Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend Reading Round-Up Part I

Well actually, it’s a couple weekends worth of reading. I went on a little bit of a binge with the historicals, but did manage to sneak in one contemporary. The first of the historical group is also the first in a new series by Mary Balogh. First Comes Marriage is the story of Vanessa Huxtable Dew, a very young widow whose brother Stephen is suddenly elevated to an earldom. She and her two sisters accompany him to the new family seat and try to adjust to their new status as Stephen learns his duties as Earl of Merton under the tutelage of Elliot Wallace, Viscount Lyngate. Vanessa and Elliot are at cross purposes from the get go, particularly on the topic of all the Huxtable sisters taking up residence with their brother. They must be properly introduced to Society, and as a single man he cannot sponsor them. But if he had a wife, she could. And so Elliot and Vanessa end up in a marriage of convenience, sparks continue to fly, and eventually the two fall in love, but not without a few bumps along the way. This is the first of Balogh’s books that I’ve read, and I am really looking forward to the rest of the series about the Huxtable family. The characters, even the secondary ones, were vivid and believable. The pace was excellent – the plot fairly galloped along with a nice couple of subplots thrown in. I will be grabbing the next book, Then Comes Seduction, the minute it arrives.

Another well know author of historical romance that was new to me is Celeste Bradley. I picked up Duke Most Wanted, the third in her Heiress Brides series. Typically I avoid beginning at the end, but this happened to be the one I picked up and I had started it before I realized what I’d done. So I just kept going with it, figuring I could go back and read the other two in order. I knew the overall premise – three cousins are vying to be the first to marry a duke in order to inherit an enormous amount of money left in trust by an eccentric relative. I thought it sounded like fun, but somehow I just couldn’t get into it the way I expected to. I liked the main characters, there was plenty of humor, colorful villains, and a couple of wonderful secondary characters, but I found my mind wandering. Overall, it was okay. I think it was just a little slow, and I might have enjoyed it more if I had read the trilogy in order. I will probably read this author again, but won’t be racing to be the first to get the next new book she puts out.

NEXT POSTING: Two very contemporary heroines, though one is a woman ahead of her time...

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