The Darkest of Secrets (Harlequin Presents Series #3094)

The Darkest of Secrets - Kate Hewitt I'm having a great run of original, well-written Harlequin Presents lately -- seems like they've changed more than just their awful titles. This one also kind of plays with the genre conventions, which I love: Grace's past is right out of a traditional HP, except in her case, it worked out very badly. (As it almost certainly would in most real life cases.) When she meets Khalis, she's quite reasonably frightened of his inflexible, unforgiving attitude towards his harsh family, one of several challenges they have to overcome.I was vastly amused by the series blurb that accompanied this book: "When both are confronted with the pure caresses of innocent beauty, will they grasp their final chance at redemption?" There is a redemption theme, but calling Grace an innocent beauty is classic feeble publisher misdirection, since in fact she has behaved very badly by heroine lights -- in what's probably a first for HPs she: cheated on her husband -- and not even with the hero! Gasp!The angst in this story comes close to going over the top -- although the set-up is well done, the guilt and self-loathing Grace feels still seems excessive, as does Khalis's reaction to what she did. Also, what Grace goes through is so painful to contemplate, this almost ended up on my "too sad" shelf. More positively, a bit of a twist cleverly saves the story from seeming too much of a fairy tale, and except for one small point, the ending is a model of restraint. Recommended.