife Eleanor have despaired of having back to normal again. Little did they know the cause of his erratic behavior, they only thought that Officer Jack Trestain was a hero of the Battle of Waterloo, serving on Wellington's staff as a code-breaker. Now, two years later, Jack is dealing with his war wounds both the musket ball to his arm and his nightly dreams. Into this comes Miss Celeste Marmion, a French artist that Eleanor has hired to paint the gardens at Trestain Manor before she remodels them. On the first morning after her arrival, Celeste sets out to explore the estate and happens upon Jack swimming naked in the lake working off his demons and exercising his damaged arm. Frozen in place while admiring with an artist's eye the beauty of the naked man, Celeste is, of course, caught by Jack staring at him! Soon they strike up an unlikely friendship and Jack discovers that Celeste has secrets of her own, mainly that she's in England to find out about her English mother and why she killed herself. As these two people, each tortured by their own guilt, draw closer together, we get a glimpse of life in post-Waterloo England and post-Terror Revolutionary France. The climax of the story truly tugs at the heart-strings. I was given a copy of this book by the author for an honest review. I can honestly say that this book is one that I'll remember for a long time, so moving it was. It's also something many people can relate to even though it takes place two hundred years ago because war is war and man's inhumanity to man hasn't changed all that much. It was also different to have both the h and H damaged emotionally and yet find true love with each other.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Farrah

    With secrets and sweet romance, The Soldier's Dark Secret was a lovely historical romance. I enjoyed this book and I thought it was a great read. Celeste was a good heroine. She had made something of herself and found a way to be independent, even after basically her entire family rejected her. For the most part, I found her to be a lovely heroine. Jack was good as well. He was a genuinely good man who felt the weight of his mistakes heavily. But, though he might not have seen himself that way, he With secrets and sweet romance, The Soldier's Dark Secret was a lovely historical romance. I enjoyed this book and I thought it was a great read. Celeste was a good heroine. She had made something of herself and found a way to be independent, even after basically her entire family rejected her. For the most part, I found her to be a lovely heroine. Jack was good as well. He was a genuinely good man who felt the weight of his mistakes heavily. But, though he might not have seen himself that way, he was honorable, sweet, and likable as a person. I thought he was great. The romance was okay. I did think Celeste and Jack were a sweet couple who understood each other on a deeper level and they definitely had chemistry. But, I wish the had been more active in their relationship, if that makes any sense. They were very passive about what their future would be until the very end. But, I still thought they were good together. The plot never dragged and kept me interested, though not particularly hooked, all the way through. I liked the story and I thought the ending was sweet. The Soldier's Dark Secret was an enjoyable historical romance and I liked it overall. Romance lovers, you might want to check this book out. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah (sarahandherbookshelves)

    Ah... I found this book only ok. It took me so long to read and I am not sure why. I just could not get to much into the story. The characters where ok, once again, but I just could not relate to them. I did like the mystery aspect to do with Celeste's heritage. I would try this author again but I wont be continuing this series. Ah... I found this book only ok. It took me so long to read and I am not sure why. I just could not get to much into the story. The characters where ok, once again, but I just could not relate to them. I did like the mystery aspect to do with Celeste's heritage. I would try this author again but I wont be continuing this series.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    You can tell from the cover and title of The Soldier's Dark Secret that it isn't exactly my heroine-centric catnip. This book is very much the story of its hero. Don't get me wrong: I still loved it, but that's mostly because Celeste is a well-wrought character whose story gets you in all the feels even though it gets less page time overall and is much more subtle. But you should probably take me with a grain of salt, here. I suspect I'm an atypical reader in that it's usually the way the heroin You can tell from the cover and title of The Soldier's Dark Secret that it isn't exactly my heroine-centric catnip. This book is very much the story of its hero. Don't get me wrong: I still loved it, but that's mostly because Celeste is a well-wrought character whose story gets you in all the feels even though it gets less page time overall and is much more subtle. But you should probably take me with a grain of salt, here. I suspect I'm an atypical reader in that it's usually the way the heroine is handled that makes me love (or hate) a book. I'm all for great heroes, of course, but they're not usually the focus of my attention. I've noticed, in conversation with other readers, that my perspective might be considered unusual. Jack has returned from Waterloo with what modern readers will easily recognize is a nasty case of PTSD. Kaye does a remarkable job of blending this fraught issue (terribly fraught for its time -- after all, it's not as though Regency era England is known for its compassionate response to mental illness of any sort -- and fraught for our current time, as well... let's be honest: we just barely do better (if at all) at responding to these types of war injuries.) in the story without it becoming an issue book. It's just part of Jack's character, and he has to learn to live with it. Celeste is a French landscape artist with a mysterious past, and most of the plot is devoted to uncovering that mystery, but it's Celeste's internal journey from complete emotional disconnect -- her entire childhood lives in a memory box labeled "DO NOT OPEN" -- to integrated emotional health that is (to me, of course) the most interesting thing about the book, especially because it so neatly balances Jack's more outwardly dramatic journey. Let me see if I can explain what I mean... Jack's journey is more obvious. He's kind of a wreck at the beginning, falling apart all over the place, suffering nightmares and consequently not sleeping, losing time, utterly lost. His family is all up in desperate denial, and things don't look good for the future. Then Celeste arrives and gives him a purpose -- solve this mystery! -- and he starts putting the pieces back together again. (As an aside, I think this book will resonate with a lot of readers, because the wounded hero who gets his shit together trope seems to be pretty dang popular.) By contrast, Celeste starts out contained and competent, happy in her little life and independence; as her mystery unravels and she explores her grief, readers and Celeste alike discover that she never was all that happy and, after a bit of emotional upheaval, she realizes that happiness does not lie in a life of emotional sterility but that, to live truly, she needs to love. So, those of you who know me personally should be smirking right about now. (I'm not exactly known for my emotional connectivity.) And maybe that's why Celeste's story resonated so strongly with me... Who knows? Either way, I fell in love with The Soldier's Dark Secret because it asks such interesting questions about emotional health, grief, guilt, shame, and -- especially -- love. But I think a slew of other readers will enjoy it because Jack is seriously swoony (also strong and hot).

  12. 5 out of 5

    puppitypup

    Historic Romance Too tidy This book showed promise, and I appreciate that the author took on the topic of PTSD in a historic romance. But everything wraps up too easily. If I were to describe this book is in musical terms, the story reads like Bach, whereas Beethoven would have given it time to breathe, to allow for the tragedy to be fully felt before moving on. I found it odd that this early 19th century heroine, at age 25, had had so many lovers. She admits, at one point, that having a child out Historic Romance Too tidy This book showed promise, and I appreciate that the author took on the topic of PTSD in a historic romance. But everything wraps up too easily. If I were to describe this book is in musical terms, the story reads like Bach, whereas Beethoven would have given it time to breathe, to allow for the tragedy to be fully felt before moving on. I found it odd that this early 19th century heroine, at age 25, had had so many lovers. She admits, at one point, that having a child out of wedlock in France was just as ostracizing as it was in England, yet she lives her life with no regard for the consequences. To be honest, I didn't really care for the heroine, even apart from that. In my mind she seemed a bit hard and cold-hearted. She describes herself so, and takes pride in the fact that she is adept at hiding her feelings. I always struggle with that particular character type. For a truly outstanding portrait of PTSD in a historic romance, I would suggest Seize the Fire by Laura Kinsale. There are several intimate scenes, easily skipped, and no bad words that I recall.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    4.5 stars rounded up to 5 on GR Jack has resigned his commission from the Army following the Waterloo campaign and is dealing with what is now known as PTSD. Celeste was hired by Jack's brother to paint the estate's landscapes before the brother's wife does an overhaul on the gardens. Celeste is also hoping to find answers to her questions about her mother's death. The attraction is there, but slowly at first. Jack decides finding the answers to Celeste's questions will get his mind off his night 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 on GR Jack has resigned his commission from the Army following the Waterloo campaign and is dealing with what is now known as PTSD. Celeste was hired by Jack's brother to paint the estate's landscapes before the brother's wife does an overhaul on the gardens. Celeste is also hoping to find answers to her questions about her mother's death. The attraction is there, but slowly at first. Jack decides finding the answers to Celeste's questions will get his mind off his nightmares. Over time, they find solace in each other. The title of this book does not lie - Jack's secret is DARK and truly a horrible but plausible thing to happen during war. The answers to Celeste's questions take the couple back to France and further back to the time of the Revolution/Reign of Terror. This was a sexy and fun, if angsty at times, romp through post-war England and France. The emotions were true to the characters and watching Jack and Celeste grow as individual characters and as a couple was a treat. Recommended reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    I'm rating this book highly for research and atmosphere, but readers should know that there is not much action or drama. The tensions are played out as a young French-English woman tries to unravel the secret of who she really is, and a veteran of Waterloo and the Peninsular Campaign comes gradually to terms with his injuries and mental stress. The scene is mainly a fine country house in the north of England but there are side trips; to a regimental dinner with Wellington - our hero was a code-b I'm rating this book highly for research and atmosphere, but readers should know that there is not much action or drama. The tensions are played out as a young French-English woman tries to unravel the secret of who she really is, and a veteran of Waterloo and the Peninsular Campaign comes gradually to terms with his injuries and mental stress. The scene is mainly a fine country house in the north of England but there are side trips; to a regimental dinner with Wellington - our hero was a code-breaker; to France and London. Our heroine is an artist engaged to paint the grounds of the house, and this inspires scenes of swimming in the lake, sitting among topiary and bottling damsons as well as exploring more intimate matters. I enjoyed this adult romance and it should go down well with anyone who likes to know the fine details of these turbulent times, or who enjoys tracing family trees.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Ok, first off this isn't one of the run of the mill M&B historicals, it is something so much deeper. It is a gutsy read, full of intrigue, secrets and romance that a historical buff like myself can sink their teeth into. Jack, a colonel, tortured from the nightmare of war. Celeste, desperately searching for her identity come together with a subtlety and desperation that only Marguerite can portray with precision. With elements of today's issues woven seamlessly into the tale, The Soldier's Dark Ok, first off this isn't one of the run of the mill M&B historicals, it is something so much deeper. It is a gutsy read, full of intrigue, secrets and romance that a historical buff like myself can sink their teeth into. Jack, a colonel, tortured from the nightmare of war. Celeste, desperately searching for her identity come together with a subtlety and desperation that only Marguerite can portray with precision. With elements of today's issues woven seamlessly into the tale, The Soldier's Dark Secret is one that keeps the reader turning over page after page. Marguerite has not sugar-coated the horrors of war. Jack and Celeste's relationship keeps the reader guessing throughout the book, with a well deserved Yay at the end. To say I was disappointed when the book finished is an understatement. However, I'm anticipating Finlay's story and it can't be released soon enough.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cinzia

    The truth behind the hero Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington's most valued code-breakers, but since Waterloo, he's hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within… Perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves? Except Celeste harbors secrets of her own, and questions that she needs Jack's help to solve! With Celeste's every touch an exquisite temptation, how close c The truth behind the hero Officer Jack Trestain may have been one of Wellington's most valued code-breakers, but since Waterloo, he's hung up his uniform. If only he could just as easily put aside the tortured memories he carries deep within… Perhaps enchanting French artist Celeste Marmion might be the distraction he so desperately craves? Except Celeste harbors secrets of her own, and questions that she needs Jack's help to solve! With Celeste's every touch an exquisite temptation, how close can Jack get without revealing his darkest secret of all? The Soldier's Dark Secret is a really nice book, perhaps the best of those I've read of Marguerite Kaye or maybe one with the characters that impressed me the most. Two excellent characters and an intriguing plot, full of mistery about Celeste's mother past, keeping the reader engaged in the storyline. I have to say that I love a lot too as Ms Kaye reconstructs historical scenarios in which puts her love stories, analyzing with a critical eye, creating characters that are war heroes, but they pay the price of their choices, sometimes horrible choices, of whom they were witnesses or architects during the war, and they were profoundly changed by them. I find this thing always makes them look very realistic. I loved Jack e Celeste from the very beginning, their being so direct with one another and out of the schemes for that time. Celeste is an artist, an independent and intelligent young woman, her childhood is marked by a cold and distant relationship with her mother, for which she will suffer a great deal, but at the same time she will not indulge in self-pity, learning to go forward on her way, she's so brave. She is not impressed by Jack, from his mood swings or his outbursts sometimes very sharp and she doesn't hide the deep emotions that he manages to unleash inside of her. Maybe being a painter and French helps her to dare more, without having to necessarily worry about being judged according to the rules of English high society families. Jack, as mentioned before, is a man tormented by his inner demons, he fights a battle against himself, to overcome this terrible moment that seems to put a strain on his right mind. I really liked how he attempts to come to terms with his problems and at the same time being so perceptive and considerate towards Celeste. Their relationship is full of passion, they don't understand the reason for the intensity of this attraction, but they both don't hide their reactions and thanks to this sincerity they can go beyond the façade which they reserve to the rest of the world. Their story is undoubtedly made more charming by the mysteries surrounding the life of the mother of Celeste and the terrible secret that Jack try to hide from everyone, bringing the weight of it on his shoulder. I think the book is amazing , beautiful love scenes and dialogues, well written love scenes, passionate and never vulgar. In short, I liked it a lot! Thank to Netgalley and Harlequin for the kind preview. RATING: 5 stars The Soldier's Dark Secret è davvero un bel libro, forse il migliore tra quelli che ho letto di Marguerite Kaye o forse quello con i protagonisti che mi hanno colpito di più. Due ottimi personaggi e una trama intrigante, che si rivela un poco alla volta, mantenendo il lettore coinvolto nella lettura. Devo dire che amo molto anche come la scrittrice ricostruisce gli scenari storici nei quali inserisce le sue storie d'amore, analizzandole con occhio critico, creando dei personaggi che sono sì degli eroi di guerra, che però pagano il prezzo delle scelte, a volte atroci, delle quali sono stati testimoni o artefici durante la guerra, rimanendone profondamente cambiati. Trovo che questo aspetto li renda sempre molto realistici. Jack e Celeste mi sono piaciuti da subito, il loro essere così diretti l'uno con l'altro e anticonformisti per l'epoca. Celeste è una artista, una giovane donna indipendente e intelligente, la sua infanzia è segnata da un rapporto freddo e distante con la madre, cosa che la farà soffrire in modo enorme, ma al tempo stesso la spingerà a non indulgere nell'autocommiserazione, imparando ad andare a avanti per la sua strada in modo coraggioso. Non si lascia impressionare da Jack, da i suoi sbalzi di umore o dalle sue uscite a volte taglienti e non nasconde le profonde emozioni che lui riesce a scatenare dentro di lei. Forse l'essere una pittrice e per di più francese la aiuta a poter osare di più, senza doversi per forza preoccupare di essere giudicata secondo le regole delle famiglie dell'alta società inglese. Jack, come già detto prima, è un uomo tormentato dai suoi demoni interiori, combatte una battaglia contro se stesso, per superare questo momento terribile che sembra mettere a dura prova la sua ragione. Mi è piaciuto molto per come tenta di affrontare i suoi problemi e al tempo stesso sia così percettivo e attento nei confronti di Celeste. Il loro rapporto è pieno di passione, non comprendono il motivo dell'intensità di questa attrazione, ma entrambi non nascondono le loro reazioni e grazie a questa sincerità riescono ad andare oltre la facciata che riservano al resto del mondo. La loro storia è senz'altro resa più affascinante dai misteri che avvolgono la vita della madre di Celeste e dal terribile segreto che Jack tenta di nascondere a tutti, portandone il peso come un macigno. Trovo che il libro sia scritto in modo splendido, bei dialoghi, scene d'amore ben scritte, passionali e mai volgari. Insomma mi è piaciuto un sacco! Ringrazio Netgalley e la Harlequin per la gentile anteprima. VOTO: 5 stelle TITOLO: The Soldier's Dark Secrets AUTHOR: Marguerite Kaye SERIES: Comrade in Arms #1 EDITORE: Harlequin DATA PREVISTA DI PUBBLICAZIONE:15 febbraio 2015

  17. 4 out of 5

    Vana

    I enjoyed this book and I also appreciated the author's grasp of history. In my view a little historical inclusion without weighing the story down adds more depth to a book, and it certainly had it here. The accurate portrayal of Wellingtons personality, a flavour of what the French Revolution must have been like, and although just touched upon, a taste of the field in the Peninsular Wars. The plot was strong with good characterisation. I have deducted a star however. Jack applied reasoning to C I enjoyed this book and I also appreciated the author's grasp of history. In my view a little historical inclusion without weighing the story down adds more depth to a book, and it certainly had it here. The accurate portrayal of Wellingtons personality, a flavour of what the French Revolution must have been like, and although just touched upon, a taste of the field in the Peninsular Wars. The plot was strong with good characterisation. I have deducted a star however. Jack applied reasoning to Celeste's circumstances but could not apply the same reasoning to his own. It was essential to the plot but it took him a little too long to realise it , and I found it a little frustrating. This is a good story by a British Author with a good sense of British History. Highly recommended.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    The mysteries added to the appeal.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    One of the many reason I love Regency stories is it is not always just glitzy and glamour, dancing and beautiful gowns. They are so many layers. There are always subtle undercurrents here and there, if one knows where to look. Marguerite Kaye's The Soldier's Dark Secret is one of those stories. In this story, we are looking at the effect of the past. One person's past is a very curious thing. By looking into one's past, we often get to understand what shapes this person. Not all the past were pl One of the many reason I love Regency stories is it is not always just glitzy and glamour, dancing and beautiful gowns. They are so many layers. There are always subtle undercurrents here and there, if one knows where to look. Marguerite Kaye's The Soldier's Dark Secret is one of those stories. In this story, we are looking at the effect of the past. One person's past is a very curious thing. By looking into one's past, we often get to understand what shapes this person. Not all the past were pleasant and not everyone is willing to fact that. In this story, we are looking at how two people face their past (one a little further than another) and how they are able to move on after putting that past to rest. Jack Trestain, Duke of Wellington's most trusted code-breaker who just returned to his home from the war, had been haunted by his past since that fateful day long ago. Guilt slowly ate and gnawed its way through the numbness he managed to erect during the war and returned to him at full force. He struggled to carry on living as if nothing outward had happened. But with the reminder of his error tailed after him at every corner (even in his dreams), it was extremely difficult. Celeste Marmion became curious after learning her mother's somewhat unusual passing, as well as that last letter she had sent shortly beforehand. She wanted to know what exactly happened all those decades ago, and what had made her mother behaving like so (which subsequently effecting her childhood). Soe she took the job opportunity of landscape painter to come to England-her mother's homeland, to find out. After stumbled upon him, very early in the morning, at a very intriguing occasion, Celeste found the guest of her employer's house was anything but uninteresting, physically and emotionally. Both of them were aware there were something between them, and both of them denied it, almost impulsively. She decided to start her quest of finding out her mother's past by seeking out Jack's advice. Jack, seeing it as a form of distraction, as well as different focus, offered his assistance. They slowly unraveled what was happening in during that dark times, they also found the bound they shared with each other became stronger and stronger. There are two parts in the story I absolutely adore. One of them was how the two first meet. The detail description of the English country, the early morning scenery, and the movements Celeste had as she gracefully moved across the unkempt garden and admired its natural beauty. The surprise when she spotted Jack in the lake, and the shock when she observed him from behind the bush. All the explicit details, all the unsaid emotions. It was how I knew I was drawn into the two of them and wanted to know more of their stories. Another one was the Ball they attended. No Regency story is complete without at least one Ball. I always have a weak spot on those. Reading the details on how the house was decorated inside out, how everyone was dressed and how everyone chattered and the subtle undercurrent at each and every word exchanged. It made me sighed in content and delight. The unexpected twist at the end of the evening surprised me, too. For I had thought what haunted Jack was one of the more famous one in another Spanish town around that time. Nice touch. As I said at the beginning, this story has many layers. First we get to see the dark side of war-the innocent civilians who were caught in the middle. Some see it as necessity causalities. But to the others, it was something one can never forget. Then it was how both side of the straight treated those who fought so hard for their countries. Especially those who were injured. They were forgotten, or ignored, or turned a blind eyes on. A lot of them ended up living on the street or starved. Finally, we get to see part of the Great Terror from entirely different perspective. Those scenarios still happening even today, so it was quite easy for me to draw a handful of more recent example to compare them too. Also, the emotional turmoils on both Jack and Celeste was another interesting layers. Back when PTSD wasn't even a terminology and not many people know what exactly was going on, it was such a hard recovery to go through. All Jack knew (as most men knew) was to 'man it up' and carry on his life as normal. How hard would it be? As to Celeste, one single letter crushed the entire world she managed to built in her life, made her qustioning everything she know. Imagine the confusion, as well as the guilts she had inside her. It also made us question 'how well do you know those you loved?' All of those layers were facinating, all of those layers made me think as I turned pages and followed the quest the two clearly lovers embarked upon. And I must say, I am still thinking after finish the story. Five stars.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review. Well M&B have outdone themselves with the cover for this one - I'm really liking the idea of only having the hero on the cover for a change! Jack Trestain has recently left the army and is obviously suffering from the effects of what we now call PTSD. He left the army after the Battle of Waterloo, but it's not this event that haunts him. While recuperating at his brother's house he meets French artist Celeste Marmion wh I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review. Well M&B have outdone themselves with the cover for this one - I'm really liking the idea of only having the hero on the cover for a change! Jack Trestain has recently left the army and is obviously suffering from the effects of what we now call PTSD. He left the army after the Battle of Waterloo, but it's not this event that haunts him. While recuperating at his brother's house he meets French artist Celeste Marmion who challenges his past and future. She shakes him at least partly out of his deep depression back into some sort of action, and he in turn as a former code-breaker easily identifies that her somewhat mysterious past warrants further investigation. Both the hero and heroine have wounded backgrounds so are easily matched, and their attraction to one another which is introduced early on does keep the pages turning nicely. In fact, in some ways the heroine Celeste I felt took far more of a back seat to the point that the background mystery of her parentage wasn't really needed at all. To some extent I felt that Jack's PTSD, whilst identifiable wasn't really unique to him but identifiably a composite of real cases that had been put together. I do think that it was important however to use this for a character and bring the issues related to the mental health of soldiers out into the open. It also showed well the confusion of the families of these soldiers and their helplessness in the face of their problems. It was interesting to experience Celeste and her mother's painting and I always enjoy trying to identify paintings mentioned, but I did not engage so much with her relationship with her parents and they mystery of her father. When this was finally revealed I felt it was a little anti-climactic, as Celeste did not pursue that part of her family. She moved away apparently satisfied with what she knew. Perhaps this was enough for her to heal alongside Jack as he finally began to come to terms with the traumatic events of his army career and to look to the future. I liked Celeste's free way of living after her childhood and the fact that she had had lovers before she met Jack. Somehow this worked for her and allowed her to grow into the person that was attractive to Jack - plus Jack was not phased by her past and was suitably enlightened for his time. It was also a nice touch that Jack and Celeste spent some time apart to resolve their problems before coming together at the end - but don't expect a hasty marriage! A fairly minor thing, but though I liked the secondary characters of Jack's brother and sister in law and their country estate (and I was very glad the garden was saved!) I found Eleanor a little annoying - plus she was constantly referred to as Lady Eleanor which was incorrect title-wise. I guess this could be one of her affectations as she was a bit of a snob, but it did grate slightly for me. I also looked forward to finding out more about Finlay in the next volume of this series. I noted a couple of small printer errors/typos but this may be because I had an advance copy of the book. This is not a sweet romance, but visceral in places and makes the love story between the hero and heroine that much more satisfying because of it. Due to the subject matter it also has something of a 'hot house' feel whereby their relationship is played out without too many other characters or distractions and builds a satisfying intensity into the story. I enjoyed this book very much with its hero focus on a difficult subject, and I look forward to Comrades in Arms part two.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hilary Mack

    This book had me gripped from the moment I started reading. So much so, in fact, that I have a complaint. I intended to read a few chapters before bed each evening, but once I started, I could not stop and ended up sitting up all night to finish it – and I needed my sleep! Everything about it was exactly what I had been looking for: It hit that elusive target, being both a meticulously researched period drama and, at the same time, a very modern piece, relevant to our world today. I was with Jack This book had me gripped from the moment I started reading. So much so, in fact, that I have a complaint. I intended to read a few chapters before bed each evening, but once I started, I could not stop and ended up sitting up all night to finish it – and I needed my sleep! Everything about it was exactly what I had been looking for: It hit that elusive target, being both a meticulously researched period drama and, at the same time, a very modern piece, relevant to our world today. I was with Jack every step of the way, aching for this honourable man who was suffering not only the guilty torment of his war time memories, but also the angst of knowing that his loved ones were suffering because of him as well. PTSD is not a modern phenomenon, although its diagnosis is. How awful to have suffered from it in a world of stiff upper lips, where even had counselling existed, “real men” would have been branded cowards and worse if they had admitted a need for it. A week after finishing the book, I find myself still thinking about Jack and all he went through. I want to know more of him. On the face of it, at the start of the book, Celeste’s story seemed to pale in comparison with Jack’s. But as the pieces of her puzzle began to slot into place and the picture became clearer, it became apparent that hers was as strong and vital a journey as his. It was more than just the means to bringing about his healing, more than the McGuffin that brought her into his life. In fact, her story was strong enough to have carried the book without his. The only criticism I could give was that there was no way the reader could have the satisfaction of guessing correctly who she searched for, as that person was not even mentioned until the very end. Although, having mulled it over for days now, I can’t for the life of me see how they could have been made known any earlier in the story. This was, quite simply, one of the finest books I have read in a very long time. If the second book in this mini-series is half as good, we’re in for a treat. I have recommended this book to two friends already, and one of those people doesn’t normally read romance. That I believe she will enjoy this anyway is a testament to how good it really is.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amber Meller

    Interesting but full of people who don't know when to stop believe something and to rethink something until after everything has already been done. When everyone is still slightly bitter over what has happened, the majority willing to move on. Her mother showed her little physical love when she was growing up and her dad/step dad , who is burdened with her child sends her to a boarding school in Paris. She does hate her mother for agreeing to go through with it, but deep down they do both love e Interesting but full of people who don't know when to stop believe something and to rethink something until after everything has already been done. When everyone is still slightly bitter over what has happened, the majority willing to move on. Her mother showed her little physical love when she was growing up and her dad/step dad , who is burdened with her child sends her to a boarding school in Paris. She does hate her mother for agreeing to go through with it, but deep down they do both love each other, even if she doesn't realise it. It's only when she goes to England to stay with the family she's got a commission, in painting, does she feel like she is slowly being chipped at and slowly falls in love with the brother of the current Sir. Who helps her find out about her parents and where they came from, after being told, in her mother's death letter, that the man she thought was her dad wasn't actually her dad. He's trying to control his own emotions after seeing heavy fighting in the field as a lieutenant colonel in the British army. He was left with guilt for living when so many innocent people died, he is left demoralised after what he's seen. Yet he feels a stir in him when he meets her and she pretty much feels the same way. It's a rocky relationship and who doesn't have a rocky relationship with those around them?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sonya Heaney

    Originally posted HERE . This is the second full-length Marguerite Kaye book I’ve read, and I enjoyed this one more. I liked that both characters were a little imperfect and rough around the edges. Life had taken them both down some dark paths, so nobody was wide-eyed and innocent. Both characters in The Soldier’s Dark Secret seemed like real people, not just romance clichés. I liked that they were a bit worldly, and had all kinds of issues going on in their personal lives. Something that I stru Originally posted HERE . This is the second full-length Marguerite Kaye book I’ve read, and I enjoyed this one more. I liked that both characters were a little imperfect and rough around the edges. Life had taken them both down some dark paths, so nobody was wide-eyed and innocent. Both characters in The Soldier’s Dark Secret seemed like real people, not just romance clichés. I liked that they were a bit worldly, and had all kinds of issues going on in their personal lives. Something that I struggle with a little with this author’s writing is that the focus is so tightly, narrowly on the hero and heroine that it sometimes feels a bit claustrophobic. I tend to wish we could pull back a bit and see more of the world they’re living in, as almost all of the scenes feature hero and heroine alone. For me, usually a romance (especially a full-length book) needs to have “more” going on than just the romance itself. I did like this book, however. I read it over the Christmas season, and while I didn’t exactly race through it, I did like the tone, the characters and the slightly less perfect take on a very popular era. Review copy provided by NetGalley.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Marguerite's writing is captivating and emotional. The soldier in the portrait had been a respected and admired officer... The man he had become was fighting a different battle now. He had his demons, just as she had her ghosts. THE SOLDIER'S DARK SECRET by Marguerite Kaye is a very well written historical romance featuring two wounded characters. It is the first book in Marguerite's new Comrade in Arms series. It embraces quite a bit of heartbreak as the hero is fighting a nasty case of PTSD - t Marguerite's writing is captivating and emotional. The soldier in the portrait had been a respected and admired officer... The man he had become was fighting a different battle now. He had his demons, just as she had her ghosts. THE SOLDIER'S DARK SECRET by Marguerite Kaye is a very well written historical romance featuring two wounded characters. It is the first book in Marguerite's new Comrade in Arms series. It embraces quite a bit of heartbreak as the hero is fighting a nasty case of PTSD - though it is not yet a diagnosed condition at this point in history. No worries, though, as the angst is broken up by hilarity, romance and a covert history lesson making for quite the enjoyable read. Marguerite has taken the difficult subject of PTSD and poignantly interwoven it into a passionate, rewarding love story. I highly recommend THE SOLDIER'S DARK SECRET to anyone who enjoys a very good, deeply moving, well-researched historical romance. It should be an absolute must-read for history buffs. My full review is posted at Reading Between The Wines Book Club. Check it out here: http://www.readingbetweenthewinesbook... 4 Wine Glasses!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Boyd

    Ms. Kay is a favorite of mine but I struggled to connect with this story. Celeste received no love from either of her parents and it took years for her to figure out that her father was in fact not her father. Which explains his indifference but not her mother's. When that lady commits suicide, sending a note in the mail to Celeste first, it leaves Celeste with more questions than answers. Chance introduces her to officer Jack Trestain. Once one of the greatest code breakers of the Napoleonic war Ms. Kay is a favorite of mine but I struggled to connect with this story. Celeste received no love from either of her parents and it took years for her to figure out that her father was in fact not her father. Which explains his indifference but not her mother's. When that lady commits suicide, sending a note in the mail to Celeste first, it leaves Celeste with more questions than answers. Chance introduces her to officer Jack Trestain. Once one of the greatest code breakers of the Napoleonic wars Jack now suffers from sever PTSD. Shortly after meeting Celeste he learns of her unsolved mystery regarding her parentage and offers to learn what he can about her parentage. And of course, their journey of discovery turns into a discovery of mutual love and passion. I couldn't get interested in anything except figuring out who Celeste's parents were. Couldn't really engage with the characters so I guess I should simply say, it didn't really work for me. Nothing wrong with it, just lacked the spark that captures interest. #3 Anniversary Challenge

  26. 4 out of 5

    Wollstonecrafthomegirl

    This is a hard book to rate. To be honest three stars might be a bit much, but two would seem harsh. I didn't skim. There were aspects of this that worked for me. The plot ticked along. I liked the heroine, she seemed like a fully rounded adult and I liked that there was no angst about her non-virgin status. I love me a wounded hero, but there was nothing new in this depiction and Jack's willingness to use his problems to avoid a relationship was frustrating. It's the actual writing which brings This is a hard book to rate. To be honest three stars might be a bit much, but two would seem harsh. I didn't skim. There were aspects of this that worked for me. The plot ticked along. I liked the heroine, she seemed like a fully rounded adult and I liked that there was no angst about her non-virgin status. I love me a wounded hero, but there was nothing new in this depiction and Jack's willingness to use his problems to avoid a relationship was frustrating. It's the actual writing which brings the rating right down for me. Too many anachronisms. Too many eye twitch moments. Celeste muttering things under her breath. People don't really do that, certainly not whole long paragraphs of thoughts. In a novel it's completely unnecessary. Characters don't need to *say* things to convey them to the reader. To cap it all off, sex felt formulaic and rushed. So I suppose, overall, it was pretty alright, but could've been better.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Mcfall

    I love nothing more than damaged hero's. Marguerite Kaye has written another wonderful romance. If you didn't know better you would think that her wonderful stories magically appear. Jack a code breaker for Wellington during the Napoleonic wars returns home a broken man hanging up his uniform. Taking refuge from the outside world at his brothers estate he suffers from ptsd beautifully told from a historical point of view rather than allowing modern understanding to invade the story. Artist and our I love nothing more than damaged hero's. Marguerite Kaye has written another wonderful romance. If you didn't know better you would think that her wonderful stories magically appear. Jack a code breaker for Wellington during the Napoleonic wars returns home a broken man hanging up his uniform. Taking refuge from the outside world at his brothers estate he suffers from ptsd beautifully told from a historical point of view rather than allowing modern understanding to invade the story. Artist and our Heroine Celeste arrives to paint the estate, grief stricken at her mothers suicide she too has heartache and her own demons to over come. A slow burning romance where Jack and Celeste try and heal each other (i received a review copy of the book from the author)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Deirdre

    This is an excellent look at one of the officers in Wellington's army and the effect war has on him. Today we would say he suffers from PTSD but then they didn't understand what was going on. Jack Trestain is haunted by his memories and they have effected people around him, they don't know how to cope with him and only when French artist Celeste Marmion comes around does he find a path to some sort of peace. She isn't without her ghosts either and finding out the truth about her is a useful distr This is an excellent look at one of the officers in Wellington's army and the effect war has on him. Today we would say he suffers from PTSD but then they didn't understand what was going on. Jack Trestain is haunted by his memories and they have effected people around him, they don't know how to cope with him and only when French artist Celeste Marmion comes around does he find a path to some sort of peace. She isn't without her ghosts either and finding out the truth about her is a useful distraction for her. Well done, good research and interesting read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tabby Shiflett

    4.25-4.5 Stars A lovely and thoughtful historical romance set during the Napoleonic Era. The female MC is independent, intelligent, and an honest Frenchwoman. The leading man is a former British soldier suffering from PTSD. Both are wading through tragedy. Their romance is a slow-burn, but it gives the book a sense of authenticity. The storyline flows nicely. A beautiful love story. Net Galley Feedback

  30. 4 out of 5

    Faye Lawson

    What a destructive emotion guilt is! This book delves into the various ways and means guilt can manifest itself and the damage it can wreak! The author effectively examines one of the products of war--guilt, someone taking blame! This is also the first novel I have read that shines a less than flattering light on the Duke of Wellington. This book exposes an aspect of a hero and the hell one of the people who helped making him a hero was living through!!!

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