Thursday, July 4, 2013

Liza Reviews The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh

Today I'm reviewing 
The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh
Ella Quinn

I took to Ella Quinn's writing style right off in her debut novel The Seduction of Lady Phoebe. Ella has a penchant for strong independent female characters. Her first book soothed me much the way Jane Austen's writings do. 

One Big Difference 'tween Ella Quinn and Jane Austen

However, there is one major difference between Jane's and Ella's writing: Once engaged, Ella's heroines are not inclined to wait for the marriage day to explore their love, so the sex scenes are far beyond what Jane wrote.  

Mathematically that would be represented: XXX>0

This is not to say sex did not incur after engagements in the 1800's. It simply means an unmarried woman such as Jane Austen would never discuss such matters in a public document and would certainly never admit to knowing any specifics in the matter.

The scene below was painted by a man (Eugene Delacroix) in 1827 who was inspired by one of Lord Byron's plays.   Rather shocking, is it not?
(Nor does it make a great deal of sense when you study it close. One of the 'women' looks like a guy with breasts.) Opps, I've gotten distracted. 

My point is some people (men) where allowed to allude to friskiness, but women, especially unmarried ones, were not.

Modern day, married Ella Quinn does not have those constrictions placed upon her. So once engaged (which unlike today, came with onerous contracts that made it's dilution very difficult)  Ella's characters are decidedly frisky. 

More so in Book 2 than Book 1.
I blame that entirely on the characters.
These two are incredibly self-determined.

Writing a review about The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh presents several difficulties due to all those secrets I can't tell you about without diminishing the impact of surprises that keep popping up all through the book. 

Seriously, Anna Marsh's carriage would require giant spoiler alerts on her carriage wheels if I were to attempt to tell you about all my favorite moments. 
 (That's my attempt to put a spoiler alert on a carriage. It's red for "Alert" and it's a spoiler-sort of.)

This review is really hard!!!

Let me share the basics mentioned in the blurb.
Anna Marsh has been in love with Sebastian Rutherford since she was a young girl. Sebastian had long ago decided he'd marry Anna once she matured. When he finally attempts to court Anna after ignoring her for many years, she shuts him down, for she is no longer the young girl he remembers. She has stepped up and taken her deceased brother's place in certain activities that would ruin her if discovered. A match between them will no longer do. She is nothing like the type of woman Sebastian says he wants for a wife.

The first part of the story enchants us as they discover and fall in love with the person they’ve each become. Still Anna clings to her secret life as long as she can, certain the revealing the truth will drive him off or diminish her life.

Thereafter, the story becomes one of constant surprises, all enriching the plot. None of which I can share.
(that's a stand in for me--finding a pleasant natured dog muzzled is much easier than finding pics of me muzzled. And if you feel bad for this doggy, (I do) then feel bad for me too. I soooo want to talk about all that occurred in this fascinating story. )

I will say there is never a dull moment in the story. It keeps you enchanted to the very end. But that's all I can say, grrrrrrrrrr.

So let me talk about Ella. 

Ella Quinn has a wonderful writing style and the ability to weave a captivating and intriguing story. She endows her heroines with extraordinary intelligence, confidence, self-determination and competence.

Absolutely nothing a young lady coming out should be. From my understanding, they were to be a blank slate, pliable and without personality so the husband could impose his thoughts and opinions into his young bride's tiny, inferior brain.

Yet, Ella's characters do not fear they are exactly what men do not want. Nor are they desperate to marry. They will have a love marriage or none at all. 

I strongly recommend this Regency book for anyone who wants to have a delightful read where the lady is as intelligent and strong willed as the gentleman and she will not be contained by rules of conduct when her body and soul finds her true love. 
 This book gets 5 stars.

Another delightful book by Ella Quinn. 
These are keepers.

Pre-Buy Links for The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh:


  1. Great review, Liza and congrats, Ella!

  2. Great and fun review. You have my curiosity up about the carriage scenes.

    1. Then I have misled you with my love of pictures. The carriage came about when I interviewed the book last month. Books have to arrive, so I had a carriage bring the book.

      Then when I started thinking about all the spoiler alerts I'd have to provide if I actually discussed why I like the book, I got the idea of retrieving said carriage and putting a mustang spoiler on it's backside.

      There are no sexapades in the carriage. But trust me, you won't miss it.

    2. LOL, I think Liza and Anna had some rough moments.

  3. Loved your witty review,Liza!

    1. Thanks. Would this be Carol who just wrote her own review. My Investigative peep says you are.

      A reviewer thinks I'm witty! How cool is that! Much better than strange, weird, and other adjectives I feared.

  4. Congratulations on a good job of a very difficult review, Liza. And it is a fabulous book!

    1. Mega thanks go to you, Jenna, for your beta read!!

    2. I wouldn't lie and make people read terrible books. The reason I only seem to write 5 star reviews is because I'm very busy and can only read a few books, so I'm very selective as to what I'll read in the first place. I find that by selecting only great writers to read, I'm in for a great read.

  5. LOL, excellent review. And your review did what any good review should--it made me need--not want--but NEED to read this book.

    1. Really? I feared it was a jumbled mess given I couldn't tell you why you really really need to read this book.

  6. Liza thank you for your lovely review. I do know how hard it was for you not to reveal all the secrets.

  7. Another excellent review, Ella! How awesome to be compared to Jane - but with hot scenes. Sounds like a keeper! Can't wait to read it.

    1. Yeah, maybe I should just say that. Jane Austen with sexapades.
      That explains things without all those pesky details.

    2. Thank you, Heather. It really is an honor to be compared with Jane Austen!!

  8. Yay on the great review, Ella. I've told you this before but it bears repeating. I LOVE the cover!!!


    1. But Sebastian's head is cut in two. That's rather harsh, I think. Yes he began presumptuous. But he improved greatly with Anna scolding him into shape.


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