This is the most disappointing Julia Quinn novel I've read. I had a hard time getting into the story, her trademark humour and clever dialogue were miThis is the most disappointing Julia Quinn novel I've read. I had a hard time getting into the story, her trademark humour and clever dialogue were missing, and the plot was borderline absurd. I once complimented Mary Balogh for one of her novels "because no one was kidnapped, thrown from a horse, endangered at sea, caught in a compromising situation, challenged to a duel or took on another person's identity as a plot device". Normally, I feel the same way about Julia Quinn. For me, the heart of a Julia Quinn novel is her ability to create charming, funny characters that can also break your heart. This newest novel felt like a throwback to a lesser form of romance - one that relies on plot theatrics to keep the story going. And it was a bit boring too. I'm so disappointed. ...more
A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh is the fifth book in the Huxtables series, so if you haven’t read any before, start with First Comes Marriage. In A SecA Secret Affair by Mary Balogh is the fifth book in the Huxtables series, so if you haven’t read any before, start with First Comes Marriage. In A Secret Affair we get to find out about all the secrets that Balogh has hinted at in the previous books as the story follows Constantine, the cousin who missed out on the Huxtable inheritance by being born two days before his parents’ marriage.
In my opinion, all of the books in this series are good, but the first and last are the best. Constantine is an interesting hero, and his love interest, the Duchess of Dunbarton is fascinating. This book looks at image versus identity, rumour versus reality, and the two main characters have to come to terms with the public personas that they play and the vulnerability that comes with letting another person in on their personal secrets.
One thing I love about Mary Balogh is that she excels at character development. I grow very tired of romance novels that make ridiculous generalizations about characters and expect the reader to just accept them as character development. I have set aside so many romance novels where the hero notices something about the colour of the heroine’s dress or the way she holds her spoon, and essentially says "this means she is independent" or some other character trait. Balogh would never insult her reader this way, and instead lets the personalities of her characters slowly unfold and even evolve. So, if you are looking for quality writing and intriguing storylines, Mary Balogh is the writer for you.
This book stands out to me for a few reasons. It has so much more detail than many of the Regencies I have read in the past. When Alex makes her debutThis book stands out to me for a few reasons. It has so much more detail than many of the Regencies I have read in the past. When Alex makes her debut at Almack's, I could hear the crowd, and see the candles dripping wax from the ceilings. As well, the romance between the two leads has a strong emotional core, rather than being based purely on a physical attraction. Lastly, the characters are young, and enjoy being young. They are in no rush to find marriage or responsibility, and are a bit overwhelmed by the adult status that has so arbitrarily been forced upon them. I haven't quite finished it yet, but so far I highly recommend this title....more