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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Thumbs Up Thursday

First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh

I decided to review a slightly older book today because I was re-listening to it on audible.  It's such a good book I'm happy to go back to it another few times.  It's been a while since I felt that way about a book.

"First Comes Marriage" is the first book in the Huxtable Series by Mary Balogh and it follows the story of Vanessa Dew, the very plain, middle sister of the Huxtable family.

The story is set in Regency times, with all the glamour of the Beau Monde and the Season and the restrained sexuality of young women who try to hide their true feelings behind fans and long dresses.

Vanessa had been married to Hedley Dew when she was young because he had been diagnosed with consumption. The young man had died and although she loved him like a brother, there had been no real romantic spark. Her sex life had been all but non-existent.

When Elliott Wallace (Viscount Lyndgate) arrives in their small village, announcing that her 17 year old brother Steven has become the new Earl of Merton, Vanessa moves with her family to their new home at Warren Hall. It seems that Elliott has set his cap at her elder sister, Margaret, so that she can arrange the "come out" of her other sisters into society. But Margaret is in love with Crispin Dew, Hedley's older brother, who went off to war years ago. They had an understanding and Margaret believes he'll come back to her. So Vanessa steps in and offers herself as his prospective bride. But the happy couple don't like each other.  However, as good members of the ton tend to do, they suck it up and get married.

The couple have some fantastic romantic moments and some terrible misunderstandings which mean their
marriage and their marital relations have a very bumpy start.

So why do I love this book?  I love the way Mary Balogh uses language.  The book feels as if it was written during the Regency period. Her words paint beautiful pictures of the rolling estates of the aristocracy and the splendour of London during the season. Her characters are full of life and have serious flaws too.  Yes, of course the heroes are noble and honourable, even if they don't seem so at first, but they are also full of pride, stubborn, too concerned about what others think.

The Huxtables are perfect as the country bumpkins of good breeding who find themselves a part of a glamorous, yet bitchy society.

If you like a good historical, particularly Regency, then you should check out Mary Balogh's books. The sex is relatively graphic but still in keeping with the story and the era.

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