education pathways

Home » Book Review » The Valet’s Secret–class barriers to love

The Valet’s Secret–class barriers to love

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


The Valet’s Secret

by Josi S. Kilpack

When I started reading The Valet’s Secret, I realized it is a historical romance, not of the Jane Austen satirical variety, but one of romantic attraction thwarted by class differences. This is not my typical reading genre, and so it took a few chapters for me to get involved with the characters and their dilemmas. At that point I began to really care about the main characters.

Kenneth Winterton, while raised as a gentleman, had no expectations or training to be the future Earl of Brenton. When his cousin Edward dies suddenly, Kenneth is expected to prepare himself for his new role, including marrying someone from the local gentry. Thus begins round after round of entertainments to introduce him to suitable ladies. His heart has already been stolen by a chance encounter with Rebecca Parker, a widow living with an abusive, alcoholic father, helping him with his craft of silhouettes. Prior to her marriage, she had been “in service” as a maid. Kenneth and Rebecca are by status incompatible.

As the story moves towards its conclusion, the reader must certainly wonder how the couple could possibly marry. There are several dramatic twists; the actions of a few characters reveal their true motivations and scheming, and some even have a change of heart. The cover reflects the importance of silhouettes in the story, and the title reflects an early, light-hearted deception in the tale with serious consequences. By the end of The Valet’s Secret, I was convinced by this quick read that this genre and author deserve some more attention from me as I make future selections.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Shadow Mountain Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Romance

Publication: March 8, 2022—Shadow Mountain Publishing

Memorable Lines:

“The title precedes you into every room, every relationship, every decision. You do not think what is best for any individual—not even yourself—but what is best for the community affected by your status. Nothing comes above that responsibility. Nothing at all.”

…the thought that he would remain here, learning to live a life that was uncomfortable with a woman whom he did not know while waiting for an old man he loved to die, made him extremely sad.

How he hated this marriage mart he was hung within. So very much. The only viable solution to get out of it was, in fact, to marry.


  1. Gretchen says:

    I have heard good things about this author, but have not read anything she has written. I enjoy this time period. The idea of not being able to marry someone because they are beneath your station in life seems so foreign today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      I don’t think we have anything as strict as that, but I think it still exists informally with the long-time rich. They go to the right schools and date the right people, basically surround themselves with people with similar backgrounds and connections. You still hear of people making the “right” match. I think folks in the middle class are more fluid in their choices than that.


  2. dfolstad58 says:

    I love the language in books written from certain periods of history. Sherlock Holmes books and those written to carry on his character capture my imagination and I catch myself writing down the rich language. I am certain I would like this book for that reason. Thanks for sharing your discoveries.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. WendyW says:

    This sounds wonderful. I love a romance where you can’t figure out how the couple will ever get together, and that makes it more fun for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds interesting…I can not imagine having to marry a stranger or one you don’t love for the sake of the family/country/kingdom…how rigid life was is so fascinating and impossible for us who live so freely now, to understand! I do love historical fiction and reading about a bygone era…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      Jenna, it does seem strange to us, and makes me appreciate that things have changed, I really didn’t like the parade of women invited to dinners to show off their graces in hopes of a match.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nope, they could never make me marry someone I didn’t love. Thank you for another great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Carla says:

    Great review, Linda. How wonderful that you stumbled onto a different genre and ended up enjoying it. I do read Victorian or Regeancy Romance every now and then. Of course everything always works out for love, but I am sure it didn’t happen like that in real life. I am glad I didn’t live back then.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: