A Christmas Bride/Christmas Beau by Mary Balogh

Christmas Bride and Beau

Setting: Regency

Summary:

A CHRISTMAS BRIDE

The very wealthy Edgar Downes has promised his aging father to finally take a bride—specifically, to wed a titled lady by Christmas. London is full of pretty, proper, and eligible misses, but it’s the widow Helena, Lady Stapleton, in a shocking red dress, who captures Edgar’s attention. Helena is intrigued by the seductive stranger—but he’s simply not in her class. Marriage, of course, would never do. But in a season of miracles, something wondrous is about to happen. 

CHRISTMAS BEAU
Not even the warm, forgiving Christmas spirit can stop the Marquess of Denbigh from settling his score with Judith Easton: The beautiful young widow injured Denbigh’s pride years ago by jilting him for another man. Now that Judith is free from a nightmare marriage, the handsome marquess has her in his sights—and wants her in his arms. But to trust the tender words on his lips, Judith must not only see past the hardness of his heart, but learn once again to trust her own heart’s desire.

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Review:

Yet another great 2 in 1 collection by Mary Balogh. These two classic Christmas romances will warm your heart-in any season!

To be honest, I wasn’t that fussed about reading romances set in Christmas time and I didn’t think there would be anything special that the Christmas setting could bring. But wow, did Mary Balogh change my mind! She makes the reader believe in the magic and spirit of Christmas and both stories need Christmas to end how they did.

The first story is about two people who seem completely wrong for each other but can’t seem to keep away from each other nevertheless! Meet Edgar and Helena who meet one night and share a magical connection but their class difference keeps them apart… until they meet at a Christmas house party and slowly their walls come down. It was great and touching to read this story as the heroine has a big secret that made her seem quite flawed but more human. I loved Edgar as a strong hero, who is determined to make Helena his! 😉

The second story was my favorite; a jilted hero seeks revenge on the long ago fiance who jilted him! The hero is a Darcy-type: dark, brooding, aloof which the heroine mistakes for being cold and cruel, hence why she ran away from him. Of course, things are more than they appear and I loved how the hero is the one who was heartbroken by the broken engagement-this made it very unique in that sense. I loved the chemistry as well and how our heroine realizes her stupidity in choosing a rake over a strong, stable character. The addiction of the kids in the story made it that much more emotional as well.

This is a fabulous set of books! I read it all within 3 days, it was too addictive. This is perfect for any season and a great pick me up. If you love Christmas, second chance romances and romances with kids, this book is for you! Those readers who loved her old classics can now enjoy them once more in a great set while those new readers can see what made Balogh such a star in the romance world.

Sensuality Rating: Warm (2/5)

Verdict: Highly recommended!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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The Proposal by Mary Balogh

Setting: Regency

Summary:

In Mary Balogh’s engaging and seductive new novel of drama and romance, a woman comfortable in her solitude allows temptation to free her heart, when a daring war hero shows her how truly extraordinary she is.
 
THE PROPOSAL
 
Gwendoline, Lady Muir, has seen her share of tragedy, especially since a freak accident took her husband much too soon. Content in a quiet life with friends and family, the young widow has no desire to marry again. But when Hugo, Lord Trentham, scoops her up in his arms after a fall, she feels a sensation that both shocks and emboldens her.
 
Hugo never intends to kiss Lady Muir, and frankly, he judges her to be a spoiled, frivolous—if beautiful—aristocrat. He is a gentleman in name only: a soldier whose bravery earned him a title; a merchant’s son who inherited his wealth. He is happiest when working the land, but duty and title now demand that he finds a wife. He doesn’t wish to court Lady Muir, nor have any role in the society games her kind thrives upon. Yet Hugo has never craved a woman more; Gwen’s guileless manner, infectious laugh, and lovely face have ruined him for any other woman. He wants her, but will she have him?
 
The hard, dour ex-military officer who so gently carried Gwen to safety is a man who needs a lesson in winning a woman’s heart. Despite her cautious nature, Gwen cannot ignore the attraction. As their two vastly different worlds come together, both will be challenged in unforeseen ways. But through courtship and seduction, Gwen soon finds that with each kiss, and with every caress, she cannot resist Hugo’s devotion, his desire, his love, and the promise of forever.

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Trailer

Review:

Loved this book! Balogh does it again with another touching read and a great introduction to her new 7 book series about a group of war survivors, each with their own scars (physical or mental) from the war.

The heroine is the lonely, limping cousin of a previous Balogh heroine-one who was long overdue for a happy ending of her own. Despite her handicap, Gwen is cheerful and generous, always ready to help out her friends and family. She is the perfect lady. At the start we see her forced to endure the company of a whiny, selfish friend. Gwen escapes to the seaside and ends up spraining her ankle, which is how she meets our hero.

On the opposite end of the scale, we have Hugo who has never fully recovered from his psychological war scars. He wears a tough, cold exterior to hide the fact that he feels guilty for living when his comrades have all perished in the war. He’s a middle class man who has just gained a title and he can’t stand the upper classes. When these two meet, there are instant sparks-of dislike. But the more time they spend together, the more both realize how much they have in common. But Gwen has no desire to marry again and Hugo has to persuade her to think otherwise. As far as characters go, I liked both Hugo and Gwen but they weren’t super special in any way. I did admire Gwen’s cheerfulness despite how lonely her life was and the fact that her husband and son died previously. It was sweet watching them fall in love and try to deny it.

As with all Balogh novels, this book focuses more on the character than the plot so if your taste is more towards an exciting fast-paced  adventure romance, this isn’t for you. Reminiscent of Jane Austen novels, this book is more for people who appreciate a deeper look into the workings of human nature. As touching as it is wise, this book will be sure to bring a few tears to even the strongest readers.

Overall, this is a great, emotionally touching read, perfect for a quiet day in. Can’t wait for the next book! 😀

Sensuality Rating: Warm

Verdict: Great start to a new series! Balogh is back in the game!

Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 stars

The Temporary Wife/A Promise of Spring by Mary Balogh

Setting: Regency

Summary:

In two classic tales of Regency-era romance from New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh, the vagaries of love have a way of challenging the most convenient arrangements.
 
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.
 
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.

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Review:

Two tales of people overcoming the trails of the past are brought together and are beautifully told by one of the romance genre’s most talented writers. You won’t be disappointed in this collection with its warmth, unique-ness and poignancy.

The first story we have is about a woman who is forced to marry a man in order to feed her family. This is a very typical set-up as the hero is out for vengeance against his family and marries the heroine in order to fulfill it. But even the most common stories shine in the hands of Mary Balogh and though things may appear done before, you will be surprised and pleased by how this story turns out. Both hero and heroine are more than they appear. I give it a 4 stars out of 5.

The second story was less typical and was a great change from the usual romance storyline. We have a woman who has a past lover who comes back to challenge her current marriage. This one had a more mature, deeper, meaningful feeling to it and some readers may find to hard to like as it is not romantic and contains no great declarations of love or grand gestures. This is about a more gradual type of love. The heroine was admirable and I loved how patient and undemanding the hero was. But watching as the heroine overcomes her past is worth reading this story. A definite 4 out of 5 stars!

Mary Balogh is more than just a romance writer. She is an observer of human nature. And just like her famous predecessor Jane Austen, her stories are always full of real, layered people that aren’t perfect and great insights into the human heart. This book is no exception. You will be deeply touched by both stories. Don’t expect lots of sex and eroticism though sexual tension is always there in a Balogh novel, simmering just beneath the surface.

Again, if you’re looking for some heart warming, touching, more traditional romance with great sexual tension, than pick this one up. You’ll love both stories and want more!

Sensuality rating-Minimal-Very traditional style Regency romance

Verdict: Another great read for those of you who like more traditional romances and can’t get enough of Mary Balogh!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Famous Heroine/The Plumed Bonnet by Mary Balogh

Setting: Regency

Summary:

Beloved New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh spins two classic stories of Regency England—splendid novels of mistaken identity and unmistakable passion, where marriage is only the beginning of true love.
 

THE FAMOUS HEROINE
Cora Downes has beauty, spirit, and money, but no breeding. Yet when she gains renown for a daring rescue, she finds herself thrust into high society. Innocent and adrift in a world of beautiful banquets, bejeweled gowns, and snobbish standards, Cora is quickly compromised into a marriage—to a frivolous lord whose interests seem to lie elsewhere. But could piercingly blue-eyed and well-mannered Francis Kneller turn out to be the most unexpected love of her life?

 
THE PLUMED BONNET
Alistair Munro, the Duke of Bridgwater, is looking for love outside the bounds of polite society. And that’s what he expects to receive when he rescues a seemingly disreputable girl in a colorful bonnet off the side of the road. Yet Stephanie Gray, a former governess, has recently come into money and is eager for a proper match with a well-born man. Sure that he’s sullied her name, Alistair offers marriage to make amends. And in this unlikely union, Stephanie and Alistair make a welcome discovery—that sometimes it’s possible to marry first, then fall in love.

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Review:

As a huge fan of Mary Balogh, I love getting my hands on anything and everything she writes. Very rarely does she turn out a bad book so when I heard a new book featuring two re-issued classic novels of hers was coming out, I had to read it! The book is well worth the money and what’s better than getting two great stories for the price of one? 😀

Both stories in this collection are part of a broader linked series that began with Dark Angel/Lord Carew’s Bride. The hero of the first book (The Famous Heroine) was the rejected suitor in Lord Carew’s Bride so I was looking forward to reading his happy ending. Both stories dealt with major misunderstandings and were both marriage of convenience tales. In both stories the hero and heroine make certain assumptions of each other before ending up in marriages that began badly but naturally turn out well.

My favorite story was The Famous Heroine which I found funny and lighthearted. It’s always great to see a beloved character getting his/her well-deserved happy ever after. The heroine mistakes the hero for being gay which I found hilarious and original. The heroine was very likable and was a great match for the hero. I loved their chemistry and how they gradually came to love and respect each other after a bad beginning. It was sweet, honest story.

The second story (The Plumed Bonnet) took some time to get into and I found it harder to enjoy mainly because the chemistry was lacking. The hero meets the heroine on the road, thinking her a prostitute and ends up ruining her by accident and then having to marry her to make up for it. She feels majorly obliged to him and does not dare to be herself and he won’t open up to her. They spend most of the book in awkward conversations as neither is comfortable with the other. Over the course of a month, they try to make their marriage work despite the big misunderstandings and it’s not till very near the end do things finally start looking up for them. It didn’t feel natural and seemed like they forced themselves to fall in love, rather than falling in love naturally. It wasn’t very romantic, though it held my attention as it definitely was a different take on a typical romance trope.

Overall, both stories were very well-written and were both engaging despite the lack of an exciting plot. If you like your romances focused more on the characters and their emotions rather than the plot, Mary Balogh is for you. This was a pretty good read!

Sensuality rating-Minimal-Very traditional style Regency romance

Verdict: A great read if you like more traditional romances with emotional depth.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh

Setting: Regency

Summary:

Reginald Masson is wealthy refined and by all accounts, a gentleman. However, he is not a gentleman by birth, a factor that pains him and his father. Bernard Mason, with the Regency society that upholds station love all else. That is, until an opportunity for social advancement arises, namely, Lady Annabelle Ashton. Daughter of the Earl of Havercroft, a neighbor and enemy of the Mason family, Annabelle finds herself disgraced by a scandal, one that has left her branded as damaged goods. Besmirched by shame, the earl is only too happy to marry Annabelle off to anyone willing to have her.

Though Bernard wishes to use Annabelle to propel his family up the social ladder, his son does not to marry her, preferring instead to live as the wild, single life he is accustomed to. With this, Bernard serves his son an ultimatum: marry Annabelle, or make do without family funds. Having no choice, Reginald consents and enters into a hostile engagement in which the prospective bride and groom are openly antagonistic, each one resenting the other for their current state of affairs while their respective fathers revel in their suffering.

So begins an intoxicating tale rife with dark secrets, deception, and the trials of love-a story in which very little is as it seems.

Trailer

Review:

A romance novel with its own website? And not a full length romance either? It must be worth the effort!

I confess I was reluctant to purchase the book as it was in hard cover and seemed so pricey for a novel that was under 200 pages. But I put away my doubts and placed my faith in Balogh’s talent for writing touching, unforgettable books. And while I cannot say the book was worth every penny, it certainly was worth reading-this was an interesting, engaging, well-written story with a very unexpected twist.

Both hero and heroine have been forced into an unwanted marriage-she to escape ruin and he to rise up the social ladder. At first you expect a marriage of convenience story as both characters make their dislike for each other obvious. But, without spoiling the story for you, you will be pleasantly surprised at how things end up.

As usual, Balogh’s talent for writing emotionally moving plots and her insights into the human heart are here in top form. This is a wise, touching portrayal of two people who find love despite their different social classes.

The only thing I wish this book could have improved on was its length-it was a bit too short I felt for a story that would have been brilliant if there was more time to flesh out the characters. We barely get to know the hero and heroine, though their chemistry is not in question-it’s obvious they are good together. I only wish we had more time to see them interact.

Still, in such a small number of pages, Mary Balogh has managed to create a wonderful, unpredictable story, one you will definitely need to pick up and read again.

Sensuality Rating: Warm (Love scenes are short and non explicit)

Verdict: A short, and very surprising story. Not to be missed.

Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 stars

A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh

Setting: Regency

Summary:

A year after being abandoned at the altar during the wedding she had dreamed of all her life, Lauren Edgeworth is in London to spend a quiet couple of months with her aunt, Elizabeth, Duchess of Portfrey, during the latter’s confinement. Christopher “Kit” Butler, Viscount Ravensberg, is in London getting into every imaginable wild scrape and fast becoming one of London’s most notorious rakehells.

But now he has been summoned home in order to become betrothed to a woman chosen by his father, who banished him for life just three years before. Desperate to do things on his own terms, Kit hastily searches for a bride to take home with him, someone his father cannot possibly object to, someone above reproach, someone dull, respectable, prim, and perfect. One of his friends suggests Lauren but then adds that Kit is surely the very last man she would accept for a husband.

The challenge proves irresistible, and Kit wagers that he will have wooed and wed Lauren within six weeks…

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Review:

I had read the prequel to this book titled One Night For Love, very much liked the secondary character Lauren, and empathized greatly when she got jilted at the start of that book. You can imagine my delight when I discovered Lauren would get her own romance and happy ending in this book. And once again, I was very satisfied with this wonderful, touching, beautifully written story about two people, both with painful pasts, who find hope, happiness and freedom in love.

Lauren is not your usual heroine-she’s subtle, gentle, reserved and prim to the point of prudishness. And yet, as with the case with all of us, there is more to her than meets the eye and as the talented Balogh slowly reveals all the layers of her personality, you will fall in love with her kindness and gentle strength, just as I did. I’m so glad she finally got her happy ending!

Kit is a wonderful hero and exactly the kind of man every woman would fall for! 😉 Warm, kind, sexy, slightly scandalous, he would make any woman swoon-and yet, as with Lauren, there are deeper depths to his character. I especially loved his tenderness for Lauren, and how he fell in love with her quiet, sweet nature, while giving her the best summer of her life. 😀

I melted over the romantics scenes, and swooned over the love scenes (which were sizzling with loads of chemistry :P) and teared up when it seemed the hurt from their pasts would get in the way of them being together. Balogh has a talent for writing in a way that brings the characters to life, and creating a strong emotional bond between the lovers. Her writing might be considered slow or boring by some readers because of the traditional nature of her plots, but I doubt anyone can match the emotional poignancy she brings to her books. Her love scenes are also very traditional but that doesn’t mean they are boring as sometimes, as she proves, less is really more.

You won’t be disappointed with this deep, emotional romance. I was hard pressed to find a single flaw in this book and tried to stay up just to finish it! So even if you prefer more adventurous romances, give this one a try. I’ll be reading this one again!

Sensuality Rating: Warm (Love scenes are short and non explicit)

Verdict: A wonderful classic Regency romance. Highly recommended!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Secret Mistress by Mary Balogh

Setting: Regency

*Prequel to Mistress series*

Summary:

While Lady Angeline Dudley’s pedigree dictates that she must land a titled gentleman, the irrepressible beauty secretly longs for a simple, ordinary suitor. So when Edward Ailsbury, the new Earl of Heyward, rescues her with unmatched civility from the advances of a scoundrel, Angeline thinks that she has found her true love. Persuading the earl is another matter entirely.

Edward has his future neatly mapped out. He hopes to wed his steadfast companion, a woman who shares his values of loyalty, respect, and decorum. Angeline is the last woman on earth for Edward. And yet a stolen kiss in the moonlight awakens something deep and primal within him. Naturally, being a gentleman, he does the right thing after compromising a lady: He offers marriage.

Angeline knows that Edward’s proposal is born of duty, not love. Deep down, Angeline believes that Edward’s dedication to convention will melt behind closed doors. For a proper wife by day can become a husband’s secret mistress by night, when delicious desire rules.

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Review:

This is the prequel to the Mistress series (More Than a Mistress and No Man’s Mistress) and though it had it’s faults, I still found this to be one very sweet, romantic story! My main problem with this book is that it would have done better as a novella and sometimes felt too overdrawn.

Lady Angeline will be familiar to readers of the next two Mistress books as the chatterbox who has horrible dress sense. But in this, we find out that there is so much more to her and more to her hero, Edward, who appears to be a quiet, and aloof. Turns out there’s a reason she wears bright, mis-matched clothes and a reason Edward appears to be such a stick up the ass.

Angeline is relate-able and adorable, even if she does tend to take up paragraphs with her incessant chatter. Edward is the kind of hero I prefer-the quiet but dependable beta hero. None of that angsty, arrogant alpha hero here! I love opposites attract stories and this was a good one.

The writing is typical Balogh, though it wasn’t as philosophical in nature as her recent books (like the Huxtable series) and was very reminiscent of her old style. Those who love Austen will respond to Balogh’s writing which is very similar in tone.

The story was very simple in plot, and very traditional, with none of those steamy scandalous meetings you find in a lot of modern romances. The romance was as sweet as strawberries and cream though I did feel the story dragged on and it could have been done in half the pages it took. I also thought the hero realizing he loved the heroine happened too suddenly.

Still, if you’re looking for a sweet, simple, traditional, Austen-esque romance and don’t mind a slow story, then this is a sweet opposites attract story that is well-written and will keep you smiling for an afternoon if you’ve bored. 🙂

Sensuality Rating: Warm (Love scenes are short and not explicit)

Verdict: Sweet and simple-A nice way to spend a boring afternoon

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh

Setting: Regency

Summary:

Constantine is in London for the spring Season, as he usually is despite the fact that he loves spending the rest of the year on his estate in Gloucestershire. He is enjoying the company of his male friends and of his cousins, the Huxtables, now all married. But as usual he is looking about him for a mistress, some lady of class and refinement, probably a widow, with whom to enjoy some time until summer sends them their separate ways.

Hannah Reid, Duchess of Dunbarton, is free after a year of mourning for her elderly husband and has come to London for the Season. She is extraordinarily beautiful, and the whole of the ton, including Constantine, knows of the legion of lovers she enjoyed for years while her husband was still living. When she sets out to choose a new lover for the spring and fixes her choice upon Constantine, he is not flattered and is quite determined to resist her considerable charms. She is not at all his type.

But Hannah does not accept rejection easily, and Constantine can sometimes be persuaded to change his mind. What begins as a fairly lighthearted romp between two attractive, strong-willed protagonists, however, quickly develops into something far deeper and more serious as Hannah and Constantine begin to probe the dark secrets and vulnerabilities of each other’s lives.

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Review:

Yet another brilliant novel by Mary Balogh! Fans, me included, have been eagerly awaiting the final novel in the Huxtable series, which features the mysterious and complex hero, Constantine. We get Constantine’s happily ever after and readers, this one was worth the wait 😉

The first 4 books in the series covered the 4 Huxtable siblings who went from poverty to wealth almost overnight. Constantine is their illegitimate cousin which causes some concern as one of the Huxtable siblings inherits the earldom that was meant for him at the start of the series. Constantine has lived his whole life, thinking he is not worthy of love due to this unfortunate incident of birth. He is a complex hero, full of layers and there is a lot of pain behind his cool and confident exterior. But at the same time, he is honourable and capable of great passion. 😛

Hannah, our heroine, was one of my favourite parts of the book. She is an amazing multilayered character who is the PERFECT match for Constantine. At the start of the book she is cold, vain and unlikable and part of the joy of reading the book, for me at least, was seeing what was underneath that, and unfolding her ‘real’ self. Of course, I ended up loving her at the end. Mary Balogh does an amazing job of creating complex believable characters.

The story was pretty simple and character-driven with no external conflict or drama. It’s simply about two people who have been hurt in the past finding love with each other. It’s heart-wrenching and wonderfully romantic without being cheesy and over the top. This is the perfect book to read on a rainy day wrapped up in a blanket, letting the world pass by. 😀

As usual, Mary writes with sensitivity and great insight into the human soul. I love how she doesn’t go over the top with describing exactly what a character is thinking-she writes just enough for us to fill in the blanks without boring us with un-necessary description.

As for as how it ranks within the series, I have to say it is at the top, tied for the best along with Seducing An Angel, which was Stephen’s story. Pick this book up cause it’s worth it!

Sensuality Rating: Warm (Love scenes are short and not explicit)

Verdict: Perfect ending to a great series! 😀

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

One Night For Love by Mary Balogh

Setting: Regency

Summary:

Neville Wyatt, Major Lord Newbury, impulsively marries Lily Doyle, the ethereal, untutored daughter of his sergeant in order to save her from danger and then watches her die the next day. Back in England, now the Earl of Kilbourne, Neville is about to marry another woman when Lily herself appears, miraculously restored from the dead. But is it a happy miracle? Can two people from such completely different worlds possibly find happiness together?

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Review:

Can Mary Balogh ever do wrong? This is yet another jewel read in her arsenal! I was hooked from page one and simply LOVED this story! I nearly teared up a couple of times and that’s always a  sure sign a book has hit close to your heart! Loved the characters, the setting, the plot, the love story-This one was a real emotional ride!

Lily is an great heroine-She’s brave and strong and so much wiser than her years. I loved how fleshed out she was and you could really feel her light spreading to the others. It’s easy to see how Neville fell for her. I liked Neville, the hero, as well but he felt a bit bland and could have done with a bit more personality. That was one of the minuses for me. He was too much of a perfect cut-out of a typical romance hero. But Lily and some of the minor characters like Elizabeth, Neville’s aunt, made up for it.

The book was divided into parts and I thought this was a nice touch. I liked how the story started in the present before flashbacking to the past when Neville married Lily and watch her die. The romance was extremely touching. Neville wants Lily still after so many years and yet now so many obstacles lie between them, both psychologically and socially. Lily is a commoner and does not know the ways of Neville’s world, which is far above her own. She has also returned from being a prisoner of war and has scars of her own. Them trying to find their way to each other despite this totally tore at my heartstrings.

The plot was well-paced, and though at times the writing was a little repetitive, the best part of this book was the emotion in it. This was definitely a more character-driven novel. Though some modern readers may find the class difference not a good enough reason for Lily and Neville to be separated, I felt it suited the feel of that time period, though there was one part that I found a little over the top. Yet, despite these minor flaws, this book is still a winner on many levels!

I will end by saying once again how highly I recommend this book 🙂 If you need a good, touching romance then pick this one up!

Sensuality Rating: Warm (Short and not explicit scenes)

Final Verdict: Brilliant! Add this to your must read list!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Slightly Scandalous by Mary Balogh

Setting: Regency

Summary:

From feisty manner to long, tumbling hair, Freyja Bedwyn is pure fire, a woman who seeks both adventure and freedom. Adventure soon finds her on the way to Bath, when a handsome stranger bursts into her inn room in the middle of the night and entreats her to hide him. He is Joshua Moore, Marquess of Hallmere, a man with a hell-raising reputation of his own. They meet again in Bath, where sparks fly as two strong wills clash and each tries to best the other. But when Joshua needs sudden rescue from the matchmaking schemes of his aunt, it is Freyja to whom he turns . . . because he knows that only she is reckless enough to engage in a fake betrothal with him for the sheer fun of it. And fun it is until the Duke of Bewcastle, Freyja’s eldest brother, learns of the betrothal. And until passion blindsides them both. And until a danger more deadly than marriage threatens Joshua. But there is no doubt about the fact that it admirably suits both Freyja and Joshua to be caught up together in something very slightly scandalous…

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Review:

I was so glad when I found this book by chance at a bookstore, as I had read all the previous Slightly books and only had this one to go! This book didn’t wow me but it didn’t disappoint me either. It was just ok. I can’t say I completely fell in love with it as I did with others in the series, but it was still a good read, compared to other romances.

Freyja Bedwyn is introduced as a fiery young woman who is still nursing a broken heart. She hides her wounded heart beneath a mask of arrogance. I felt that this could have been elaborated on as this was an important obstacle in her relationship with the hero.

The hero was one of the major pluses of the book as he was charismatic, charming, witty and funny and one could not imagine why Freyja took so long falling for him. I think that was the biggest flaw in the book-the lack of conflict between the hero and heroine. I wasn’t engaged as it was clear from the start that the two were perfect and it seemed silly that they would try to deny the obvious fact. The use of a fake betrothal only served to bring them closer together and yet they still resisted each other, for no apparent good reason.

I enjoyed the start when the two meet each other but after they perform the fake betrothal, it went a little downhill from there. I think if Freyja’s wounded heart might have been expanded on, i would have enjoyed this book a lot more. As it was, I found myself itching for the ending. The book did pick up near the end, but was overall not what I normally expected from the usually winning Mary Balogh.

Sensuality Level: Warm (Short and not explicit)

Verdict: Just ok but don’t expect to be wowed.

Rating: 3 and a half starts out of 5

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