Tag Archives: Mary Balogh

Review- Someone To Love by Mary Balogh

Someone To Love

Title: Someone To Love (Westcotts Book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Berkley, Nov. 2016

Source: Purchase

Pages: 398

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Humphrey Westcott, Earl of Riverdale, has died, leaving behind a fortune that will forever alter the lives of everyone in his family—including the daughter no one knew he had…   Anna Snow grew up in an orphanage in Bath knowing nothing of the family she came from. Now she discovers that the late Earl of Riverdale was her father and that she has inherited his fortune. She is also overjoyed to learn she has siblings. However, they want nothing to do with her or her attempts to share her new wealth. But the new earl’s guardian is interested in Anna…   Avery Archer, Duke of Netherby, keeps others at a distance. Yet something prompts him to aid Anna in her transition from orphan to lady. As London society and her newfound relatives threaten to overwhelm Anna, Avery steps in to rescue her and finds himself vulnerable to feelings and desires he has hidden so well and for so long.

***

Leave it to Mary Balogh to make the Regency era come alive with what feels like true characterization of people of the times.  The orphanage is not a horrid place ala Dickens, it is where our heroine grew up in poverty but surrounded by caring people.  The aristocracy is portrayed with an all-encompassing entitlement and blood lines be damned if you are found to be illegitimate. Our hero, or perhaps he is an anti-hero, is short, slender, “angelic” looking and yet he exudes an aura of danger and power.  The Westcott family is outraged by the turn of events and yet our heroine, Anna (Anastasia), maintains her dignity throughout.

The romance is subtle and more like friendship at first.  There is not any strong attraction only mild interest on both sides.  I was wondering why Anna wasn’t more attracted to Alexander the new Earl instead of The Duke.  There is a rather huge character dump in the beginning of this book and keeping everyone straight was difficult even with the family tree in the front of the book.  This is not one of my favorite books of Ms. Balogh but I did like it, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series, SOMEONE TO HOLD, especially since I now think I have all the characters straight.

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Two fer One Review- The Temporary Wife and The Promise of Spring by Mary Balogh

Title: The Temporary Wife/The Promise of Spring (two novels in one volume)

The Temporary Wife Promise of Spring

Genre: Historical Romance/ Regency

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Dell, 2012 (reissue of books published in 1990 & 1997)

Source: Purchase , available for Kindle and Paperback

Rating: 5/3

Sexy Rating: 5/5

Description from Amazon.com:

THE TEMPORARY WIFE

Miss Charity Duncan has no illusions about Lord Anthony Earheart’s proposal. The arrogant aristocrat has made it painfully clear what he wants: a wife who will enrage the father he despises and then disappear from his life. In exchange, Charity’s family will receive the money they desperately need. But after Charity agrees to this mockery of matrimony, she soon discovers a startling fact: She has fallen for Anthony, and breaking their marriage vows may also break her heart.

Deet’s review 5 glorious stars:

Grab a hold of the tissue box, this is a very emotional novel as only the inimitable Ms. Balogh can deliver. We are handed a marriage of convenience between a damaged Rake and a down on her luck governess. Throw in a belligerent Duke and a frosty homecoming and we have Balogh at her finest. Originally published in 1997 it is one of my favorite books by this author. When we are first introduced to Anthony we don’t like him very much. He is beyond haughty arrogance, bitter and wreaks of anger. On the other hand Charity is very likable right from the start with her intelligence, wit and sunny disposition. She also knows what will save her family from poverty. The story of love unfolds in spite of the efforts by the H/h to hold it at bay. This is a dream of a book and I definitely recommend it for all romantics.

****

Description from Amazon.com:

A PROMISE OF SPRING

Grace Howard has every reason to be devoted to Sir Peregrine Lampman. After all, the gallant gentleman rescued her from poverty by making her his bride. Even more nobly, he did not withdraw his affection after she confessed to a youthful folly that had compromised her virtue. But Grace did not tell the whole truth about the handsome lord who betrayed her—and now the one thing she’s kept from Perry threatens to destroy her last chance at true love.

**

Deet’s Review 3 okay stars:

Grace is fond of Perry, perhaps she even loves him. Perry is all that is charming, amiable and easy going. He loves Grace. Maybe not at first but it didn’t take him long. Why then is Grace even giving Lord Sander-whoever the time of day? I was so annoyed with Grace’s dilly-dally, maybe yes-maybe no, that it took some of the enjoyment from this book that had a good premise and Mary Balogh’s signature character development. Perry was such a paragon of all that was good, understanding and sensible that I just wanted him to sit Grace down and tell her to quit her wishy-washy complaining. This is an older woman younger man romance but Grace tried her best to destroy their relationship over and over by her thinking she was too old for Perry. So, no, I wasn’t thrilled with this book, but I can’t say it wasn’t well written and delivered on plot points.

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Recent Release Review- Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh

Title: Only Enchanting (Survivor’s Club #4)

Only Enchating

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Penguin Group

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

The Survivors’ Club: Six men and one woman, all wounded in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendship forged during their recovery at Penderris Hall in Cornwall. Now, in the fourth novel of the Survivors’ Club series, Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, has left this refuge to find his own salvation—in the love of a most unsuspecting woman.… Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, was devastated by his fiancée’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back—and everyone is eager to revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of a most sensible yet enchanting young woman. Agnes Keeping has never been in love—and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage. When Agnes discovers that the proposal is only to avenge his former love, she’s determined to flee. But Flavian has no intention of letting his new bride go, especially now that he too has fallen so passionately and so unexpectedly in love.

**

Mary Balogh can weave a web that captures the reader and refuses to release until the last page is read. Flavian was wounded by a gunshot to the head in the War. It took him a long time to recover but still he has blanks where memories should be. Agnes is widowed three years from a husband she admired but never loved. These two meet at a country ball then not again for several months and then fate conspires to throw them into each other’s company on several occasions. This does sound like many other historical romance plots but don’t be too hasty. There are twists and surprises and revelations.

Mary Balogh has penned an intriquing and absorbing romance. I highly recommend this for all historical romance divotees.

 

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Recent Release Review- The Escape by Mary Balogh

Title:  The Escape

The Escape

 Genre:  Historical Romance

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Random House, Dell, July 1, 2014

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

In this poignant novel of longing and salvation, a hopeful widow and a resilient war hero discover the promise of love’s magic and new beginnings.   After surviving the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Benedict Harper is struggling to move on, his body and spirit in need of a healing touch. Never does Ben imagine that hope will come in the form of a beautiful woman who has seen her own share of suffering. After the lingering death of her husband, Samantha McKay is at the mercy of her oppressive in-laws—until she plots an escape to distant Wales to claim a house she has inherited. Being a gentleman, Ben insists that he escort her on the fateful journey.   Ben wants Samantha as much as she wants him, but he is cautious. What can a wounded soul offer any woman? Samantha is ready to go where fate takes her, to leave behind polite society and even propriety in her desire for this handsome, honorable soldier. But dare she offer her bruised heart as well as her body? The answers to both their questions may be found in an unlikely place: in each other’s arms. Includes Mary Balogh’s charming short story, “The Suitor.”

**

Mary balogh is right up there in my Top-10 Historical Romance authors.  She does not disappoint with this new book in the Survivor’s Club series.  She has the ability to evoke emotion and drama pertinent to the era with a lyrical mastery. This is not a quick read; it starts out slow but keeps us riveted to the plot. Her characters are complex with differing facets to their personalities.  There is Samantha’s understandable reluctance to give up her freedom, her fears and her ambivalence about her feelings for Ben. Ben is still struggling to find himself after his war ordeals and the aftermath, leaving him insecure in his manhood. Their romance is inevitable but society and their own fears intrude to keep them apart.

I highly recommend this book to all historical romance lovers.  It is a standalone novel but treat yourself to the first two in the series; THE PROPOSAL and THE ARRANGEMENT.

 

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2 Fridays til’ Christmas Review- The Heart of Christmas by Balogh, Cornick & Milan

Title:  The Heart of Christmas (anthology)

The Heart of Christmas

Genre: Regency Historical Romance/Holiday

Author: Mary Balogh, Nicola Cornick, Courtney Milan

Publisher: Harlequin Books, 2009

Source:  Purchase

Rating: 5+

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 4.5

Descriptions in bold type from amazon.com:

A Handful of Gold(1998)
Mary Balogh

Not only is Julian Dare dashing and wealthy, but he’s the heir to an earldom. So what do you get a man who has everything? Innocent and comely Verity Ewing plans on giving Julian her heart—the most precious gift of all.

**

Verity Ewing is in desperate financial straits.  Her sister is seriously ill and requires doctors and medicine.  Her clergyman father has died leaving the two sisters and their mother penniless.  Verity takes on an alias as Blanche and gets a job as an Opera dancer.  The pay helps but it is not enough so she agrees to acting as mistress to Viscount Julian Dare for the week of Christmas for 500 pounds.

Mary Balogh has created a wonderful Christmas story of a desperate woman and a kind thoughtful man.  The writing is superb, the characterization is perfect and the romance is heart stopping.  This story brims with Christmasy feeling.

Deet’s Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 5

The Season for Suitors(2005)
Nicola Cornick

After some close encounters with rakes in which she was nearly compromised, heiress Clara Davenport realizes that she needs some expert advice. And who better for the job than Sebastian Fleet, the most notorious rake in town? But the tutelage doesn’t go quite as planned, as both Sebastian and Clara find it difficult to remain objective when it comes to lessons of the heart!

**

Eighteen months ago Clara proposed to Sebastian and was rejected.  Now that she has become not only more beautiful but an heiress, the rakes of the ton will not leave her alone.  Since she feels Sebastian is a safe bet she contacts him to give her lessons in deflecting rakes.  Sebastian refuses but finds he cannot get Clara out of his mind and heart.

Nicola Cornick is a new-to-me author and I have really been missing out on some good writing.  This story is well written, and very romantic.  The sexual tension and attraction is very well done.  It does not have a lot of that Christmas feeling.

Deet’s Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 3

This Wicked Gift(2009)
Courtney Milan

Lavinia Spencer has been saving her hard-earned pennies to provide her family with Christmas dinner. Days before the holiday, her brother is swindled, leaving them owing more than they can ever repay. Until a mysterious benefactor offers to settle the debt. Innocent Lavinia is stunned by what the dashing William White wants in return. Will she exchange a wicked gift for her family’s fortune?

**

William has loved Lavinia from afar and when he sees a chance to assist her and to seduce her he grabs for it.  After ruining her, he can’t live with himself and he is in no position to offer her marriage.  Lavinia loves him but can’t get past his disgust with himself.  Can there ever be any happiness at Christmas or ever for these two poor souls of the working class?

Courtney Milan is one of my favorite authors so it was no surprise to me that I was predisposed to liking this novella.  However, I was blown away by her perfectly nuanced characters and the feeling of reality she generates in regard to the working classes of the regency period.  Her characters are all multidimensional and exquisitely written.  The romance is sublimely sensual. (This novella is a first in the Carhart Series and gives a glimpse of Gareth Carhart whose story is in Proof by Seduction.)

Deet’s Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 3

Deet’s Overview:  There are good anthologies and then there are great ones, this is a great one.  Each story is mesmerizing and although not all have a strong Christmasy feeling they are all simply superb.  I highly recommend this anthology and each of these authors.

sexy_santa_4-257x400

Coming next Friday:  Twas’ The Night Before Mischief

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New Release Review- The Arrangement By Mary Balogh

Title:  The Arrangement (book #2, The Survivors’ Club)

The Arrangement

Genre:  Historical Romance

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Random House, Dell, August 27,2013

Source: Free for review from Amazon vine Program

Rating:  4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

Desperate to escape his mother’s matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So when Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage.

At first, quiet, unassuming Sophia rejects Vincent’s proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome man persuades her that he needs a wife of his own choosing as much as she needs protection from destitution, she agrees. Her alternative is too dreadful to contemplate. But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement? As friendship and camaraderie lead to sweet seduction and erotic pleasure, dare they believe a bargain born of desperation might lead them both to a love destined to be?

**

This is a lovely story of two people thrown together on an impulse but discovering that they were truly meant for each other.  Sophia helps Vincent to become more independent and Vincent helps repair Sophia’s damaged self esteem.

Mary Balogh is one of the Grand Dames of romance writing and it shows in this book.  Her characterization is flawless and she can put you in a scene so that you feel you are there.  Here is an example of her descriptive talent:

“They traveled all through the last night of the journey, weary as they were, and arrived at Covington House at first light—or so Martin informed him.  Vincent would have known it himself, though, as soon as the carriage stopped moving and the door was opened.  He could hear a few birds singing with that almost echoing clarity that was peculiar to the predawn period.  And the air had a freshening feel to it that suggested an end to night but not quite a start to day.” (from Chapter #1, THE ARRANGEMENT)

The only thing I felt was missing was greater conflict.  Everything moved just a bit too smoothly.  However this complaint is minor to the enjoyment to be found in the reading of this new entry in the series.

This is the second book in The Survivors’ Club series following THE PROPOSAL.  This is a standalone book but it does contain other members of the club and you may want to read the first book just to have a more perfect picture of the group.

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Deet’s Confessions of An Addicted Personality

My Kindle died.  This may not mean much to all of you but to me it is like I lost a pet.  I have already replaced my pet with a new pet, a Kindle Paperwhite.  It won’t be here for a week because I was too cheap to pay $17 for quicker delivery. So I will actually be opening a real honest to goodness book with paper pages during the next week.  Thank goodness there are alternatives!

note: people with addictions cannot go cold turkey for long without severe withdrawal symptoms.  If they get past the DT’s then they will most likely develop another addiction to compensate.  How do I know this?  I was a smoker of cigarettes , it took me three tries to finally get off of them.  I worked the night shift as an RN and was addicted to coffee.  That took some time to get rid of the headaches when I decaffeinated.  Each time I got off the “bad” addiction I found a substitute “good” addiction.  At first it was painting and then it was reading, the blog and reviewing.

Now my addiction is Kindle.  Amazon likes this about me.  My family doesn’t mind too much.  They always know where to find me, in my reading chair and they always know I will love an Amazon gift card for my birthday.  Sometimes the neighbors think I’ve gone on vacation since I’m holed up with my Kindle.

So Deet, what you gonna read til that Kindle gets here?  Well….Thanks for asking.  Here is what I have handy in paper:

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins,  I read The Hunger Games and loved it, and saw the movie, isn’t that Jennifer Lawrence terrific? I was so impressed at how the movie followed the book.  I want to read this next book in the series before the movie comes out in November.Catching Fire

The Arrangement by Mary Balogh, an advance reader copy (ARC) of Mary’s book to be released in August.

The Arrangement

To Make A Match by Liana Lefey, another ARC of an August release.

To Make A Match

Yes, I will eventually review all of these here on the blog.  These should hold me over until that fancy Paperwhite Kindle arrives.  I hope I don’t get the shakes beforehand.

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Holiday Romance- A Christmas Promise by Mary Balogh

Title:  A Christmas Promise

Genre: Regency Historical Romance/holiday

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Random House/Dell, 2010

Source: purchase

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Description from amazon.com:

A love that cannot be bought or sold proves to be the greatest gift of all, in this heartwarming classic that demonstrates once again why New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh is among the most celebrated authors of historical romance.

Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions—especially when a couple seems as well matched as Randolph Pierce, Earl of Falloden, and his bride-to-be, Eleanor Transome. Ellie brings to the marriage a vast dowry, while Falloden, though distant, is handsome, tremendously desirable, and possessed of a title most young ladies can only dream of sharing.

Yet Ellie is not most young ladies. She knows that she must honor her dear father’s dying wish for her to wed the proud earl, but she dreads a lifetime in a union without love—and how can Falloden claim to love her when he married her only for her fortune? As Christmas descends upon the Falloden manor, the warmth of the season may yet melt away the trappings of duty and wealth, leaving behind only a man and a woman destined for each other’s arms.

**

Yay!* This book is about love and the Christmas Spirit.  It will tug at your heart, bring tears to your eyes and make you want to hug even those prickly relatives that often give you grief.  Mary Balogh can write a romance novel that does all those and more.  I want nothing more than to spend Christmas with Ellie, Randolph and the realatives.  And luckily we can all do just that through this book.

*The “yay” is because I read so many books that are supposed to be about Christmas and really they hardly mention the holiday.  Not the case with this one.

 

 

 

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Holiday Romance- Anthology- A Regency Christmas III by Heath, Putney, Balogh,McRae & Layton

Title:  A Regency Christmas lll

Genre: Historical Holiday Romance Anthology

Author: Sandra Heath, Mary Jo Putney, Mary Balogh,

                Melinda McRae, Edith Layton

Publisher:  Penguin, 1991

Source: purchase, secondary market

Rating: Solid 4

Sexy Rating: 3

Christmasy Feeling: 5

Story #1Mistletoe and Folly by Sandra Heath — Rating= 4

Sir Richard Curzon is engaged to young flibbertigibbet Isabella.  He thinks he loves her but Geoffrey Hawksworth is also enamoured of the fair Isabella.  When Geoffrey sees an accidental encounter between Sir Richard and Richard’s lost love, Diana, he sets in motion a plan to break up Richard and Isabella so that the young Isabella will fall into his waiting arms.

**One has to admire the conniving intelligence of Geoffrey although he has obstacles thrown in his path.  Can Richard and Diana renew what they thought was lost? Will Geoffrey win the heart of Isabella?  This is an entertaining story and well written. 

Story #2The Christmas Cuckoo by Mary Jo Putney–Rating = 4.5

His name is Major John Howard but they were expecting Captain John Howard, friend of their brother Jeremy, for Christmas.  The Major tries to set the record straight but is thwarted whenever he wishes to confess and truth be known he is enjoying the company of the Lambert family on his first Christmas back in England after the war.  He is especially enjoying the company of the oldest Lambert sister and head of the household, Meg.  Things get very interesting when Jeremy and the Captain show up.

**Mary Jo Putney does not disappoint me, at least not in those delightful books, and this story, that I have read to date.  The characters are brought to life and the romantic attraction is delightfully portrayed.   We are also treated to what a country gentry Christmas must have been like in a close knit family of siblings.

Story #3-The Best Christmas Ever by Mary Balogh—Rating=4.5

Anna, age 6, had only one wish this Christmas.  She wants a new Mama.  Her mother had died in front of her eyes 3 years before and she had not uttered a word since that fateful day that she screamed for hours. Her loving father, Lord Radbrook was seriously thinking of asking Miss Chadwick to be his wife, hoping her cheerful nature would bring some happiness to his daughter.  But at the crowded family Christmas gathering Anna has her heart set on Emma as her new mama.  But there is a past history between Lord Radbrook and Emma.  Can it be overcome?

**Here is another favorite HR author.  I am beginning to see a pattern in why I like some of these authors.  It is their ability to absolutely transport me back to the Regency period of England.  The settings and characters come to life and it is as if I am watching the action unfold as if in a movie.  This story is a bit on the sentimental side but Christmas is just the right time for sentimentality.

Story #4- Home For Christmas by Melinda McRae- Rating= 4

Ashley Sutton is the 2nd son who has been away sailing the seas for 16 years.  He decides to surprise his family and come home for Christmas but the surprise is on him.  His family has gone off to visit his uncle for the holiday.  At the estate is governess to his niece and nephew, Rose Harris, who welcomes him and shares a Christmas dinner with him before he departs for the uncle’s home.  But Rose has fallen in love with Ash and now must face a life without him.  Or will she?

**Again this is a sentimental story that tugs at your heart while creating a strong sexual tension and romantic feel.  Ms McRae is a new-to-me author but she possesses a wonderful grasp of storytelling and  a unique ability to make the characters come to life on the page.

Story #5-The Dark Man by Edyth Layton- Rating=3

Eve was engaged to an Earl and it was only her first season.  She loved him and she thought he might love her but she wasn’t sure.  Then she found out he had a mistress and she couldn’t deal with it.  She broke off the engagement  but would the Earl just fade away?

**This was my least favorite story.  The writing and character development was good but the story descended into a silly bit toward the end that ruined it for me.

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Review- The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh

Title: The Secret Mistress

Genre: Historical Regency Romance

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2011

Source: Library

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from amazon.com:

While Lady Angeline Dudley’s pedigree dictates that she must land a titled gentleman, the irrepressible beauty longs for a simple, ordinary suitor. So when Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, defends her honor with unmatched civility, Angeline thinks that she has found true love. Persuading the earl is another matter entirely. From her unconventional fashion sense to her hoydenish antics, Angeline is the last woman on earth for Edward. And yet a stolen kiss awakens something primal within him. Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after compromising a lady: He offers marriage. The proposal is born of duty, but will Angeline cause Edward to forget about decorum behind closed doors, where sensuality and seduction play wicked games? For a proper wife by day can become a husband’s secret mistress by night, when delicious desire rules.

**

This is a story of opposites attracting and love at first sight.  It is not an original concept but in the hands of Ms. Balogh it is brought to life with characters that have unique personalities.  The naïve, innocent, Angeline, has become a favorite of mine because she does act her age of only nineteen years.  She is a true reflection of the regency era, spoiled, sheltered innocent.  The earl, Edward is her perfect foil, for he is only twenty-four but old and stuffy with the weight of his title on his shoulders.  The secondary characters of Eunice and Charles were a joy to behold, again the attraction of opposites.  This is a prequel to two other books in this series More Than a Mistressand No Man’s Mistress, Angeline’s brother’s stories, which are available.

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