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Publisher's Summary

Against the scandal and seduction of Regency England, New York Times best-selling author Mary Balogh introduces an extraordinary family - the fiery, sensual Huxtables. Vanessa is the second daughter, proud and daring, a young widow who has her own reason for pursuing the most eligible bachelor in London. One that has nothing to do with love. Or does it?

The arrival of Elliott Wallace, the irresistibly eligible Viscount Lyngate, has thrown the country village of Throckbridge into a tizzy. Desperate to rescue her eldest sister from a loveless union, Vanessa Huxtable Dew offers herself instead. In need of a wife, Elliott takes the audacious widow up on her unconventional proposal while he pursues an urgent mission of his own. But a strange thing happens on the way to the wedding night. Two strangers with absolutely nothing in common can't keep their hands off each other. Now, as intrigue swirls around a past secret - one with a stunning connection to the Huxtables - Elliott and Vanessa are uncovering the glorious pleasures of the marriage bed...and discovering that when it comes to wedded bliss, love can't be far behind.

Need more romance? Listen to the rest of Mary Balogh's Huxtable Series.
©2009 Mary Balogh (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

A great introduction to the Quintet

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 Huxtable 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.

26 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • JuneDale
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 05-07-13

Totally insipid.

This was one of the most boring books I have listened to. I kept waiting for something to happen, but it never did. Awful.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Odie28
  • Issaquah, WA USA
  • 12-18-09

Painfully Bad

I cannot decide which I hated more: the plodding, pedantic narration or the plodding pedantic writing. I usually love Regency romances and I was looking forward to a series but this one is horrible and absolutely humorless. It is as if the Author tried to lengthen the book by stating the obvious over and over again -- And just in case you didn't get it the first time, she repeats what the characters are thinking a chapter later. No one can be as stupid in real life as the shallow characters Balough has concocted for this book. Save your money!! This book makes Georgette Hyer seem like Shakespeare.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

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Sort of like an occasional chocolate!

I got this on sale because it was a fun and light story with enough depth to not put me to sleep or make me laugh out loud at the simplicity of plot.
The writing is good.
The plot interesting with a few twists and turns.
Characters had some depth and development. Not your usual heaving bosoms and darkly handsome misunderstood and incredibly rich secretly wounded older and wiser artistocratic male lead. The female lead was smart and not a sweet young thing just waiting to be introduced to life.
The ending was happy.
What can I say, I read "hard stuff" but TV bores me and I occasionally like a good romance novel, sort of like snitching a chocolate candy now and then.
If you're going to indulge, this is a good choice and is worth your time. I was promised a good historical romance and I got one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Kristin
  • WA, United States
  • 05-27-13

I can't believe this book was rated so highly

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I don't like the narrators voice - too monotone.

Any additional comments?

I didn't like the story at all. Tried it for 45 minutes - but just couldn't continue.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Shari
  • whittier, CA, United States
  • 02-28-10

Austen meets Harlequin

Predictable, but enjoyable little romp through the English countryside and court. A little lust, a bit of snobbery and love conquers all.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Historical Romance

It is refreshing to read a good historical romance with much less explicit sex than we find in most. I do get tired of fast forwarding through the overabundance of that in most novels in this genre.

In this story I found fun characters and an interesting believable story, as well as a little mystery, which I expect will be further exposed in the balance of the books in the series.

The narration fit perfectly with the story.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Not only was the story slow, the main characters were unlikeable.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Obvious plot, sad side story

The narrator is great.You can figure out who will marry and who will fall in love in the first few pages. The side story line is sad for the person who has given up her life for the family. The author seems to have in in for a persons beauty and strong moral obligations. The main character is not a beauty, has a fortunate life by getting married to a person who is very good looking and from a good family, but dies a year later, still gets it all in the end, by taking it from the older sister who sacrificed herself even the love of her life for her family.Not worth listening. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS ONE!!

13 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Shallow & tedious

The whole story revolves around how unattractive she is in comparison to her siblings and the ton and how the miserable adonis is stuck with her. What a waste of a good credit.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • John
  • 05-23-11


Hoping for a Georgette Heyer type novel and was disappointed. Basically soft porn dressed up in a rather skimpy historical context... Written with modern speech patterns and a thin humourless plot with little detail of the time. The heroine had a very modern attitude to sex that was just wrong and an obsession about her 'plainness' that got really very boring after a while. Barbara Cartland did a better job.... and Georgette Heyer this is not. The narration was also underwhelming.

Talking of Georgette Heyer, I am waiting with bated breath for Venetia - unabridged please!

(female listener using boyfriend's account - John would not read a book like this!!)

3 of 5 people found this review helpful