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3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  803 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
Sian Jones had been to Britain's finest schools, but manners and French lessons did not erase the stigma of being a lord's illegitimate daughter. Perhaps she would have been content among Welsh ironworkers, her mother's people, had not Alexander, Marquess of Craille, arrived to run the mine he inherited.
Paperback, 377 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Topaz
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I've given this an A+ for narration and A- for content at AudioGals

Originally published in 1994, Mary Balogh’s Longing is a standalone novel set in the author’s Welsh homeland among the mining community of Cwmbran. The romance between the local landowner, an English marquess, and the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman and a working-class woman is set against the backdrop of the last days of the Chartist Movement, and the Newport Rising, so the novel as a whole has a strong – and fascinating –
Jul 23, 2010 Julianna rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Romance w/a Strong Historical Element, Beta Heroes, Spirited Heroines
Reviewed for THC Reviews
I usually enjoy stories that break from the norm of historical romance, and Longing is just such a book, exhibiting a number of unique qualities. The typical Victorian romance would probably be set in England amidst the backdrop of ton balls and house parties, but Longing is set in a small industrial village in Wales. Although the hero owns a large, ornate castle, very little of the action takes place there, and except for a couple of brief afternoon teas, none of the usu
Closer to 3.5 stars

" 'Hiraeth' ?" she said. "It is an old Welsh song. It touches me here." She pressed her hand to her left breast and flushed and removed the hand when she noticed his eyes followed the gesture.

"What is it about?" he asked.

" 'Hiraeth' means"-she sketched small circles with her hand for a moment-"it is difficult to translate. Longing. Yearning. It is the longing one feels for perfection, for the absolute. For God. That reaching beyond ourselves. The yearning that is never fully s
Ana T.
Jul 21, 2010 Ana T. rated it really liked it
Longing is unlike most Mary Balogh books. In fact there's only one other book that I would compare to it - Truly - which I read last year and loved. Like Truly, this one is set in Wales and it deals with the living conditions of the working class. The men and women who worked on the mines for the big land owners who, not only paid them low wages, but also owned the taverns and the shops where that money would later be spent.

In this story we have on one side the workers who are trying to create u
May 27, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of North and South
This is a very unusual historical romance, and might not be for everyone. If you loved North and South, this might be the book for you. It's very intense and historical, and definitely not an easy read if all you are looking for is a sweet romance.

In the introduction, Mary Balogh writes that this book is very precious to her because it is set in her native Wales, and her love for the country and the people really shines through. It is set in an early 19th century Welsh mining town, which the he
Mar 01, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
I'm beginning to think I like Mary Balogh's backlist more than her current novels. Perhaps it's because books like Longing remind me of the books I loved as a young girl - the historical fiction that gave one a sense of place and time and that allowed one to learn about the time period while exploring the growth and relationships of a specific character.

Like her other Topaz novels, Longing is set in Wales. The hero, an English widower-landowner, Alexander, returns to the Welsh castle his family
Peggy Draper
Jul 10, 2015 Peggy Draper rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mary-balogh
I started reading and thought - another period romance this should be a lighthearted read before bed each night. It turned out to be so engaging and with so many SHOCKS that I had a hard time putting it down and read the entire thing in 3 nights. It is wonderfully written and the characters are rich and fully developed which was such a treat. The descriptions of the valley and the town - it was so well done I could picture it in my mind as I read. I HIGHLY recommend this book..
Dec 01, 2013 Suzanne rated it really liked it
Mary Balogh has remarked that amongst her lengthy backlist, 'Longing' is one her favorite creations because it embodies her passion for Wales, the land of her birth. Wales is the ever-present character throughout the book. In 'Longing', Balogh celebrates the beauties of the Welsh terrain, language, music, and culture which sustained the spirit of the impoverished 19th c. coal mining communities, vulnerable, desperate, and simmering for revolution. However, against this rich historical and cultur ...more
Dec 14, 2014 Desi rated it it was amazing
This book made me feel. It made me feel rather unhappy, and incredibly stressed through most of it, it had a lovely hopeful upward trend towards the end and it was a great story, more about a town and a community than a couple. You become, for better or worse (usually worse) quite absorbed in their tribulations. For all that it really lowered my mood, I could not put it down and it stole my entire Sunday, originally meant though it was for brief diversion read. Honestly though I am now in dire n ...more
Aug 08, 2010 Janet rated it really liked it
Balogh was born in Wales and often shares that she spends time there every year with her family. Longing is set in Wales and it should probably be read while you listen to Welsh choirs (an important plot device). I'd give it a higher grade but it's just a bit too sad for me.
My first experience with this author met with an unfortunate dead-end, the book being abandoned due to irritating sniping and relationship interactions that drove me up a wall. So it was with a smidge of hesitation that I embarked on another work by Balogh. Yet, the pretty cover (yes, I’m a cover slut!), the intriguing story premise surrounding the romance, and the author’s reputation made me decide to give another go here. Paid off in spades!

First off, I tip my hat to Balogh in her efforts to g
Feb 03, 2014 tacitus rated it really liked it
Shelves: have-book
I don't usually care for period novels that feature class conflict. It is a topic that cannot be treated casually in an historical context without being insulting, and it certainly can't stand background to a romance tale. However, I think Balogh manages to bring it off well enough here. My only complaint would be how abrupt the ending was. I would have appreciated an epilogue as well, since the aftermath of the hero and heroin's decision is what I think is most interesting. How will everyone re ...more
Mar 09, 2015 Ani rated it it was amazing
This is a re-issue of 1994 romance set in South Wales in the days of the Industrial Reveolution. It is excellent - writing, story, characters, social context and historical /cultural realism. A weeeeee bit of "Loving the hills" (the name says it - drawn from a moving welsh traditional song Hiraeth which is heard in the story, and unfolds as a gentle theme throughout the book of longing for home/love/social harmony.) An honest, beautiful book. Highly recommended.
Jan 07, 2011 penelopewanders rated it really liked it
Wanted to read something a bit lighter..I can't say this is lighter, but what a super book - very moving in its reflection on belonging and not belonging... (word which has longing in it, of course). The setting of the Welsh was one I seem to have encountered frequently in recent reads. Excellent read.
Timbusz Anna
I think it's one of the best from Mary Balogh!Loved it! It reminded me a bit of Gaskell's North and South
Sheila Melo
Dec 16, 2015 Sheila Melo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deeply Emotional Tale of Two People Socially Far Apart

"Such affairs are unequal things, are they not? All pleasure and convenience for the man, all danger and humiliation for the woman. And ostracism from a deeply religious community like this, I do not doubt. We will fight it, then, Sian. You are my daughter's governess; I am your employer. I am the Marquess of Craille; you are -- an ironworker's granddaughter. Yes, we will fight it."

THE STORY: Alexander Hyatt, Marquess of Craille, comes to Wal
Lisa Creane
This is an unconventional romance book, and I loved it. Pretty much every convention there is about how a love story should play out in this genre was broken, except for their being two POV characters, the ultimate hero and heroine. There’s a gaping wound of a love triangle, a worker’s revolt, an English overseer who realistically takes a while to get up to speed on his mines and mills, subthemes on gender and class and so many Welch names that there’s a pronunciation guide at the front of the b ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Kathy rated it it was ok
was looking for escape fiction with nothing objectionable, but there probably is no such thing? Anyway, I read it...the good and the bad. I would elaborate but maybe someone will enjoy the good parts and be able to ignore the boring parts. Of course this is a romance as that is what this author writes. Unlikely coupling; unlikely behavior, but sort of respectful rendering of Welsh culture during early industrial age.
Jun 25, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I really, really enjoyed this. Alex was a great hero and Sian was a great heroine. I loved that equality for women was addressed on every level, from place in the home to bed to society at large. I liked that there were stakes and that both of the characters were practical and confronted the problems that their differing social statuses presented. I liked the North and South esque background plot with the workers. I liked that the supporting cast was rich and complicated. And I liked ...more
Mar 05, 2015 Frances rated it did not like it
The worst book by this author I have ever read, and I have read them all. Dialogue was stilted and boring, the characters were without humor or conversation. Plot was convoluted, contrived, and dull. there was nothing about this book I liked.
Jun 07, 2016 Jennybeast rated it did not like it
I'm surprised at how much this book upset me -- I realize that it's an older title and I think that is evident in the style and subject matter. I found myself unable to read it without my modern sensibilities, and frankly, there was just too much non-consensual power play for me to find it at all palatable. I understand that in some ways the point of the book is that Alexander will get over his ignorance and prove to be an ally to the unions in this welsh mining epic, but I just can't get over a ...more
Zel Polev
Jan 19, 2016 Zel Polev rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gerry Bartlett
Jan 13, 2016 Gerry Bartlett rated it it was amazing
When the Marquess of Craille finally comes to Wales to visit his inherited property, he doesn't know what to expect. He brings his young daughter and her nanny but soon realizes he should hire a governess. Sian is the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man and a widow of a man who died in the coal mines the marquess owns. She lives nearby in a tiny house with her in-laws. She's been educated but now works just like the other poor miners because she refused to become the mistress of the manager o ...more
Connie Fischer
Sep 04, 2015 Connie Fischer rated it it was amazing
Sian Jones is a young widow who lives with her grandparents in a coal mining town in Wales. Her husband died in a mine accident and she herself works underground at a very exhausting job. Her mother had been the mistress of a wealthy English Lord who is also Sian’s biological father. Being illegitimate, he never claimed her as his daughter. However, as she was growing up, she had access to a very good education.

Alexander (Alex) Hyatt, Marquess of Craille, is a widower with a young daughter named
Theresa Brandt
Jun 08, 2016 Theresa Brandt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent challenge...

There are 'period' novels in which a particular time period is the backdrop for the story and may inform the manners and mores of the characters but has no real part to play in the action of the story. Then there are 'historical' novels in which the characters interact with and are affected by the real events of history. Longing is the latter and as such highlights events of history that were little known to me in much the same way as Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. T
Aug 29, 2015 Maggie rated it liked it
This was an interesting plot that I wasn't expecting. I really enjoyed all the details of working in a mine and advocating for higher wages and better treatment. I also really enjoyed the subplots with other characters.

It became a little annoying though for the main female character to constantly stick herself into every situation. Although it is better than being stuck with a protagonist who never does anything.

The love story itself was good, it was just some of the other things that happened
Janice Liedl
Jun 02, 2015 Janice Liedl rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
This classic Mary Balogh romance is entrancing yet grounded in serious issues of class and industrialization. Before you put the book aside, I hasten to add that Balogh's done an amazing job of weaving all the must-haves of a great romance into the stories of Welsh working class life in a mining community. Balanced between Alexander, the marquis who's finally come to inspect a recent inheritance of a mining property in Wales, and Sian, the illegitimate daughter of another local gentleman by his ...more
Aug 14, 2015 Ballerina60 rated it it was amazing
the one thing that i tend to dislike in MB's novels is that she makes the reader SUFFER so much! however, in this book i feel that she's trying to tell us WHY she does that. it starts with the local minister's sermon about Job, and towards the end of the book you just keep getting more and more hints about "the moral of (all) her story(ies). i think i finally "get" why she always makes us suffer! this truly excellent story does start off a bit slow, but once it gets rolling along, it's a real je ...more
Amy Thorleifson
Jun 21, 2015 Amy Thorleifson rated it it was amazing
A re-release of an earlier work, I found Longing to be one of Balogh's best. She has been one of my favorite romance authors for some time and I have read many of her trio and quartet series. This book, set in Wales, contrasts the beauty of the country with the harsh conditions of the miners and iron workers. The era is the 1830's, when the workers were attempting to organize for better wages and conditions. The hero is the English lord who has come to view his properties two years after inherit ...more
Bernadette Shekleton
Apr 21, 2015 Bernadette Shekleton rated it it was amazing
Romance genre often scoffed at, but this author has fabulous characters and true to life situations plus interesting historical background. Her books are always a great read and she gets better with each book.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 09, 2015 12:36PM  
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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
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