Guest Review: First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh

First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh (2009) and is the first in a five book series featuring the “Huxtables”. The following guest review was submitted by fellow reader, Senetra. As an aside, I haven’t read Mary Balogh in quite sometime and I was looking forward to reading this one and now, may need to lower my expectations.

*****

first-comes-marriage-by-baloghMary Balogh is on my short list of autobuy authors, of which I have 4 or 5. The first book I read by her was “The First Snowdrop”, and it was a keeper, and I have either read, or have to read, every book on her backlist.

I was excited to see that she has a new series, and even ordered the Book Club Editions so they would all match. Her characters can have some serious issues, and I love to see how she works it out. Memo to Ms. Balogh, in one of your regencies, you inserted a character named Howard whose wife ran off with another man. Howard left a house party when he got news that she came back. Please write his story.

As you can see, I read the book fairly quickly, eager to get my fix. It had all the elements of a great Balogh plot: Character-driven, marriage of convenience, and a(n obvious to the reader) wrongfully accused pseudo-villain who will get his own book. What it didn’t have was my interest. I read the prologue and first chapter. Three days later, I fell asleep during chapter 4. I reread the prologue because I wasn’t sure if it had anything to do with the actual plot. I finally had to buckle down and finish the story. When I finished, I couldn’t remember much of what happened. After going back through the book, I realized that nothing had happened.

Plot summary: Vanessa is a Plain Jane (her deceased vicar father’s nickname for her) in a family of beautiful people. Elliot is a viscount who comes to tell the Huxtables that their brother Stephen has inherited an earldom, and Elliot is his new guardian. The three sisters refuse to let their brother go alone, so they loaded up the truck and move to Beverly…. Elliot needs a wife, the Huxtables need bringing out, so he thinks to propose to the oldest sister and kill two birds with one stone. Knowing that Margaret is in love with someone else, Vanessa offers her widowed self to Elliot and throws in the promise of hot sex. They kiss, get engaged, and announce it. It’s page 169 of a 388 page book. They have had maybe 3 conversations so far, which isn’t unusual for Balogh, but still. They get married; go to London; run into the pseudo-villain; have a run-in or two with the ex-mistress, resolve that issue quickly; Vanessa cried over her dead husband; Elliot gave her the cold shoulder over it, then told a Big Secret about his father; they say “I love you” on page 387. The End. Grade: C.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Grade C Reviews, Romance, TBR Challenge 2009 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Guest Review: First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh

  1. seton says:

    First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh (2009) and is the first in a trilogy featuring the “Huxtables”.

    It’s actually the first in a five book series. The first four books will be published back to back to back to back this year. The fifth will then drop next yr.

    I started suffering from Balogh fatigue 10 books ago and this book didnt do anything to change it. Still gave it a B- tho.

  2. vanessa jaye says:

    seton: . The fifth will then drop next yr.

    Let me guess…. the fith one comes out in hardback, right?

  3. Tee says:

    I liked it, actually. The best one she’s done in a while, IMO. It was totally relationship-driven and those kinds of stories usually get boring quickly for me, unless handled well by the author. I didn’t get bored with this one. I thought the writing and dialog flowed smoothly and I don’t recall having to re-read paragraphs to make sure I got the meaning. If I had to rate it, I would give this one an A- or B+, for sure.

  4. senetra says:

    It is a five book series, the first four are the Huxtable siblings and the fifth book is Constantine Huxtable, the pseudo-villian. Since Con’s book is a year out, I’d only seen it advertised as a quartet about siblings. I missed the trilogy thing when proofing.

    I really wanted to enjoy this book, but I just found it so boring. I am looking forward to Margaret’s story.

  5. BookBoor says:

    My experience was closer to Tee’s. I’ve read some of Balogh’s other works and agree with the tiredness of some of those stories. However, I think the hero and heroine and their relationship in this story developed well. I also liked that heroine would usually tackle any problems head on and not let misunderstandings fester. I enjoyed the dialogue between them as well. The bits of frustration I experienced stemmed mostly from the eldest sister’s self-imposed martyrdom and the obviousness of the misunderstanding between the hero and the disinherited cousin, Constantine. I’m sure this was part of the setup for future books in the series. These gripes didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the main storyline. The hero and heroine actually reminded me of Darcy and Lizzy in some of the early scenes.I would give it a solid B.

  6. Avid Reader says:

    seton: It’s actually the first in a five book series. The first four books will be published back to back to back to back this year. The fifth will then drop next yr.I started suffering from Balogh fatigue 10 books ago and this book didnt do anything to change it. Still gave it a B- tho.

    I corrected that as that was my mistake, thanks.

  7. seton says:

    vanessa jaye:
    Let me guess…. the fith one comes out in hardback, right?

    Very good 🙂
    I believe the 4th and 5th books will both be hardback.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s