Although I'm not a fan of 'series' and prefer one-off stories I'll read anything by Mary Balogh and there is something comforting about going into a new world peopled with characters you know are going to be around for a while. And she does it so well. The Huxtable family are a charming lot and this book sets the scene for the ones to come so that by the end of this story featuring the widowed sister, Vanessa, and Elliott, Lord Lyngate, you really want to know what happens to them ALL.
That said the main thread, the story of Vanessa and Elliott is typical Balogh. He is divinely handsome but apparently morose, stern and driven by duty, she is not at all obviously 'his type'. In fact she is described as being the plainest amongst her beautiful siblings but she has the gift of joy and happiness. She challenges him at every turn and the conflict and passion between the two of them as they grow into their marriage of convenience is lovely to see and as always, very well done by Balogh. It wasn't fireworks for me but it was a great read. Recommend it highly and glad that the next two or three in the series will be out in relatively quick succession. Most looking forward to the story of Con who is going to be last cos I suspect that will be the darkest and most anguished tale and I love some good angst in a love story before the happy-ever-after!