The Best of…

Mary Balogh, historical romance author. I’ve quit reading Mary Balogh and I miss her. However, she hasn’t written anything that has engaged me as a reader since the 90’s. It went downhill for me with Silent Melody. Then she released her Slightly series and I found a few of them quite boring. Authors do reach a peak and what do you then when your work seems to hit a plateau?

Just keep on writing, baby, I guess and hope nobody notices that the plots and characters are recycled. Well, guess what? We notice. Is the romance genre limiting? I mean how many different ways can you write a love story? I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. In historicals we have the same list of professions/occupations: Dukes, servants, highwaymen, peasants, thieves, Bow Street Runners, earls, mistresses, Lady’s, and the victor’s daughter. Same conflicts: need an heir, secret identity working undercover for His Majesty, low born/high born, on the marriage market with no prospects, widowed and independent, rakes looking for love and finding it with a clueless virgin. If I missed any then I haven’t read it yet.

Anyway here are some of Mary Balogh’s best books for me:

  • Thief of Dreams (1998)
  • Heartless (1995)
  • Snow Angel (1991)
  • The Temporary Wife (1997)
  • Indiscreet (1997)
  • The Secret Pearl (1991)

If your a Mary Balogh fan, what draws you to her work today? What are some of your favorites by this author? If you haven’t read her yet, why not?

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About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
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22 Responses to The Best of…

  1. Ames says:

    I’ve never read her yet Keishon. Why? No one has ever recommended her books to me – maybe because her work has tapered off. I do have the Secret Pearl in my TBR pile, so I’ll read it because you’ve never steered me wrong before. 🙂

  2. Keishon says:

    Ames, your in for a treat. The Secret Pearl has varying responses to readers. Many hate it because of the hero but just keep an open mind and if you don’t like it – don’t be afraid to try any of her others especially the ones I listed because The Secret Pearl is kind of unique. It’s a redemption story and a dark story with a tortured hero and heroine – I thought it worked while others didn’t.

  3. RenéeW says:

    My very favorite Balogh is The Notorious Rake. I believe I have read every book she has ever written and I own a huge collection of her old regencies. Her new books just don’t have the same quality but I still read them partly because I don’t want to break my record (which is stupid but there you are) and because I enjoy her voice. It’s very distinctive. But I don’t buy them anymore, I just get them from the library. The only Slightly book I liked was the last one. Someday I’m going to go reread all the old ones I have and try to figure out why I liked them so much.

    You are so right about recycled plots in regency historicals, that’s why I read so few of them anymore.

  4. Tara Marie says:

    I still read Balogh, but I can understand why you’ve moved on. I agree with Renee, it’s because I like her writing voice, even though at times her plots do seem somewhat recycled.

  5. CindyS says:

    It’s already a known fact that I have not read a Balogh yet (although I think I did years and years ago). I have every intention of reading her but I’m wondering if her books have the ‘closed door’ syndrome. Cause that, I can’t abide. Kristie recently sent me A Summer to Remember and I’m hoping I will get to it soon. I’m glad Rosario isn’t around because she’s definitely giving me the evil eye about Balogh 😉

    CindyS

  6. Keishon says:

    What do you mean by the “closed door syndrome.” I haven’t heard that one before. Balogh is very explicit in her love scenes or do you mean something else altogether?

  7. Kristie(J) says:

    I gave up on her pretty much the same time you did and for the same reasons. I liked Silent Melody though. I enjoyed her less and less starting with More than a Mistress although I still read her. I stopped completely after about the first Slightly book and I’m not even tempted to try her again. I think Thief of Dreams is my fave.

  8. Amanda says:

    I have Secret Pearl in my TBR. I stopped reading her after the last book in the Slightly series. I thought that last Slightly was badly done & wanted a better heroine for the poor hero (who I thought had been totally shafted). Plus, I dislike the book she was supposedly paying tribute to.

    All that aside, I have two from the Slightly series on my keeper shelves- A Summer to Remember & Slightly Tempted. I don’t have any of her earlier work except SP & I’m looking forward to reading them since many say the early stuff is the best.

  9. Fiona says:

    I’ve read two of the Slightly series and hated them both. They felt close but not quite there…whatever ‘there’ was supposed to be.

    I liked her voice and I’ve heard about The Secret Pearl but never read it. I think I’ll look for that one. Maybe her older stuff will have the ‘it’ factor for me.

    …Fiona…

  10. Jane says:

    I very much liked A Summer to Remember. I know that I liked some older ones – her Signet regencies – but I can’t remember the names of them. I get her books confused with Mary Jo Putney’s sometimes even though they have a different voice.

  11. Keishon says:

    I think I have A Summer to Remember in my TBR pile. Thanks.

  12. LFL says:

    There is some overlap between my favorites and yours. Mine are:

    Indiscreet
    Thief of Dreams
    Snow Angel
    Dancing with Clara
    Slightly Married
    An Ideal Wife

    I haven’t read Heartless yet but I have it TBR.

  13. sybil says:

    I have ToD, Heartless, DwC and TTW to read! So cool! LOL I liked the slightly series some more than others and didn’t like Silent Melody. Loved More than a Mistress but not the one that goes with it.

    OH no no no, I haven’t read SM I am thinking of crap something about a wife who the hero thought was dead showing up on his wedding day…

  14. Karen Scott says:

    I wonder how it would work if an author tried a notorious contemp plot device in a historical? E.g, the Sheik’s Virgin’s Secret Baby? Erm… I guess that’s been done already…

  15. Marg says:

    Sybil – are you talking about One Night For Love maybe? it is the precursor to A Summer for Love. I liked More Than a Mistress but didn’t really like No Man’s Mistress at all.

    I have read all the Slightly series and a couple of others from Balogh and like most of them – like, not love! The worst one for me was No Having said that I can’t wait for her next book to come out. Don’t know what that says about me!

    As for Secret Pearl…I read it a little while and it didn’t really do all that much for me!

  16. Keishon says:

    As for Secret Pearl…I read it a little while and it didn’t really do all that much for me!

    Well, Marg, that just makes you special 🙂

    LFL, I don’t have Dancing With Clara or The Ideal Wife and I’ve heard great things about them. I’ll try locating copies. I did have them at one time but sold them.

  17. CindyS says:

    Ooops, please consider that sleep is not happening the way I normally like -‘closed door syndrome (although why I decided to add syndrome to it I have no clue) is the author closing the door on sex. Yeah, I don’t do kisses or subtle books.

    Okay, can you tell I’m sleepy now 😉

    CindyS

  18. Keishon says:

    I’m just surprised that you find Balogh’s books subtle. Are we reading the same books? You need to read the books I have listed.

    And get some sleep. Off to bed with you.

  19. LFL says:

    LFL, I don’t have Dancing With Clara or The Ideal Wife and I’ve heard great things about them. I’ll try locating copies. I did have them at one time but sold them.

    The Ideal Wife is very similar to The Temporary Wife, but was written earlier. It’s also the first I read of the two.

    How are you like His Majesty’s Dragon, Keishon? I am thinking of getting it.

  20. Keishon says:

    I am reading it now and the narrative is pretty rough in spots, but overall it is very good. It’s a character driven story and Temeraire, the dragon takes center stage. The relationship between Laurence and Temaraire is one that is very well done. I hope to be done with it this weekend and share my thoughts on it soon.

  21. Daniela says:

    Keishon,

    I love Mary Balogh, although some of her novels really depress me at times; they’re very intense and never as fluffy as others. My favorites are the following:

    1. A Summer to Remember
    2. More than a Mistress
    3. Slightly Dangerous

    I enjoyed the Slightly series. Unfortunately, Dell Publishing is trying to print her new books (the Simply series) in hardcover, so we are to expect them once a year at crazy prices…SIMPLY UNFORGETTABLE was actually slightly forgettable, for a hardcover. I still can’t believe I spent over $20 on it. I think the next one should be good; I believe it will come out in August. If you like tortured heroes (and I mean tortured…the guy lost an arm, had half of his face shot up during war and is seriously F-ed up), then this new book, SIMPLY LOVE, is for you. Balogh is a wiz at writing tortured.

    I haven’t read SECRET PEARL but my friend keeps on telling me to do so ASAP. It’s been sitting in my TBR pile for months. I will get to it one day.

    I enjoy Balogh’s novels (with the exception of ONE NIGHT FOR LOVE); it’s the scheduling of her releases and the hardcover cost that irks me and makes me want to forget her altogether (actually pretty easy thing to do when new releases are MIA for so long…you almost start believing her existence was a figment of your imagination).

  22. Keishon says:

    I’ll see if my library has Simply Love coming in and thanks for the heads up for it because I love a good tortured hero, angsty stories, you bet. Thanks, Daniela!

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