Mary Balogh is always exquisite in her writing style. Her dialogue is very refined and flows beautifully. This book served as an introduction to the H..Show More »uxtable family: eldest sister Margaret is beautiful and a nurturer, middle sister Vanessa is funny and plain, youngest sister Katherine is sweet and very pretty and their baby brother Stephen whom they are all looking after. The first book is the story of Vanessa and Lyndgate. They marry for convenience and then, this being a romance novel, fall in love. What I love about Balogh's characters is that they are flawed but very likeable and the siblings have a strong sense of loyalty and duty. What I found missing is the development of feelings between the 2 main characters. It lacked the depth of feelings that I found in Simply Love which was also about a couple marrying for convenience. I just felt that it was slightly rushed. I was also disappointed that Roz Landor was not the narrator. I just think she is the best for Regency Romance. Nevertheless, it was a good book and I can't wait to know what happens to the rest of the Huxtables, especially Meg and their cousin Con, the most complex and interesting character in the book. Of course, Mrs Balogh left him till the 5th and last book of the series. Get this one and the Simply series, you won't regret it.
Anne Flosnik is a wonderful narrator for the regency romance novel. She can make an average novel seem better. Mary Balogh's book 2 is so similar to..Show More » book 1, that I'm not sure there is a point to getting book 3.
The first 2 books of the series dealt with the stories of the 2 Huxtable sisters: Katherine and Vanessa. We've also been introduced to the eldest sist..Show More »er Margaret (Meg) who sacrificed her happiness to fulfill a promise she made on her father's deathbed when she was only 17 years old to raise her brother and sisters until they reached maturity. As a result, she tells her sweetheart at the time, Crispin Dew, that she will wait for him to return to her when he finishes his military service, only to find out accidentally that he married someone else and did not even bother to inform her himself. Book 3 is Meg's story and I am delighted to say (after giving 3 stars to the last book) that it has been the best one in the series so far. Duncan was a great match for the self sacrificing, compassionate, honorable and level headed Meg. He was also a cynic who no longer believed in love but was seeking to marry out of necessity. Their first exchange is one of the highlights of the book and carries Mrs Balogh's traditional signature humor and sarcasm. The main theme of their story was trust and being faithful to one's conscience in my opinion. This book featured what I have always expected of Mrs Balogh: humor, exquisite dialogue, sarcasm and lots of heart. The 2 villains were somewhat one dimensional, but the secondary characters (grandfather, Duncan's mom, Sir Ingraham and Tobby) were very likeable and had a lot of depth to them. Stephen has also matured in this book and we are obviously being prepped for his upcoming story. Yet, I cannot wait for Constantine's book because he is the most complex character in the series. If you are reading Mrs Balogh, please give us Con's story. To audible listeners, download this book and enjoy. You won't be disappointed.
This is the 4th book in the series and is Stephen's story. We were introduced to Stephen in the first book when he inherited the title of Earl of Mert..Show More »on at the age of 16. We watched him grow in book 2 and 3. This is his story and happy ending. In a strike of genius, Mrs Balogh has interconnected the Huxtable stories in a very unique way:
Book 1 - Vanessa proposes marriage to Elliott when they were pratically strangers
Book2 - Catherine is seduced by Jasper on their first encounter
Book 3 - Meg challenges Duncan to make her fall in love with him
And finally, in book 4, Cassandra offers to be Stephen's mistress on their first interaction. A little reverse psychology by Mrs Balogh!
Cassandra is the female version of Duncan, self sacrificing, compassionate and unjustly shunned by society. Her battered past turned her into a cynic about love. Desperate to survive and protect her female dependents, she decides to offer herself to Stephen as a mistress. Little did she know that if the Huxtables are about one thing, is their optimism and belief in love and family. Stephen and Cassy engage in a sexual relationship too soon, but it takes them on a journey where both earn the title of "angel". Book 4 was just as good as book 3 as this author never disappoints. The story comes full circle and ends with the same scene book 1 started with: Con talking to the soul of his dead brother in the graveyard. I emailed Mrs Balogh (isn't she the coolest author) and she informed me that Con's story "Taming the Devil" is due out June 2010. I just can't wait.
I'm not certain why this only got a one star rating, but I enjoyed it quite thoroughly - as I always seem to do, with Mary Balogh's novels! I confess..Show More » that I was awaiting a match for "Con" (a character type I particularly enjoy) -- and that made it all the more exciting. I wonder if the reviewer did not care for the slightly stylized rendition that Anne Flosnik offers. When the story is good, though, she gives it "front stage" and allows it to shine on its own merit. Additionally, her tone is well suited to the dry, urbane humor that marks Balogh's works. I give it a four + -- probably mostly to allow a bit of room in case I need a future five -- and recall thinking that this is one I'll want to "read" again!!!