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First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintet #1)
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First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintet #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,134 Ratings  ·  507 Reviews
Against the scandal and seduction of Regency England, New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh introduces an extraordinary family—the fiery, sensual Huxtables. Vanessa is the second daughter, proud and daring, a young widow who has her own reason for pursuing the most eligible bachelor in London. One that has nothing to do with love. Or does it?

The arrival of Elliott
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Dell (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 23, 2014 HTL rated it did not like it

1. I have no problem with a "plain" heroine (in fact, I'd like there to be more normal looking women in romance) but FOR ALL THAT IS HOLY 30% of this book is Vanessa disparaging her looks (but, you know, in a comedic way for it is the plight of the fugly sister to have a happy disposition) or Elliot remarking upon how not pretty she is, internally at least. CONSTANTLY I GET IT. SHE IS NOT BEAUTIFUL. SHE IS A REGULAR LOOKING PERSON LIKE 99% OF ALL OTHER
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Jun 23, 2010 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of historical romance
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) by: Carolyn F.
The title of this book is more than appropriate. There is no love between Vanessa and Elliot when they married. They didn't even seem to like each other. But, they had mutuals goals behind the marriage that Vanessa proposed. And it turned out to be the best thing possible for them both.

I loved Vanessa. She was such a sweet person. She overflows with enthusiasm and a joy for life, despite all the trials she's seen. I really admired her for how she approached her marriage with first husband, Hedle
Julie (jjmachshev)
Feb 27, 2009 Julie (jjmachshev) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009-reads
A lovely story that will play with your emotions yet keep you smiling. "First Comes Marriage" is the premiere novel in Mary Balogh's new series about three sisters and their younger brother who are lifted from obscurity when he is elevated to the title of Earl of Merton. The first to find love is the middle widowed sister, Vanessa.

Vanessa is the 'plain Jane' of the Huxtable family. She's heard it all her life and can see in the mirror for herself as well. But she's also the happiest and most joy
4 stars – Historical/Regency Romance

I’d lowered my expectations for this after hearing from several friends that the Huxtable series isn’t among Balogh’s best work, and I mainly read First Comes Marriage in order to have the background for Then Comes Seduction that I checked out from the library, since I so love a good rake story.

I’m happy to report that after a somewhat slow beginning in which I almost abandoned it as a DNF, I ended up really liking this book, especially the cheerful, find joy
Juliana Philippa
A good start to Balogh's new series - not as strong as the Bedwyn kick-off, but enjoyable (3.5 stars)

I am an almost-always faithful Balogh fan and I was not disappointed in Book 1 of the Huxtable Quintet, First Comes Marriage. Though I had some complaints which I have detailed below, on the whole I found the book very enjoyable and worth a quick rush to the bookstore (forgive me, and the postponing of my schoolwork.

The Huxtable family is made up of four siblings; both
This book is PERFECT if you are doing a romance novel drinking game. Every time a character mentioned how un-pretty Vanessa was, I wanted to take a swig of something. It seemed that it was mentioned every few pages. Okay, I get it: She's not the most attractive thing to ever walk the earth, but come on, must you keep reminding me?! It got very tedious and distracted from what little of the story there was. Also, it felt like the author got trunky in the end as mostly everything was nicely wound ...more
Aug 01, 2015 Daniella rated it liked it
First Comes Marriage was more of a philosophical exploration of love and life than a romance novel. It was devastatingly poignant and ruthlessly human in its portrayal of the characters. It really hurt to read this.

Elliot was arrogant and selfish at first. He was cruelly honest with his opinions about Vanessa, remarking that she was plain, that no one would ever find her attractive etc etc. Vanessa was a strong woman battling with her insecurities. She was determined to be happy despite of the p
Laura V.
Recordaba una cosa totalmente diferente sobre este libro. Elliot debe ser el prota menos agradable de los que tuve el placer de leer. Es arrogante, creído, sobrante. Nos recalca mucho lo fea que le resulta Vanessa y lo irritable que le pone cruzarse con ella. Nunca cambia, solo que esta personalidad tan suya decide que podría estar enamorándose de su esposa. Podría.

Vanessa no lo muestra pero ser "tan poco agraciada" en comparación de sus hermanos la acompleja y la llena de inseguridades, su úni
Kat Desi
Aug 04, 2015 Kat Desi rated it it was ok
Historical Romance (The Book Club) August 2015 Group Read (Regency)

I'll chuck this one up to 2.5 out of 5 stars. This was my first ever Mary Balogh read and since I've heard so many good things about her I looked forward to reading this... I can say that I adore this author's writing style! I liked the story line too. Except certain things have ruined the book for me.

Elliot is a character that's definitely going to stay in my mind for a long time... I usually like stoic Heroes in my HRs but he t
The rating here could be partially due to the fact that I was in a stressful mood when I gave this book a shot. But mostly I just kept thinking the writing here felt stuffy. I was 20 pages in and everything felt superficial and couldn't hold my interest. Poor stuffy rich gentlemen has to marry on his 30th birthday. Boo hoo. Oh poor happy but financially burdened family and it's poor young and kind sister who has to marry the rich stuffy gentlemen.
In my opinion when everything is too idy
Aug 25, 2015 Noara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hr


This book is one of my favorite HR ever!!!!though sometimes i wanted to smack Elliot for how unappreciative and ignorant he was toward Vanessa's feelings!
Para mí el mejor de la saga, me encantan los dos protagonistas y hay una escena en particular que me pareció muy original
Apr 11, 2009 Erin rated it did not like it
I'm sorry, but was there a plot in there? And how about some character development? Seriously sucked. The main conflict seemed to be the heroine didn't feel she was pretty enough for her husband. I heard about it a lot. Get over it already!

Will not be reading the subsequent four books.

This one might have cured my romance book reading for awhile.
Lisa Kay
Vanessa Huxtable Dew in her green Regency dress, who is decidedly prettier when she smiles.
Artist: Gilbert Stuart, circa 1802-1804

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(This is a review of the audiobook.) Again, Anne Flosnik does a nice job of narrating in this, the first of the Huxtable Quintet. She doesn’t sound as stilted as she sometimes did in The Prize, by Julia Garwood. Nevertheless, she isn’t great at differentiating the voices, but more than acceptable in her inflection, pacing, cadence, and enunciation. I l
I don't know what to think about this book. I mean, I can't say that it was stellar or that I fell in love with all the characters, but I did like reading the book and want to read the rest of the series.

The heroine, Vanessa is repeatedly considered the plain jane of her family. Yet, she is the only one who married the sickly second son of a baron. He dies, btw, so that she is actually a widow. Her appeal may not be her looks, or the fact that she was already married, but she is good at making
Suzanne (Under the Covers Book blog)
I really wanted to like this book, and I did kind of. However it didn’t seem to capture my imagination and romantic fancy as many other historical romances do.

Although I liked the main characters of Mrs Vanessa Dew nee Huxtable, I found her unrelenting happiness despite the callous way she was often treated by the hero, Elliott Wallace Viscount Lyngate, to be supremely irritating, which, no doubt makes me seem slightly grumpy! As for Elliott, I sympathized with him as he had a lot of bad things
Jun 16, 2010 Sbuchler rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance, read-in-2010
Genre: Regency Romance

I finally gave up on reading this book. I don’t particularly like either the heroine Vanessa Dew or the hero Elliot, Viscount Lyngate. Dark, brooding and undemonstrative heroes rarely work for me, anyhow – and in this case neither the hero nor the heroine really learn anything about each other OR take the time to be considerate of each other. Vanessa spends most of the book claiming she’ll make him happy and comfortable – but I never see her do anything to accomplish this g
Juletta Gilge
Aug 20, 2015 Juletta Gilge rated it liked it
Predictable, but still sweet and a good read!
This is a pleasant study of an arranged marriage which becomes something more. The book is at its best when it focuses on the hero and heroine and their emotions and relationship. The secondary characters dominate too much for my taste, and, although I understand the need to introduce them in a series, I find Stephen and Katherine too trite and Margaret too sour to be of any interest, and actually are more irritating than not. I enjoyed this sweet story for the hero and heroine.
Mar 19, 2009 Jen rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance
This was not one of my favorite Balogh books. It actually reminded me more of her style when she first started writing. I wonder if these were dug out of the back of the closet somewhere.

The first half of the book was very plodding and hard to get through. If I didn't like her so much, I would probably have put it down. The last half was much better and contained that spark that draws me into Balogh's writing.

Would not recommend for a first read of her.
Jonel Boyko
Nov 13, 2014 Jonel Boyko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a charming story. Balogh had me hooked. Her fantastic storytelling combined with the unique and yet straightforward descriptions brought this world to life in a realistic yet vividly fantastic manner. Readers are transported to The Season amidst London’s ton scene. Balls come to life in a breathtaking manner that you can’t help but picture. This is one of those stories that you know must end with a HEA but can’t quite figure out how it will happen. The twists and turns that this story took, ...more
Review Coming
I love to read Ms Balogh's books. It usually a winner for me. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I just like. Eventually I always enjoy her stories.

This one is not bad but not a five stars either. I like hero, Elliott a lot. Vanessa is a different heroine. She's joyful and nice but athe same time annoying a little bit. IMO, Ms Balogh tried to tell something from heroine's POV. Actually she told very important thing about living the moment, try to enjoy life no matter what. A nice example of conver
Elliot Lyngate datang ke sebuah desa kecil dengan membawa satu perubahan besar bagi sebuah keluarga di Throckbridge. Suasana desa yang sama sekali tidak sesuai dengannya, belum lagi dirinya yang sangat suka tepat pada jadwal, disiplin dan cenderung mengampu tanggung jawabnya secara keras, membuatnya cepat memutuskan tidak suka dengan desa itu. Namun undangan dari seorang Baronet telah diberikan kepada dirinya, dan suka atau tidak suka, ia harus datang ke sebuah pesta Valentine yang diadakan, mes ...more
Aug 10, 2015 SuziєQtyPyє rated it did not like it
Firstly, I gave up on reading this book. I persevered as long as I could, but I didn’t particularly like either the heroine Vanessa or the hero Elliot. There was far too much focus on Vanessa's plain looks which made me a little cranky with Balogh's writing. And Elliot's attitude annoyed me. It was just so hard for me to push on through. I hear the second half of the book improved, however I wasn't keen to waste anymore precious reading time on it.

Unfortunately, I'm not inclined to continue read
Robin (RBBR)
Jul 05, 2010 Robin (RBBR) rated it really liked it
This is the first Mary Balogh I read unless you count Novella's found in Anthology's. I started reading this series about the same time as Lisa Kleypas' Hathaway Series and keep getting confused as to who wrote which. Unfortunately I'm not recalling specifics at the time but do recall I liked it and couldn't wait for the next one in the series to come out. The first three came out in paperback but the 4th and 5th have come out in hardback first and I have to wait extra. This one is as I recall t ...more
Jan 31, 2010 Ilze rated it it was ok
Shelves: mary-balogh
I've had to read several of Mary Balogh's books a second time to fully appreciate them (e.g. The Notorious Rake) so I figured, after first reading this one and not really enjoying it, that I must have missed something. However, after a second reading I came to the same conclusion: the hero and heroine are just not interesting to me. Vanessa's little homilies about hope and happiness, and her constantly telling herself that she is unattractive, were just annoying after a while, and Elliott really ...more
Jan 08, 2014 LaFleurBleue rated it liked it
Nice book as an introduction to a new series. In itself however, it was not as satisfying as other Mary Balogh's can be.
I really liked the introduction to the Huxtable family and even more the first encounters between Vanessa and the Viscount. However from the marriage proposal onwards, I felt that the story went downhill and lacked tension and emotions. The H/h settled into their convenience marriage and realized progressively their feelings, without much of an epiphany or much of a struggle. H
Amarilli Settantatre
3,5 - Gradevole, anche se in taluni punti è un po' lento.
Ovviamente la Balogh mi sfodera da subito il personaggio più sexy e tenebroso (Con) e me lo renderà protagonista solo nell'ultimo volume. Sigh.
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Mary Jenkins was born on 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high-school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curl ...more
More about Mary Balogh...

Other Books in the Series

Huxtable Quintet (5 books)
  • Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet, #2)
  • At Last Comes Love (Huxtable Quintet, #3)
  • Seducing an Angel (Huxtable Quintet, #4)
  • A Secret Affair (Huxtable Quintet, #5)

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“My happiness has to come from within myself or it is too fragile a thing to be of any use to me and too much of a burden to benefit any of my loved ones.” 21 likes
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