Sunday, March 1, 2009

Review of First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh

First Comes Marriage by Mary Balogh
She felt beautiful.
She felt cherished.
Ah, how I truly adore the prose of Mary Balogh.  After I read these two sentences in her latest book, I realized this is why women love romance novels...because secretly we all want to feel beautiful and cherished, and we are sure to find these pure sentiments in Balogh's exquisitely crafted stories.  After exhausting the Bedwyn family in her "Simply" series, Balogh has moved on to the Huxtables, who are introduced in First Comes Marriage.  Frankly, I wonder if she will be able to create a family as superb as the Bedwyns, who are truly one of the most memorable of romance families. First Comes Marriage is the story of Vanessa Huxtable Dew and Elliott Wallace, and is somewhat reminiscent for me of More Than A Mistress, one of my all-time favorite romances.  Vanessa is an interesting character...a "plain Jane" with a joy for life and an intense loyalty to her family.  Elliott, much to his surprise, finds himself falling in lust and love with his wife "of convenience."  What I most admire about Balogh's writing is how she distills everything down to the most fundamentally important components of a love story...namely, love.  And joy. And pride, which threatens the path to happiness, of course. There is a starkness to her stories I find incredibly satisfying.  Not every author can elicit the feeling of spring by describing something as simple as a field of daffodils on a sunny day.  Balogh is truly a wonderful writer.  Although the rest of the family did not spark a lot of interest, Constantine, the outcast illegitimate cousin, is quite fascinating.  I cannot wait to read more about him!   I highly recommend First Comes Marriage, a quintessential Balogh novel, and look forward to more promising stories in this series about the Huxtable family. Grade: A
Hoping for Spring, Penelope