The Secret Swan

The Secret Swan - Shana Abe 23yo heroine lies to her estranged husband of 8yrs & tells him that his wife recently died & she is her wife's cousin. She lies to him b/c she wants to be free from the burden of being his ignored wife. Hero readily believes her, having not seen his wife in 8 yrs & having married her only a few weeks before he left for war. He is gravely saddened & disappointed about his wife dying b/c he was looking forward to being present for her this time around. It doesn't take Hero long to become attracted to now-beautiful heroine who scorns him for wanting her now that she doesn't look plain anymore. Their strained interactions continue as they travel toward Hero's castle. Hero plans reclaim his title that his younger brother has held since they thought he died. But it's not as easy as Hero thinks b/c his younger brother does his damnedest to get back his title, even if it means uncovering the truth about heroine.

This was an emotionally-involving book. It was angtsy, with heroine suffering her love in silence while Hero ignored her & Hero coming back from looking forward to having a better marriage with his wife & finding her dead. I wished Abe filled in some important blanks & made the main characters discuss what they went through in the past (their early marriage, Hero's imprisonment, heroine's isolated life while waiting for Hero to come back) to make this book a more stronger read. It's set in the medieval times but written with a more contemporary language, which I prefer. The sexual chemistry & 2 sex scenes were good. I liked that both main characters showed emotional maturation during their 8 years apart. Again, it would've been better if they discussed some major factors that affected their growth. I, as a reader, don't know what made Hero have a drastic change of heart about the heroine, whom he largely ignored before he went to war. Hero should've been made to grovel more too. I would especially liked it if Hero suffered some for the pain he caused heroine when he called her some other woman's name after the 1st time they had sex.

Overall, I recommend this book for its angtsy romance. But beware of unexplained changes b/w their early marriage & reunion.