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The Famous Heroine / The Plumed Bonnet (Stapleton-Downes #5&6)

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,239 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
Beloved New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh spins two classic stories of Regency England—splendid novels of mistaken identity and unmistakable passion, where marriage is only the beginning of true love.

Cora Downes has beauty, spirit, and money, but no breeding. Yet when she gains renown for a daring rescue, she finds herself thrust into high soc
Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Dell (first published January 1st 2011)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars. I grabbed this one from the library in one of my "Regency romance brain candy" moods. It's a twofer, with several characters from the first novel showing up in the second one. Both are connected by a theme of "oh crap we have scandalized society so we have to get married even though we don't love each other," but the heroines have vastly different personalities.

In The Famous Heroine, Cora is a wealthy merchant's daughter thrust into high society when her efforts to save a duke's youn
4 stars – Historical/Regency Romance

The Famous Heroine is a whimsical, pleasing enough tale, but it’s The Plumed Bonnet, a delightful, feel-good story that really shines and makes this two-in-one edition/collection worth reading.

In The Plumed Bonnet, a starchy duke secretly longing for love and a destitute governess requiring marriage to secure wealth from a recent inheritance find themselves bound by a marriage of convenience. What unfolds is a sweet, truly romantic tale of two people who mask
Nov 25, 2011 Jan rated it really liked it
Happy sighs, happy sighs, happy sighs.

What two delicious feel good stories. I'm always afraid I'll find the more traditional regencies boring, because of the lack of steam, but the opposite happened here, I was quite delighted.

The Famous Heroine is a bit of a farce, and has a bit of a duck out of the water feel to it. But I always love a friends to lovers theme, and Cora and Francis were so utterly, utterly cute together. And it's always great to see that the characters are in love, and that it'
Lady Wesley
May 12, 2013 Lady Wesley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amz-rev
This book is a reissue of two Mary Baolgh Signet Regency stories from 1996. Early Balogh is not as good as later, but even so these are sweet, enjoyable stories. As I understand it, the Dark Angel series (no idea what that name is supposed to imply) is about four friends who embark upon forced, or nearly forced, marriages to women they don't love, or who don't love them. Naturally, they all end up happy.

In The Famous Heroine, Cora Downes rescues a duke's young nephew from drowning in Bath and
Nov 09, 2011 Anna rated it really liked it
Ahh, Mary Balogh. How I love you.

I am so glad the backlist is being published.

The Famous Heroine is Cora Downes, who has her "15 minutes of fame" due to a couple of incidents which are much overblown. She is lauded for saving the young nephew of a duke from drowning, when in reality the boy knows how to swim and she does not, and they are both helped by Cora's brother. Later, she attempts to rescue some small dogs from being trampled by a horse, but the dogs really were never in any real danger.
Sheila Melo
Dec 23, 2015 Sheila Melo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Duo of Regency Romances

This book contains two books from the Stanton-Downes series. The books can be read as standalones even though they are books 5 and 6 in the series.

THE FAMOUS HEROINE: Cora Downes is the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Exuberant and without polish, Cora is too physical for refined society. Because she rescued the grandson of a duchess, Cora has been brought to London to find a husband. Francis Kneller is nursing a broken heart. For years he courted Lady Samantha who ended u
Carrie Olguin
Nov 29, 2012 Carrie Olguin rated it really liked it
Two full length romances. These are pure romance stories. No bad guys. No outragous adventures. The pace is correct for the story but may seem slow for some readers. But I liked them, that slow slide into love. Both had a few sensual sex scenes.

These are about how two strangers who meet, show an interest in each other (Not and instant attraction) and then circumstances throw them into marriage where they learn about emotional and physical intimacy. Somewhere along the way, they fall in love.

In t
Nov 01, 2011 Sheri rated it really liked it
Book #1--THE FAMOUS HEROINE. My grade: B+. An old regency by my favorite historical romance author. Could a couple be more opposite? Cora Downes and Francis Kneller took a long time to figure out who each other were. The journey, for the reader, was delightful.

Book #2--THE PLUMED BONNET. My grade: B. Alistair, Duke of Bridgwater, and Stephanie Grey almost missed each other--missed learning who the other person really was. They nearly didn't reveal themselves to the other person. Their "transform
CJ Patrick
Feb 17, 2013 CJ Patrick rated it liked it
This review is for the Plumed Bonnet. This is a classic Mary Balogh with a cynical , all-about-me lord and a naive, but spunky heroine who somehow are able to make it work. I liked the book and the plot. I loved the beginning when Alistair is all "You are a liar but I want you so I'll put up with it until you're so humiliated you sleep with me" and Stephanie is innocent and naive and VERY, VERY LUCKY!

It kind of fell apart in the middle when Stephanie was being prepped by Alistair's family. She
Aug 18, 2014 Cruth rated it really liked it
Author: Mary Balogh
The Famous Heroine First published: 1996
The Plumed Bonnet First published: 1996
Combined Edition First published: 2011
Length: 495 pages
Setting: London and regoins. Regency.
Sex: Only a couple of times. Fade to black. First time ordinary, unsatisfactory for h in both books.
Includes: Excerpt from The Proposalby Mary Balogh

My review of The Famous Heroine can be found:
My review of The Plumed Bonnet can be found:
Anne Marie
Aug 24, 2015 Anne Marie rated it liked it
The first story in this book, The Famous Heroine, is about Cora, a merchant's daughter, who saves the duke's nephew from drowning. The duke's mother, the Dutchess of Bridgwater, is determined to find a husband for Cora. As a favor to the duke, Lord Francis agrees to dance with Cora and a friendship is made. Cora and Francis are seen so much together that Francis is "forced" to propose marriage to Cora. Unfortunate for Cora, she is not a member of the loyalty, is larger than average, and doesn't ...more
Laura (Kyahgirl)
3/5; 3 stars; B

These two books were enjoyable entries in this series. I found it rather frustrating to constantly deal with the big misunderstanding that could have been avoided if people had an honest conversation but it wasn't too destructive. I still enjoyed both stories. I think Balogh's more recent books show a much more polished style and less reliance on standard plot elements.
Apr 15, 2012 Virginia rated it really liked it
Two for one bargain! I really should get credit for BOTH books on the reading challenge, but ah well. Two of Balogh's older stories in one volume - lovely. :) As always, I found her characters human, kind, and funny in sweet and kind ways. There is a reason she is my favorite romance author. I'm glad her older works hold up over time.
Gevera Bert
Jan 24, 2012 Gevera Bert rated it liked it
The Famous Heroine was great, with funny, realistic characters, including the main character who falls in love with a man she thinks is homosexual. The Plumed Bonnet was not as good, it felt rushed, and the changes of emotion between the main characters (love/hate/confusion) seemed random.
May 19, 2012 Linda rated it liked it
Shelves: challenge
I found these two stories just a little disappointing, they did not grab and hold my attention like other books by this author; I found myself becoming annoyed with the characters. I usually love this authors work I just can not give this one five stars.
Sandra Munger
Jan 31, 2016 Sandra Munger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-balogh
2 stories. The heroine is actually a woman with a good heart whose attempts to help are misconstrued giving her the heroine reputation. All her rescue attempts end well but with no help from her. In the process, she ends up with a good husband and a good life. In the Plumed Bonnet, she is on her way to a better life and is robbed. A passing group of theatre performers give her a hat and cloak. The items give the impression that she is a lady bird. When the man who gives her a lift finds out the ...more
Lita Bouquard
Dec 22, 2013 Lita Bouquard rated it liked it
Ignore the Dark Angel part. Don't know what that means. I read this out of order, having read a short story about Edgar, Cora's brother first. I didn't like that story but was intrigued by mentions of his sister's story.
Cora is an educated, well brought up young woman whose father is a business man. Of course that is always looked down upon in these novels. She saved the nephew of a duke from drowning and as a result is brought to London by the Duchess of Bridgewater to meet an eligible man. Pe
Susannah Carleton
Jun 27, 2014 Susannah Carleton rated it really liked it
Wonderful! Two lovely stories of men forced to offer for young ladies they inadvertently compromised. In A Famous Heroine, Lord Francis Kneller agrees to help bring his best friend's mother's protégée into fashion. They become friends, but as a merchant's daughter, Cora Downes is not an acceptable bride for the son and brother of a duke. But after half the ton sees them on a darkened balcony apparently embracing, honor demands that he propose, and circumstances are such that she must accept. In ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Tonileg rated it liked it
Historical English society romance in a double volume. Books #3 and #4 in the series of friends.

Low born (but rich merchant) woman has to marry a high born titled man with the married then finds love plot line.
Cora Downes has been socially adopted by the Duchess of Bridgwater after she saves her grandson by jumping into water and almost drowning, but now the Duchess has a plan to lance Cora into ton society and find a good gentleman to marry. Since Cora comes from a very rich,
Nov 14, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-library
These are the last two books in the Dark Angel series though one of the Christmas books, "Christmas Bride" updates us on some of the same couples by using minor characters.

Taking the first book: The Famous Heroine, Cora Downes is an unusual lead character--a woman who appears to be comfortable laughing at herself and society when it's required. But deep down insecurities even though she has a body built for being a mistress. That's the conclusion of Francis who we met in the first two books in t
Feb 09, 2012 Joanne rated it it was amazing
I love when Mary puts 2 stories into one book.....always a page turner!! The Famous Heroine......Cora Downes is beautiful, has spirit and lot's of money, but lacks breeding. After rescuing a little boy from drowning, she find herself thrown into high society. Her world turns upside down, she is not used to living in a snubbish world with bejeweled gowns and the best money can buy. Cora is compromised into marriage to a lord whose interest seems to be elsewhere.

Francis Kneller a Dukes son and bro
Mary Balogh is one of the best...for a reason. There's only so many ways to write a love story and Ms. Balogh can generally make the reader forget all the similar themes by excellent characters, dialogue, and plot. I love that both romances were character-driven; I am not a huge fan of the "villain" plot in romances unless they are REALLY well done. I liked the Famous Heroine better; it had (as the story itself says several times) an element of farce that made reading it very fun. It reminded me ...more
Dec 23, 2011 Estara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, read-in-2011
Of the two books the characters in The Famous Heroine were much more interesting to me, because Cora's impulsiveness is something that I totally relate to, especially in my early life. I could also see her making the mistake she did about Francis' sexual predilections as at that time the habit of men for wearing colourful clothing with lots of frills was NOT in the least in fashion anymore. I liked what we saw of her brother and father and the fact that they cherished her just as she was. She al ...more
Dec 06, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it
Regency romances, both with sex.

The Famous Heroine - 4 stars. This was an enjoyable story! It takes place a few weeks after "Lord Carew". Francis is depressed that Samantha has married Hartley. He agrees to help out a mutual friend by ensuring the heroine who saved his nephew is brought out in society. Cora is the daughter of a merchant & is sure her place isn't in the haut ton. Francis likes her though & spends some time getting to know her. After a couple of indiscretions that were b
Dec 04, 2011 JoAnn rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
I enjoyed both stories about women dealing with how to fit into the world they will be inhabiting when they are compelled to marry men far above them in rank.

The Famous Heroine features a woman who is being offered a season in London sponsored by a duchess whose grandson she saved from drowning. She is voluptuous and very tall and feels huge and inelegant when she compares herself to the smaller women around her who are also women trained to move in the social circles she now finds herself in.

Oct 24, 2012 Kk rated it liked it
The Famous Heroine - Cora Downes saves a small child and then the child's mother insists on giving Cora a season to find a husband. Francis Kneller dances with Cora at the request of the Duke of Bridgewater. Francis decides to pay court to her and ends up spending alot of time together. Later after they are seen in compromising situations Francis offers her marriage but thinks he is still in love with Samantha. Samantha previously married Lord Carew. Lord Carew and Samantha may have there owns s ...more
This book contained two separate stories previously published separately, both based on one of the characters making assumptions about the other based on the clothes they were wearing. They also involved the hero compromising the heroine and having to offer marriage as a result.

The Famous Heroine (3.5 stars): This story was very cute with the heroine being under a very interesting misapprehension about the hero that I've never seen in romance. And it was the kind of thing you cannot ask a perso
Laurel Richards
Feb 29, 2016 Laurel Richards rated it really liked it
Pros: The Famous Heroine was fantastic—a solid 5 stars. The heroine stole the show and had me laughing out loud, and the hero was equally unique and interesting. The story flew by quickly since I was enjoying it so much. I would definitely recommend it.

Cons: Maybe it was because I had just read The Famous Heroine that I didn't enjoy The Plumed Bonnet so much. The second was a good enough story, but the characters' actions had me cringing more than once. The Famous Heroine greatly outshone it.
Nov 27, 2011 Maria rated it liked it
I was delighted to find these two books of the Dark Angel series reprinted since I have not been willing to pay the out-of-print prices I have found. Now I have to check to see if the first two in the series were also reprinted. The first book in this edition and the third in the series is The Famous Heroine. It was enjoyable but didn't really grab me like The Plumed Bonnet did. I really liked Cora Downes, but never could quite get a handle on Lord Frances. From the very beginning, I could under ...more
Jul 26, 2012 Bree rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, regency
Another 2 in 1 re-release of Balogh's category regency backlist.

The Famous Heroine:
An unusual mis-matched couple - since I just finished Lord Carew's Bride, I was delighted to find that The Famous Heroine features the love-lorn Lord Francis. Cora was a bit of a ninny, but that was intentional, and it was fun reading their romance as it blossomed. Lots of slapstick comedy, which I don't usually expect from a Balogh romance.

The Plumed Bonnet:
I finally finished this novel. It took me well over thr
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 03, 2015 09:47AM  
  • A Scandalous Countess (Malloren, #12)
  • Nearly a Lady
  • Fallen
  • The Marked Men Collection (Marked Men, #1-3)
  • The Bride Wore Scarlet (Fraternitas Aureae Crucis, #2)
  • Marrying The Royal Marine (Channel Fleet, #3)
  • Never a Gentleman (Drake's Rakes, #2)
  • The Pleasure of Your Kiss (Burke Brothers, #1)
  • An Angel for the Earl
  • Captive of Sin
  • A Lady of Expectations and Other Stories
  • The Substitute Bridegroom
  • The Wayward One (The de Montforte Brothers, #5)
  • How the Marquess Was Won (Pennyroyal Green, #6)
  • The Knave of Hearts (Rhymes With Love #5)
  • One Perfect Rose (Fallen Angels #7)
  • Trouble at the Wedding (Abandoned at the Altar, #3)
  • Pride & Passion (The Brethren Guardians, #2)
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

Stapleton-Downes (7 books)
  • The Ideal Wife (Stapleton-Downes, #1)
  • A Precious Jewel (Stapleton-Downes, #2)
  • Dark Angel (Stapleton-Downes, #3)
  • Lord Carew's Bride (Stapleton-Downes, #4)
  • The Famous Heroine (Stapleton-Downes, #5)
  • The Plumed Bonnet (Stapleton-Downes, #6)
  • A Christmas Bride (Stapleton-Downes, #7)

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