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3.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,431 ratings  ·  156 reviews
From New York Times bestselling legend and author of the Survivors' Club series comes a cherished novel about the risks and the compromises that come with falling in love.…
Governess and mistress—he wanted her as both.…

The illegitimate daughter of an English lord, Sian Jones abandoned her heritage to live in a stalwart coal mining community in South Wales. Empowered by
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Signet (first published December 1st 1994)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,431 ratings  ·  156 reviews

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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 –
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Preeti ♥︎ Her Bookshelves
This book has a gloomy tone, with a feeling of impending doom looming all through.
And so, I felt antsy and unsettled throughout. Obviously, it doesn't have the typical Mary Balogh regency flavor. The only other book (that I've read of hers) that comes somewhat close in having a dark theme is The Secret Pearl)
But, this is a Very Engrossing book for all that.

There are lots of detailed and noteworthy reviews out there and I'll just add my two bit.
*Major spoilers*(view spoiler)
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
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Connie G
Mar 14, 2020 rated it liked it
"Hiraeth. The deep--the bone deep--longing for something beyond himself. The longing to be a part of the beauty and the passion and the soul of this little part of Wales. The yearning for--he shook his head. There was no real word for it."

Mary Balogh's historical romance is set in the hills and valleys of a Welsh mining village during the Industrial Revolution. In 1839 the Chartist Movement is gaining supporters to fight for safer working conditions and better pay for the miners and iron workers
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-2017-faves
He felt something—some longing, some yearning that he could not quite grasp or name. Some sense, perhaps, of being an outsider in something that was beautiful. Some sense of being in a place where he did not belong but wanted to belong. Some sense of—home.

Wow, ok. This was the book that made me finally go...oh now I get it, why everyone seems to love Mary Balogh. I had attempted a few books (and after some research, apparently the wrong books) and just thought she might not have been
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

I had to stop listening to this one a third of the way in the audiobook. The heroine showed signs of intelligence and as soon as I started rooting for her, she reverted to an idiotic ball of insecurities that I eventually had no patience for.

It did not help one bit that the biggest part of the book (at least so far) deals with a revolution brewing amongst the workers of the hero's mine.

I liked the hero, who knew he was out of his element and was doing his best to learn as much as he could as fas
Lit Reader
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
First of all: I have no idea why this book isn't one of the most popular Mary Balogh's out there...! It is a fantastic, top quality read, complex, historically dense, angsty and bittersweet.

Second: the storytelling is great, strong emotions are conveyed, and the title, "Longing" is accurately chosen and represented throughout the book. All characters are believable, well outlined, and stand out alive and real from the page.

Third & last: the angst factor was at times too much for me, I'm not fo
Feb 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
I've listened to this for 3 hours, and at last, decided to call it quits. Longing is very different from Balogh's other books, more literary and entrenched in history, which wasn't quite what I was looking for at the moment. The pacing was also extremely slow, which again, wasn't working for me.
Peggy Draper
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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..
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.
I've seen this author several times at the library/bookstore and always felt overwhelmed with where to begin. Thankfully, my amazing book buddy (Thanks, T) recommend this standalone as a starter.

Longing was splendid; a perfect mixture of family, community, and romance. I cannot wait to read more from Balogh.
2.5/5. DNF 65%. A rare unfinishable one from Balogh for me and my first audiobook ever. The interesting plot premise is of the English marquess hero and coal-mine owner coming to Wales to inspect and take charge of his estate and mine during the height of the industrial revolt for increased worker's right. The heroine, a widow and daughter of the mistress of a nearby nobleman, had returned back to live with her maternal grandparents in her home town after the death of her mother.

The hero was a
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
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To me, this is the most "Welsh" of Mary Balogh's books - to the point that all of the dialogue and nearly all of the prose is written with a Welsh cadence. For a native English reader, it is difficult to adjust to that.

The content of the book is very difficult, in no sense a "light romance" but far more of a historical/political fiction with a romance to the side. It is violent, and dark, and complex. Probably not for everyone.
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.
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favourite MB books. Plenty of love triangles and social issues to keep you gripped and this story really stays with you. If you have never read a MB novel, I would recommend you start with this one!!!
Mar 05, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me of Sarah M. Eden. Something a little slower paced and more of a character study of not just individuals but of a people and culture. With the initial attraction between the H and h I was a little leery because I am not a big fan of insta-love. However, the book continued to work on the relationship between the H and h so that it became something very fully developed. What I liked is that I came to want to know more about the secondary characters such as the h's relationship ...more
Jul 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Longing is a hybrid, of sorts, between Jane Eyre and North and South, though much more the latter than the former. Balogh's novel explores themes of class issues and belonging, while offering a hero who is somewhat unbelievably progressive but a pleasant break from the jerk hero who is too common in the historical romance genre. Overall, while Balogh occasionally slips into hypersentimentality, her writing is more thoughtful and layered than many of her peers'.
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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 in 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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