May 2 2016 2:15pm

Secret Keeper Shelf: The Best Kept Secret Identities in Romance

Temptation of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh

Today we're thrilled to welcome author Eva Leigh to the site. Eva's recent release of Temptation of a Wallflower came out on April 26 and features a hero and heroine who have been keeping secrets from each other—big secrets! We love a good secret (in romance) and Eva is here to talk about some of the most memorable secret-keepers in romance! Thanks, Eva!

P.S. SPOILER warning: In case the title didn't make it obvious, secrets will be revealed—that means spoilers will abound too, read with caution!

Is there anything more delicious than a secret identity? We have been obsessed with secret selves for hundreds of years—from The Scarlet Pimpernel to Batman, we love to watch a hero or heroine keep their true identity hidden, especially from their loved ones. When will the secret come out? What will happen when the truth is discovered?

Naturally, when thinking of a romance character with a secret identity, I can’t help but think of Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series. In 18th century London, a masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles prowls the streets, righting wrongs and protecting the innocent. I won’t spoil the books to reveal just which character (or characters) dons the mask each night. If you’re looking for a very hot, deeply addicting series, then look no further.

Sherry Thomas’s His at Night also features a hero who isn’t precisely what he seems. Everyone thinks Lord Vere is handsome but empty-headed, including Elissande. When Vere and Elissande enter into a marriage of convenience, she has no idea that her scatterbrained husband is actually a brilliant spy.  Thomas has long been one of my favorite authors, both for her excellent writing and her willingness to look at the difficulties that arise when trying to maintain a romantic relationship.

SEE ALSO: Heroes in Disguise & the Heroines
Who Love Them

Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas

Heroes aren’t the only characters assuming different identitites. In Lisa Kleypas’s Married By Morning, Catherine Marks hides from her past by assuming the role of an unassuming ladies’ companion. Fortunately, Leo Hathaway is able to see past her disguise to see the passionate woman beneath. Kleypas is one of historical romance’s shining voices. You can’t do better than reading her books.

And I can’t mention secret identities without mentioning the classic Jude Deveraux romance, The Raider. Alexander Montgomery is known as the overweight, drunk town fool—but few suspect that beneath his padding and pretend drunkenness is the daring patriot known as the Raider. Stubborn Jessica Taggert doesn’t realize that the man she loves is also the man she hates. It’s a tumultuous ride as the two navigate the path to a lasting love. When talking of the stars of modern romance novels, Jude Deveraux is a must-read.

In my Temptations of a Wallflower, both the hero and the heroine keep secrets from each other. He doesn’t tell her that he’s in search of the author who pens erotic novels under a pseudonym, and she doesn’t reveal to him that she is the author of those novels. And when the two get married, their secret identities now have the power to destroy their growing love.

What are your favorite secret identity romances?


Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Temptation of a Wallflower by Eva Leigh, available now:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes

Buy at IndieBound



Eva Leigh is the pen name of a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the '80s. Eva and her husband live in Southern California.


Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
Sarah MacLean's Chase gave her hero a merry...well, chase.
2. Kareni
And Lisa Kleypas' Love In The Afternoon has Beatrix writing to the hero while (unhappily) pretending to be her friend Prudence. A secret plus letters equals a winner!
Laura Bracken
3. Night -owl
@HeatherWaters Chase is my favourite(just for the shock factor alone). I never figured it out, and I loved that :-)

@Kareni I agree(I love, love that book!).

I also loved the secret identity of Julia Quinn's Lady Whisledown.
Jennifer Proffitt
4. JenniferProffitt
@Kareni, It's been AGES since I read that book, now I have to go hunt it up!
5. Janga
Kleypas has used variations of secret identity several times. Other novels that would find a place on my list include my favorite Balogh book, Lord Carew's Bride, Mary Jo Putney's The Rake and One Perfect Rose, Judith Ivory's Beast, Jo Beverly's St. Raven and A Lady's Secret, Anne Gracie's To Catch a Bride, and Julie Anne Long's debut book, The Runaway Duke. Despite the controversy, I also like Eloisa James's The Taming of the Duke, which gives the trope a twist, and I'm a huge fan of Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series for which secret identities are central. I'll stop with these, but I guess you can tell I enjoy secret identity books. :)
6. Kareni
After further thought, Sherry Thomas' Delicious also has a bit of a secret identity as the hero is not fully aware of the heroine's identity throughout much of the story.

And Joanna Bourne's Spymaster's Lady has the hero assuming a different identity partway through the story.
7. NadineGrech
Another one that has the heroine with a secret identity is An Offer From a Gentleman, third book of Julia Quinn's Bridgertons series. I especially love, love, love heroine with a secret identity! I prefer it more than when it's the hero with the secret identity. I would LOVE to read more of the type but I can't seem to find a lot. I won't mind if it's contemporary romance as well, even though HR is my ultimate favourite! Do you have more recommendations please? Thank you!
8. willaful
Nadine, _Beguiling the Beauty_ by Sherry Thomas is one with a heroine. I wrote about it and other lovers in disguise here:
9. willaful
P.S. I'm reading The Wicked Duke by Madeline Hunter and the heroine has a secret identity as a reporter. I'm not that far in, so I don't know if this will cause a conflict with the hero or not, but I suspect it might.
10. MaryK
What's the name of the MacLean "Chase" book?

Hopefully I'll remember to check back and see if anyone answers because I've no idea what my login is for this site.
Post a comment