Monday, February 16, 2009

A Blast from the Past: Review of Simply Love by Mary Balogh

Simply Love by Mary Balogh (2007)
A friend of mine once commented on the fact that Mary Balogh does not have a sense of humor. True, there is no humor in her historicals, unlike Amanda Quick or Julie Garwood.  Balogh's stories are serious, sometimes emotionally wrenching, and perhaps even somber in tone. But I defy anyone to find a writer whose endings are as emotionally satisfying, and whose characters are as romantic as Balogh's.  Simply Love is one of the most touching and satisfying stories I have ever read.  I cry repeatedly while reading this book.  Balogh introduced Anne Jewell and Sydnam Butler (Sydnam, I love you!) in previous books as secondary characters, and thank the good Lord, she resurrected them in this wonderful tale.  Both have been badly beaten down by the events of their lives.  Their stilted dialogue and awkward courtship blossom into something glorious and life-affirming for both of them.  The symmetry of this story, two broken souls who are able to provide each other with the will and strength to embrace life once again, is simply perfect.  My only complaint about Simply Love is that I felt bereft when I finished it.  I wanted more!  It's everything romance should be. Grade: A+
Feeling inspired, Penelope

2 comments:

W. Weber said...

Mary Balogh is without a doubt the number one author in the Regency genre from the male perspective. A few years ago, while on vacation, I borrowed a book from my daughter. It was "Slightly Tempted" and I was "slightly" hooked. I got all the Bedwyn series including the "A Summer To Remember" book in which Mary introduced the Bedwyns. Since then I have obtained her entire backlist and read them all as well as the newer "Simply" series. When a new Balogh book hits the shelf it means a sleepless night for me as I can't put it down until finished.
I do have to take exception to Penelope's friend who doesn't think Mary has a sense of humor. She (or he) must not have read "Lady With A Black Umbrella" or "A Famous Heroine".
Probably not very many men who would even admit to reading a Regency Romance novel but I just love Mary Baloghs stories and since I'm a rereader I know all her characters intimately.

Penelope said...

W. Weber, thank you so much for leaving a wonderful comment from the "male perspective"- I am tickled!!! Also, just checking to make sure you also read Balogh's More Than A Mistress, which is fantastic. That's another one of my all-time favorites. And, for the record, I think it's fabulous that a man is admitting to reading a Regency romance novel! (Have you read any Stephanie Laurens? Try Devil's Bride, the first of the Cynster novels, for an introduction...you'll love those, too!)