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Another excellent read
on 27 May 2010
Mary Balogh's publishers are having a busy time of it, with several older books being re-issued and the Huxtable series all released very close to each other.
This book is the fifth and final book in the Huxtable series and has been a longer wait than the others. I suspect this is a good thing as I found the previous books less memorable but this one was a bit more special.
Constantine Huxtable has appeared in the previous books ('First Comes Marriage', 'Then Comes Seduction', 'At Last Comes Love' and 'Seducing An Angel') and it was hard to know whether he was a good or bad character. He behaved badly occasionally in the former books, and has apparently got a very dark past with regard to selling his brother's jewels, but it was never entirely clear whether there was a misunderstanding.
In this book we gradually unpeel the layers of mystery around Con and find out what he's really like. And this voyage of discovery happens through Hannah Reid, Duchess of Dunbarton, a woman who is just out of mourning for her much older husband. Everyone knows Hannah is a shallow, avaricious woman who married a man old enough to be her grandfather to get a title. She gets what she wants, and this year she wants Con as a lover.
But, as usual in a Mary Balogh novel, people are deeper than they appear on the outside. When Hannah fixes on Con for her lover, she doesn't realise that she's going to get MUCH more than she bargained for. And when Con finds himself in trouble, he would never have guessed that shallow Hannah might be the one to help him.
There's a lot of emotion in this book and it's a real joy to read, with the characters from the previous Huxtable series making appearances but the major focus on the relationship between Hannah and Con. It's well written, of course, feels historically accurate and leaves the reader with a real sense of the happiness of the characters and their suitability. Another tour de force from Mary Balogh.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2010