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First Comes Marriage

(Huxtable Quintet #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  9,534 ratings  ·  679 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 E
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 24th 2009 by Dell
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  9,534 ratings  ·  679 reviews

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Apr 23, 2014 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 (Back to the Books)
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of historical romance
Recommended to Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books) 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
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
Jun 22, 2015 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
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
Julie (jjmachshev)
Sep 16, 2008 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
Sep 12, 2017 added it
Shelves: dnf
Completely lost the plot for me after the prologue (view spoiler)

It was almost as if the prologue belonged to another book.
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
Starr (AKA Starrfish) Rivers
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I don't know why I'd talked myself into thinking that this would be "average" MB (which doesn't mean average in the usual sense), but it was definitely above average MB.

Let me explain.

Lately, I've been reading backwards MB's books, from her most recent series to her earlier tried and trues. The Huxtable series I liked a lot, and this is not my first re-read of them. But I realize now that I like them even better than I did before, precisely becau
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
Jul 28, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 stars
Luana ☆
Feb 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Okay, this is my second book from Mary Balogh in a row and I discovered something that makes her books not quite reaching the 5 stars in my opinion.
Each book there was something that she focused with an intensity that makes you bored. In this case was the too much focus on how the heroine was not a beautiful woman, even though she was incredibly beautiful on the inside, with a kind soul, someone who is not afraid to solve her problems and speak her mind. But all that seemed to not matter becaus
Kat Desi
Aug 02, 2015 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
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this for the first time way back pre-GRs in 2014 and it’s been lingering on my re-read and review for GRs list since I set up my account. For reasons I couldn’t quite articulate, the first book in the wildly inconsistent and generally disappointing Huxtables series, had stuck with me.

That’s probably because, in my opinion (not shared by all), it’s the best in the series (I think At Last Comes Love takes the Crown for most readers).

What can I say? I am an absolute sucker for Balogh’s star
Zoe (Attic Salt Reviews)
If you love historical fiction but haven’t read Mary Balogh, you are going to want to change that.
A strong willed yet sweet heroine, a serious, arrogant gentleman with a soft side and a hate to love storyline. We all know that there is nothing that could stop me from loving this book and I have been so exited to start reviewing this series.

When Vannessa's younger brother inherits a surprising title, the arrogant and morose Viscount Lyngate comes to lift the family from their obscure situation an
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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★★★★½ (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
May 16, 2014 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!
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved-it
Loved the arrogant H, who dismisses the h and her family from the first meeting. She's very sweet, and so much more than she seems. She's a widow, and she shocks him by her actions. The book is a take on beauty and the beast, and the h is the 'ugly' beast. Of course she's saving him from loneliness, and hidden hurts. I loved that this is not a 'sweet' story, they hurt each other before they fell into trust, and love. ...more
Sonya Heaney
Originally posted HERE .

I liked the opening of this book – both the emotional prologue and the opening chapters. It sets up the whole series, where a family living modestly in the country suddenly discovers they have inherited a title.

It occurred to me while I was reading First Comes Marriage is that one thing Mary Balogh does better than almost any historical romance author is come up with a *concept* for each of her series. She throws her characters into extraordinary, but historically accu
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
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
Apr 11, 2009 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.
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this book, but for the fact that Vanessa could not stop saying how plain she was. I understand that she was less stunning than either of her sisters, but her parents should not have called her their plane Jane, all her life. Elliott at first thought the same, but with help with a better quality of clothes, a new way to wear her hair, and her beautiful eyes, sparkling smile, and personality, he was quite won over. What started as a marriage of convenience, soon developed into more. I love ...more
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
It felt like I was reading two books. The first one had an asshole of a hero and a heroine who was PLAIN. I use capital letters cause it was the only thing everyone said about her, including herself. Then they were suddenly all lovey dovey and actually falling in love and I was getting whiplash..

I seriously didn't think Balogh could write such an awful book but it happened and I'm so glad the book is over! I will not be checking the rest of series, since it seems it will have more of the same t
Janine Ballard
3.75 stars

After a short prologue setting up the hero of book five (because why?), we are introduced to Elliott Wallace, Viscount Lyngate. Elliott arrives at the village of Throckbridge to inform the countrified Huxtables, distant cousins of his, that Stephen Huxtable has inherited a venerated title, Earl of Merton. Before introducing himself to Stephen and his three sisters, Elliott attends an assembly and reluctantly dances with the plain Vanessa Huxtable. In true romance fashion, she nettles h
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
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Actually.... First Comes a Prologue that is confusing. Without giving spoilers, I was really confused once I got to the first paragraph of the story because I no longer knew who the hero was supposed to be in this story. It took me awhile to get the characters straight, who was the villain, who was good/arrogant/a bore, who the heroine was to be. I actually liked the plot of the story and enjoyed it though. The heroine was very sunny, which always makes it enjoyable to read about. Her drawback w ...more
Jun 02, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2010, romance
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
Mar 19, 2009 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.
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.
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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

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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