Coming Up for Mary Balogh

There’s no cover yet, but Someone to Honour, the sixth book in Mary Balogh’s excellent Westcott family series is due out in November, and now has a description:

 

First appearances deceive in the newest charming and heartwarming Regency romance in the Westcott series from beloved New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh.

Abigail Westcott’s dreams for her future were lost when her father died, and she discovered her parents were not legally married. But now, six years later, she enjoys the independence a life without expectation provides a wealthy single woman. Indeed, she’s grown confident enough to scold the careless servant chopping wood outside without his shirt on in the proximity of ladies.

But the man is not a servant. He is Gilbert Bennington, the lieutenant colonel and superior officer who has escorted her wounded brother, Harry, home from the wars with Napoleon. Gil has come to help his friend and junior officer recover, and he doesn’t take lightly to being condescended to—secretly because of his own humble beginnings.

If at first Gil and Abigail seem to embody what the other most despises, each will soon discover how wrong first impressions can be. For behind the appearances of the once-grand lady and the once-humble man are two people who share an understanding of what true honour means, and how only with it can one find love.

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Wish List for 2019

New Year 2019

Other years I’ve written a longish post about what I want to see in books in the new year.

This year? It’s simple:

  • More world issues in romantic suspense (though I suspect I’m in the minority on that one!). More books like Brynn Kelly’s which involve characters from all different countries.
  • More Regency romances in the style of Madeline Hunter and Mary Balogh, books where it feels like it’s the Regency era.
  • More Victorian romances like Lisa Kleypas’ and Mimi Matthews’.

That’s it!

Someone to Trust (Westcott family #5) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Trust (Westcott family #5) by Mary Balogh

During a rare white Christmas at Brambledean Court, the widow Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, defies convention by falling in love with a younger man in the latest novel in the Westcott series.

After her husband’s passing, Elizabeth Overfield decides that she must enter into another suitable marriage. That, however, is the last thing on her mind when she meets Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, at the Westcott Christmas house party. She simply enjoys his company as they listen to carolers on Christmas Eve, walk home from church together on Christmas morning, and engage in a spirited snowball fight in the afternoon. Both are surprised when their sled topples them into a snowbank and they end up sharing an unexpected kiss. They know there is no question of any relationship between them, for she is nine years older than he.

They return to London the following Season, both committed to finding other, more suitable matches. Still they agree to share one waltz at each ball they attend. This innocuous agreement proves to be one that will topple their worlds, as each dance steadily ensnares them in a romance that forces the two to question what they are willing to sacrifice for love. . . .

Someone to Trust (Westcott family #5) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Trust takes its time to develop, but by the halfway point I thought it was doing something I haven’t come across often before, and I was hooked. Mary Balogh’s Westcott family books have the most unusual and diverse types of romances I’ve come across in a series, and yet it never feels forced.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this is a book that can be as easily enjoyed if readers are new to the series, and a glance at a few reviews confirms it. There are too many characters, with too many complex histories and relationships, for this one to be anything other than confusing to newbie – particularly in the Christmas scenes at the start.

However, beyond that, this is a bittersweet sort of story, with a relationship that starts off a little improbable, and develops into something very strong. We have a heroine who has been a background character for four books before this, steady, friendly, a little plain… and a widow who escaped an abusive husband. In her mid-thirties, she is watching life pass her by, and she is willing to settle on a loveless second marriage in order to achieve some of her dreams.

Our hero is the younger brother of the heroine of book three, and is significantly enough younger than the heroine that not a single character ever considered they could or would marry. However, he comes from a family of vain, narcissistic people, and has grown to appreciate a person’s character over anything else.

Something else I really appreciated was that the spinster aunt of the family, one who has been a bit of a caricature so far, was revealed to have hidden pain and lost hopes and dreams of her own. Even in reality – even today – women like her are still mocked for being husbandless and childless, and it’s so easy to forget that these women often had all the same plans for their futures other women did – only, they never achieved them.

And because I thought the characterisation of all involved was so realistic and even moving, this one comment stood out to me as deeply insensitive:

 

She had no children and no sense of humour—strange that those two things seemed to go together in his mind.

 

I’m still not sure why it was even in the book, considering how wonderfully the themes were handled the rest of the time.

Each book in this series seems to be a little more unconventional than the one that came before it, and – for me – each one is a surprise in that it is even more emotional, beneath that Regency veneer. I also think that is why the books in this series divide readers, many of whom probably aren’t looking for these themes in their historical romance romps.

This isn’t as easy a book to love as the other instalments in the series, and yet at some point as I was reading I realised I’d gone from liking it to loving it. Even with the occasional overabundance of characters, in amongst them was a deeply emotional story that I will remember when I’ve forgotten a lot of others.

The Week: 26th November – 2nd December

This has been a dramatic week both personally and for the world, and so I’ve run out of time to even take a picture of my Christmas decorations! Maybe next week…

Darth Putin is a parody account the Russians periodically try to get banned.

This week Russia’s war in Ukraine finally made it back into the news.

Tomi Adeyemi apologises to Nora Roberts

Tomi-AdeyemiTomi Adeyemi apologises to Nora Roberts

My review of The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) by Janna MacGregor

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4) by Janna MacGregor

Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Trust (Westcott Book #5) by Mary Balogh

Helene Young: ‘I chose a career as a pilot over motherhood. I don’t regret a thing’

Shattered-Sky-Front-Cover1-190x300

Behind the Scenes of a Harlequin Cover Shoot

Go Behind the Scenes of a Harlequin Cover Shoot Falling for the Wrong Brother,

Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Trust, the fifth book in Mary Balogh’s Westcott family series, is out now.

Someone to Trust (Westcott Book #5) by Mary Balogh

During a rare white Christmas at Brambledean Court, the widow Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, defies convention by falling in love with a younger man in the latest novel in the Westcott series.

After her husband’s passing, Elizabeth Overfield decides that she must enter into another suitable marriage. That, however, is the last thing on her mind when she meets Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, at the Westcott Christmas house party. She simply enjoys his company as they listen to carolers on Christmas Eve, walk home from church together on Christmas morning, and engage in a spirited snowball fight in the afternoon. Both are surprised when their sled topples them into a snow bank and they end up sharing an unexpected kiss. They know there is no question of any relationship between them for she is nine years older than he.

They return to London the following season, both committed to finding other, more suitable matches. Still they agree to share one waltz at each ball they attend. This innocuous agreement proves to be one that will topple their worlds, as each dance steadily ensnares them in a romance that forces the two to question what they are willing to sacrifice for love…

The Week: 16th – 22nd July

What a week for the world! Everyone is insane. Huge pride for Pussy Riot, for being almost the only people at the entire World Cup willing to protest instead of pretending everything was wonderful. We need more people like them.

R.I.P. Denis Ten

My review of Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

Am I the only one who thinks this might not be a good idea?

WelcomebacktoDownton!We_rethrilledtoannouncethat_DowntonAbbeyiscomingtothebigscreen_Filmproductionbeginsthissummer_The folks

Four Years

298-mh17-candles

Twenty Years

Couple ready to cope with dreaded Y2K bug

You’ve got to love the timing of Dictionary.com!

Quisling Dictionary.com 17th July 2018 Trymp Putin russia Treason

Marvel’s Black Widow finally lands a director – and she’s a Canberran

Canberra woman Cate Shortland is set to smash records and become Marvel's first solo female director.

 

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh sweeps us back in time to an age of scandal and glittering society—and brings to life an extraordinary family: the daring, passionate Huxtables. Katherine, the youngest sister—and society’s most ravishing innocent—is about to turn the tables on the irresistible rakehell sworn to seduce her, body and soul….

In a night of drunken revelry, Jasper Finley, Baron Montford, gambles his reputation as London’s most notorious lover on one woman. His challenge? To seduce the exquisite, virtuous Katherine Huxtable within a fortnight. But when his best-laid plans go awry, Jasper devises a wager of his own. For Katherine, already wildly attracted to him, Jasper’s offer is irresistible: to make London’s most dangerous rake fall in love with her. Then Jasper suddenly ups the ante. Katherine knows she should refuse. But with scandal brewing and her reputation in jeopardy, she reluctantly agrees to become his wife. Now, as passion ignites, the seduction really begins. And this time the prize is nothing less than both their hearts.…

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

I did myself a terrible disservice with Then Comes Seduction, because I started it about six months ago, loved it, and then I had to travel and catch up on some other things, and never finished it. I have read about three-quarters of the book, but decided to review it anyway. What I really need to do is go back and start it again – and I don’t have time at the moment!

Then Comes Seduction surprised me at first because the relationship between hero and heroine escalates quickly. In my experience, this is really unusual for a Mary Balogh book. I had no idea where it was going to go from there.

What happens after that is Balogh expertly using the strict (for women!) social rules of the time to force the heroine into a terrible situation. She’s found out, and then pretty much forced into a marriage.

Yes, this is a popular historical romance trope, but the difference here is that Balogh recreates the Regency era in a way very few other authors can. I was hooked on the drama.

I read up until the point where hero and heroine are at his estate… and I can’t say what happens from there!

I do think the story slowed a little at this point, but one day I’ll have to find out for certain.