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My Secret Yankee

Fallen Angel Reviews    Coffee Time Romance    Cupid's Library    The Scary Reviewer    MeriBeth McCombs    Wanda Horton


~Fallen Angel Reviews, On-line Review Magazine

from Reviewer Janean
March, 2005

Rating: 5 Angels (highest rating)

Angele Valmont is a very unusual Confederate woman. While other Southern young ladies were learning to sew, she was learning about the shipping industry. After her father’s death, she has handled the shipping business for her sister Charlie and her cousins. Angele is a strong and independent woman who is very disgusted with Union General Butler’s General Order 28. The order states “when any woman of New Orleans shall by word, gesture, or movement insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation”.

While out one day in town, Angele is assaulted by some Union soldiers, who think because of General Order 28 they may do anything they want to the women of New Orleans. To her surprise a Yankee, Major James Darling, saves her. Although Angele tries to ignore her feelings for James, she just cannot do it. Like a moth to a flame, Angele is drawn to James, Yankee or not.

For James, Angele is like a cool drink of water on a hot steamy New Orleans day. She is a lady who is very strong and generous. He is very smitten right from the start and cannot get her out of his mind. She is like a magnet, pulling him to her and James does not wish to ever leave her side.

Angele knows well she and James cannot have a public relationship due to the scandal it would cause her family. The Valmonts have had more than their share of scandal and Angele will not allow any new scandal to ruin the social coming out of her sister Charlie. Will Angele and James be able to find happiness? Or will the rules of New Orleans’ society keep them apart forever?

This is one amazing love story that will take readers on an emotional adventure of the heart. I was so immersed into the lives of these fascinating people that I could not put the book down even once. T.D. McKinney and Aimee Masion take you right into the middle of the Civil War. You will learn about the hardships both sides faced. You will see first hand how strong and brave these Southern women were while still being very much ladies! I am hoping for a sequel to see what happens to Charlie and the cousins. I am looking forward to reading more of Ms. McKinney’s and Ms. Masion’s soul–searing and heart-wrenching books! This duo definitely has a winner in My Secret Yankee.


~Coffee Time Romance, On-line Review Magazine

from Reviewer Gen Thomas
January, 2005

Rating: 5 Cups (highest rating) - Very Rare, Extraordinary Read

The Valmont family is a corner stone of the Creole community in New Orleans but has always flirted with scandal and Angele Valmont is no exception; but, they are facing the biggest yet. The war is casting its dark shadow over the Valmont family and secrets and switching loyalties are threatening to be its downfall.

The Yankees are destroying the once genteel way of life that the people of the South held dear. They may not be able to fight back, but they can make the Yankees as unwelcome as possible and Major James Darling is feeling it keenly. An encounter with Angele Valmont changes his opinion of a real southern welcome and he falls deeply in love with her. Angele is more than aware that society would never accept a match between a southern lady and a Yankee Major. Her sister Charlie’s come out year is underway and she is terrified that her actions will jeopardize her sister’s chances of a good marriage. Charlie Valmont has her own ideas and has set her sights on a possibly even more scandalous match, her disowned childhood sweetheart Wesley Leighton.

Séverin Valmont is determined that his cousins take their rightful place in society and will not approve their choices no matter what the cost to their hearts. However Angele finds her passion for James will not be denied and she flouts convention and takes him as her lover, and then marries him in secret. When James’ long forgotten transfer request to join troops at the front is granted, he leaves Angele with the promise that he will return to care for his family. Weeks later Angele is devastated when she hears news of his death and realizes it is too late for her to show the world how much she loved him.

My Secret Yankee was a joy to read. It is rich in historical detail without being over powering. In fact, the attention to detail gives real depth to the characters and the plot and really brings New Orleans to life. Although the plot pivots on the love affair between Angele and James, it is complimented by the long standing relationship of Séverin and his lover Antoine and their constant tap dancing to keep their love on the right side of respectable, as well as the emerging romance of Wes and Charlie. The reticence of Angele to acknowledge her relationship with James could be a huge obstacle for the character to gain any sympathy. However, Ms. McKinney and Ms. Masion draw such a vivid description of society and its restrictions you cannot help but feel her and the agony she goes through when she realizes her mistake of not publicly acknowledging her love for James.

This book is both uplifting and heart wrenching at different times, with even a few sparks of humour thrown in. I only wish Wes and Charlie and Séverin and Antoine had books of their own.


~Cupid's Library Reviews, On-line Review Magazine

from Reviewer Marina
July, 2005

Rating: Cupid Plot Factor 4.5  Cupid Pleasure Factor 3.5

In the midst of the Civil War, New Orleans is occupied by the Union Army and slowly but surely the Confederate Army is being beaten and broken. Under General Strong's decree the women of New Orleans are deemed whores and are to be treated as such by the Union soldiers. Angele Valmont unfortunately gets the results from this decree when three Union soldiers accost her on her way home. Her virtue and sanity are saved by Major James Darling rushing to her side and protecting her. This action leads to a very quick to spark attraction and an affair between the two. Their affair is one that causes the two such glorious moments of passion and ecstasy, yet has to be kept secretive and behind closed doors. Likewise Angele's cousin and her step sister each have love affairs that have to be kept secretive and out of public consumption for fear of public scrutiny and reaction. These three couples all go through the bitterness, pain, and loss that their scorned love affairs cause, yet for all of them their shared love is worth all the strife if they can maintain the secrecy. With the added strain of loss of life because of the war and the lack of resources this family and their lovers go through tumultuous times irregardless of their love that may tear them apart if the city they love falls into ruins as well as their livelihood.

This is truly what a historical romance aspires to be. It is so richly descriptive about Civil War New Orleans and the people inhabiting it that even the minutest of detail is discussed with clarity and insight. It is a bit overwhelming to start at 300 plus pages, but once the story grabs hold of you the pages fly by and you are fully immersed in the story and feel kinship to each and every character. Each of the six main characters in this book are so unique and their stories so interesting it is a wonder this novel is not far longer or broken into three volumes for each pair's love story. Angele and James are by far the two central characters and their story is fantastic. The love they share for one another is written so well and their joy and pain become your joy and pain. This is not a novel with highly sexual scenes, it is a romance with tender but few love scenes, so if you are looking for erotica this is not your book. I would classify this book as in the style of historical romances by Heather Graham and Judith McNaught. You will find rich detail intermixed with true historical events and people, as well as, pull at your heart moments between all the characters. I truly enjoyed this book and learned quite a bit about the Civil War and New Orleans.

This definitely is a heart-warmer of a story with some teeth and characters you believe in and want to see happy. Well done!


~The Scary Reviewer, On-line Review Blog

Genre: Suspense/Intrigue
February 8, 2005

Rating: 5/5  (highest rating)

A history lesson hidden inside a romance novel... that's the best description I can give to My Secret Yankee by T. D. McKinney and Aimée Masion. This book is Ms. McKinney's second and Ms. Masion's first. It's also the first collaboration for each writer, yet you'd never notice it from the writing. My Secret Yankee defies a true classification, it's not really a history book nor is it solely romance novel. With a wide and varied cast, three vastly different romances happening simultaneously, this novel is more a 'family saga' then a romance novel. The primary focus though is on the love affair of Angele Valmont

For Angele Valmont, the occupation of New Orleans by the Union Army brought a million changes. For a woman of the Confederacy, nothing could be more difficult than falling in love with a Yankee, could it? Ah, but there are indeed more difficulties for the fair Angele. She must present a scandal-free public persona in order to protect her younger sister's reputation thereby putting a horrible strain on her affair with Union Major James Darling.

As a member of the occupying army, Major James Darling was persona non grata in Confederate-sympathetic New Orleans. Still, he wasn't about to allow a lady, even a Southern one, be assaulted by the soldiers of the Union Army determined to take advantage of General Butler's General Order 28. Discovering that the woman he'd saved was the same one who'd fascinated him on his first day in the city was a very pleasant surprise. For Major Darling, Angele Valmont is a breath of freshness amongst the festering heat and hatred of New Orleans.

It’s obvious from the first page that both authors took the time to meticulously research the history of New Orleans during the Civil War era, or as Angele would put it, the War of Northern Aggression. The history blends in seamlessly with the various love stories forming a very rich tapestry of a book. In addition to the primary story, that of Angele Valmont and James Darling, there’s the courtship of Charlie Valmont by Wesley Leighton, a Southern gentleman fighting for the Union Army, and the long-standing romance between Séverin Valmont and Antoine Brouillette, a romance that constantly hovers on the edge of scandal. My Secret Yankee dances a fine edge between love and hate, happiness and depression, and leaves you breathless for more by the end.

My only regret with regard to this book is the fact that you are left hanging with regard to the fates of some characters. I would dearly love a sequel to the novel, exploring the future of the Valmont/Darling/Leighton families as the war progesses. Though marketed as a stand-alone novel, it is my opinion that My Secret Yankee is, perhaps, better viewed as the first in a series of novels about these familes. Here's hoping that Ms. McKinney and Ms. Maison revisit these fascinating characters at a future date.


~ MeriBeth McCombs
Professional Reviewer,
May 19, 2004

In the grand tradition of Janet Dailey and Nora Roberts, My Secret Yankee is a delightfully rich tapestry of life in occupied New Orleans. Ms. McKinney and Ms. Mason take the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotion as they introduce us to the Valmont family. Wealthy Creole aristocrats, they love where they will regardless of scandal. While Angele Valmont and Major James Darling's romance may be the centerpiece of the story, they share the screen delightfully with Charlie Valmont's more proper courtship by Captain Wesley Leighton. Add in Severin Valmont and his deliciously scandalous liaison with Antoine Broullette and you wonder just who's proper and who's not.


Still, I long for a second novel, for while all's well and good, a war still rages, the major and the captain are still in the military, too many things could ruin the Valmont happiness. I want another novel about this lovely family, just to be assured that things stay well.



~Wanda Horton,

President "North Texas Professional Writers Association"
Charter Member "Pulpwood Queens of Tarrant County,"
28 September, 2004


Slightly wicked, deliciously lovely, My Secret Yankee begins with the proclamation from Major-General Benjamin Butler’s heinous General Order # 28 posted to Angele Valmont’s house. The genteel society of New Orleans’ Creole upper crust unfolds in a glamorous tale of love, honor and deception. Major James Darling of the Union Army learns the torment of loving Angele, a beautiful Rebel, while the war rages around them.

This is a “must-read” for Civil War buffs and romance lovers alike.





Copyright © 2006 T.D.McKinney. All Rights Reserved.