Hidden Affections is an enjoyable Historical Fiction book by Delia Parr. It begins, "Annabelle Tyler may have hoped she would marry again someday, but she never dreamed she would be wearing handcuffs during the ceremony when she did." Annabelle found herself married to a cad, Eric Bradley who simply married Annabelle for the small inheritance she received when her parents died. He used that money to woo a wealthier woman and returned to tell Annabelle that he was divorcing her.
Being a divorced woman in the 1830's was quite shocking and brought much ridicule to her already lonely life. Annabelle fled her home to try to begin anew. While on the way to a new job, the stage is robbed and the robbers handcuff Annabelle to a well known womanizer, Harrison Graymoor. Left alone to fend for themselves, they try to remove the handcuffs and end up wounding Harrison in the attempt. It begins snowing and the handcuffed couple end up huddled together trying to stay warm.
The next morning the sheriff of a nearby town find the two sleeping side by side and knowing Harrison's reputation, assumes the worse. The sheriff forces the two to wed, hoping to save Annabelle's reputation (unaware that she is divorced). Harrison assures Annabelle that his lawyer will quickly have the marriage annulled and no one will be the wiser.
Yet when they finally arrive at his expansive home, they find their marriage has been publicized in the Philadelphia Inquirer. They decide that they must put on a charade of being a happily married, newlywed couple until the annulment can be obtained. The two move to Harrison's country home outside of town and must convince the godly, perceptive, head housekeeper that they are happily married.
In the progression of the story you see both Harrison and Annabelle begin to mature as they deal with all the difficulties thrown their way. The story is quite predictable, yet is still a good read for a rainy day. (If only we could get that rain!!)
I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars.
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