Mary Balogh is breaking my heart. As I mentioned previously, I was wary of this new Huxtable family series. Could they possibly compare to the Bedwyns? --one of the most memorable and fabulous families of romance novel history? I was skeptical, and it appears for good reason. I could tell right from the get-go that Constantine was the most interesting character in this family, and his story has yet to be told. Why did Balogh need to release so many books in such a short amount of time? Not sure what's up with this blitzkrieg of releases, but my feeling is that her writing suffered accordingly. There's something to be said for waiting a whole year for this priceless treasure, a new Balogh book! Yeah, sometimes it's painful, but it makes the book all the more special.
This series started with First Comes Marriage, which offered some possibilities and a sweet love story. The second installment, Then Comes Seduction, was not good. Boring characters make for boring stories. The third book, At Last Comes Love, was a huge improvement, since the characters (particularly the hero Duncan) were much more interesting. However, Balogh has fallen again with Stephen's story, Seducing An Angel. I must admit I never found his character all that intriguing in the previous books. These Huxtables are much too tame for Balogh's usual sense of drama. I also don't really dig heroes with cherubic blonde curls...I know, that's my own personal preference, but there you have it. Now, if he looked like an angel, but was really a devil....that would have made a cool story! But no, he looked like an angel, and he basically is an angel. Bor-ing! Once again, the non-Huxtable characters turn out to be much more interesting -- Cassandra is rumored to have axe-murdered her husband and is now determined to live as a courtesan to survive. The very things that I usually love about Balogh books, such as the long-winded dialogue teasing apart the definition of love, etc., etc., are starting to wear on my nerves. If the characters aren't up to the task, then her books are not successful. Because I am a huge Balogh fan, I'm going to give this book a B-, mostly for effort! (I think you can all tell why my ninth grade science students loved me, right? Easy grader, in addition to showing Arnold Schwarzenegger movies during lab!). But for those of you who are looking for something as wonderful as Simply Love or More Than A Mistress, you will be sorely disappointed. Grade: B-
Thinking I should wait and buy the paperback next time,