Review: Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

Reviewed by Jen

This book was not my favorite from Mary Balogh. It got off to a very slow start for me, though it did improve once it finally got around to the romance. This is book five in the Westcott series, and I have read the previous four books. Even with the backstory I know, however, there are just too many characters for anyone to keep straight. For the first 10 chapters, I found myself tempted to keep flipping back to the birth chart at the beginning, and that’s no way to really lose yourself in a story.

Probably the first third of the book was spent reminding us who everyone was, how they were related, and why they were all together for Christmas. There was a great deal of narration and very little feeling from either main character. Basically, the only thing established was that Elizabeth and Colin thought well of each other but were nine years apart in age. Yes, this is an older woman younger man story. And it completely dominated the dynamic of their relationship. [Read more…]

Review: Someone to Care by Mary Balogh

Reviewed by Jen

40-year-olds exist as more than just the roles they play in life. They are more than just moms, grandmas, daughters, aunts, or even wives. It’s a point not often made in romance novels, especially historical ones. Let’s be real, a woman such as Viola is not generally heroine age material. She is 42. Her children are grown. She has three grandchildren. But she is first and foremost her own person. She just needs to figure out who that is. And she wants to be loved for it.

This is book four in Mary Balogh’s Wescotts series. You could probably read this as a standalone, but there are a lot of characters that may be hard to keep up with if you have not read the previous books. Suffice it to say, the premise of the series is that after the death of Viola’s first husband, she and her three children learn he had never been her husband in the first place. He was still married to his first wife and the daughter he had with her was the true heir to his fortune. The discovery made Viola a tainted woman and her children, bastards. At the start of this book, a couple of years have passed, but she is just starting to really deal with what happened to her. [Read more…]

Review: Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve enjoyed almost every book I’ve read by Mary Balogh, and this was no exception. One of the reasons I like her is how well she does characters with a tortured past. Most often, it’s the hero, but occasionally, she gives us a heroine who must overcome something horrible. In this case, it’s a burden that’s changed the woman’s entire life.

Wren has a purple birthmark that covers one side of her face. In many historical romances, that would be her obstacle to overcome. And it is here too, but only tangentially. The real problem is the psychological damage she has to overcome from a lifetime spent in isolation. [Read more…]

Review: Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh

Reviewed by Jen

As a whole, I enjoyed this second installment of Mary Balogh’s Wescott series better than I did its predecessor, though it was a decidedly slow build. My chief problem with Someone to Love was that I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of characters and the interchangeable use of their names and titles. Here, that wasn’t as much as an issue because the supporting cast was brought in more slowly, after the primary leads were well established. Add to that my familiarity with the players from book one, plus a (somewhat complicated) family tree drawn out at the beginning, and I think most people will be able to follow along. [Read more…]

Jen’s Favorites of 2016

I haven’t read quite as many books this year as I did in years past. Part of the reason is the huge life changes that came with a new job and a major move for my family. The other came with my sudden burning desire to write a book of my own.

So my reading list was shorter, but I still found some great titles in 2016! [Read more…]

Review: Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

someone-to-loveReviewed by Jen

I generally enjoy Mary Balogh books, so much so that she is an auto read author for me. And while this book was a hit for many other readers, for me, it just did not measure up to some of her other work.

The premise sounded pretty good. Anna grew up in an orphanage, having no idea her father was an Earl. It wasn’t until he died and she was left a massive fortune that the truth came out. The story follows her as she learns the ways of the ton and decides how much of herself she wants to transform in order to fit in. The Hero, Avery, falls for her as he helps her navigate the new waters. [Read more…]

Review: Only Beloved by Mary Balogh

only belovedReviewed by Jen

I have been a fan of this series since the very first, but I have to say that this final installment is easily my favorite. This is the Duke of Stanbrook’s story. He is the man who brought all the members of the Survivor’s Club together. He was like a father figure to many, older than the rest, and mourning the death of his wife and son. And at 48, George is definitely not the age of most romance heroes, but he was a fantastic one nonetheless.

This book begins right on the heels of the last one. Imogen has just married and now George has decided that he would like the same happiness that all of the other survivors have found in marriage. He wastes no time in seeking out Dora, sister to Flavian’s wife, Agnes. She is the talent music teacher who raised Agnes when their mother abandoned them. George essentially shows up on her front door unannounced and proposes. Dora has always had a soft spot for the duke, and though she never expected his interest, she doesn’t hesitate to say yes. [Read more…]

Review: Only a Kiss by Mary Balogh

only a kissReviewed by Jen

I have been such a fan of this series and I am a little sad there is only one book left before it’s over. That being said, this installment was fairly good, though not my favorite. It centers on Imogen, the only female member of the Survivor’s Club. It moved a little slowly at times and I felt like I had to do a lot of waiting for things to happen and her secrets to be revealed.

Imogen lives in the dowager house of her late husband’s family estate, even though her father-in-law passed away two years ago. The new earl has never set foot on the property. Until now. Percival Hayes has everything a young man could want. He is good looking. He’s rich. He’s titled. And he is completely bored. As his 30th birthday comes and goes, he decides to take a trip to Hardford Hall in hopes of shaking his life up and finding an interesting diversion. [Read more…]

Review: Only a Promise by Mary Balogh

only a promiseReviewed by Jen

Mary Balogh’s Survivors Club series never disappoints. I have to admit that Ralph didn’t strike much of a chord with me in previous books. And when I was reminded that he was the survivor with a scar across his face, I expected a much different book. Maybe something Beauty and the Beast-y or the kind of story where everyone is repulsed by his scar and only the heroine can see the real man beneath.  It was neither. Instead, the book focuses far more on our hero’s psychological scars and it’s all the better for it. [Read more…]

Review: Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh

only enchantingReviewed by Jen

I think in many ways this series is tailor-made for me.  Each installment is focused on a survivor of the Napoleonic wars.  Each has suffered in the aftermath: some, in more obvious ways than others. You know I love a tortured hero and these books are chock-full of them.  In the hands of a lazy author, this could result in essentially the same story playing out over and over again, different in only the details.  Thankfully, that’s not what happens here. I love how different Mary Balogh has made each one of these books, and especially, each one of her heroes. What’s more, she gives us just a taste of each man prior to his book, but then reveals him slowly over the course of his story. [Read more…]