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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but not Engrossing.
I am not surprised that this book did not receive glowing reviews, but it is difficult to pinpoint what is wrong. As is usual with her books it deals with the redemptive power of romantic love but I found the hero, a gentle giant, traumatised by war, and the heroine, recovering from an unsatisfactory marriage, slightly dull and the other characters quite ordinary. It just...
Published on 6 May 2012 by East End Lady

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lady Muir's Story
I have read several reviews of this book which all suggested Mary Balogh was back to form (some of the more recent books have been less appealing than her earlier works in many readers' minds) and so I looked forward to reading `The Proposal'. In fact I read it twice with a month's gap in-between. And as much as I enjoyed the book I didn't feel it was actually all that...
Published on 13 July 2012 by Helen Hancox


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but not Engrossing., 6 May 2012
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This review is from: The Proposal: Number 1 in series (Survivors' Club) (Paperback)
I am not surprised that this book did not receive glowing reviews, but it is difficult to pinpoint what is wrong. As is usual with her books it deals with the redemptive power of romantic love but I found the hero, a gentle giant, traumatised by war, and the heroine, recovering from an unsatisfactory marriage, slightly dull and the other characters quite ordinary. It just seemed to lack the spark of life which would have transformed it from a worthy to an outstanding read. Even Ms Balogh's favourite set-piece of the house party, where the hero's bourgeois relations , all in trade, show the aristocratic Lady Muir how to enjoy herself, did not have the usual witty edge.The villain was rather insipid too.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lady Muir's Story, 13 July 2012
By 
Helen Hancox "Auntie Helen" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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I have read several reviews of this book which all suggested Mary Balogh was back to form (some of the more recent books have been less appealing than her earlier works in many readers' minds) and so I looked forward to reading `The Proposal'. In fact I read it twice with a month's gap in-between. And as much as I enjoyed the book I didn't feel it was actually all that special.

There was lots of potential in a story about Lady Gwen Muir who has featured as a minor character in many of Balogh's other books including the Bedwyn (Slightly) series and the Simply series as well. All we knew about Gwen was that she had a limp and was a widow who had chosen not to remarry. In this story we find that Gwen's marriage was certainly not easy and that she had no real intention to look for another husband - even after she meets Lord Trentham, the former Major Hugo Eames, hero of the army for fighting a Forlorn Hope at Badajoz.

Gwen and Hugo are from different social classes and a relationship between them seems impossible. But in this story we follow them as they get to know one another and as a proposal is suggested - that Hugo court Gwen - to see where it leads. Is there a chance for a happy ending between two such different people?

I'm struggling to identify what it was about this book that left me dissatisfied. One minor aspect is that Balogh seems to have recently got into the habit of italicising words in reported speech to presumably give you an idea of the stresses in what people are saying, but very often the way I am reading the sentence in my mind doesn't work like that, and the excessive italicisation just annoys me. The other aspect I find in this story is that we are continually being told what people think, there's a lot of repetition throughout the book, rather than seeing what they think by their actions. I also felt that the pacing wasn't always that effective, there were dull sections where nothing much happens except people think about things, often with italics.

We meet lots of characters from previous Balogh novels. I have read the books so know who they are but I do wonder about new readers and what they will think - there are lists of people and it can get confusing. Is this really necessary, except to encourage readers to buy her backlist perhaps?

Both hero and heroine in this story are almost perfect; in fact, the only imperfection we see in Gwen (apparently) is her limp. Hugo's main disadvantage is that he frowns a lot. Balogh's earlier books tended to be peopled with far more human characters who had many faults and made many mistakes in their book. I found the characters in this story almost a bit too good to be true and the `baddies' unrealistic in their portrayal.

Although I do still like Mary Balogh's books very much I don't find the more recent stories nearly as satisfying as some of the earlier ones (`More than a Mistress', `The Secret Pearl', for example). However, having read many reviews of this book it seems I am in a minority in this view - so go ahead and read it yourself!

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book Helen Hancox 2012
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, 19 Aug 2012
I usually enjoy Mary Balogh but this book was bad. You did not get a peerage for acts of bravery (unless you were a battle winning general) the cliches came thick and fast and the love scenes on the beach were quite funny in an awful way, the house party with the hero's middle class relations was unbelievable. I did enjoy the selfish 'friend' the heroine was staying with but will not be reading the rest of this series. A shame as I really wanted to know what happened with Lady Muir.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 28 May 2013
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I can only repeat my review of other Mary Balogh books.
She has the ability to relate a gentle tales of romance.
One inevitably feels the need to keep turning the page to discover what happens next.
Her use of the English language and grammar is admirable.
Far too many other Romance writers and their editors fail to follow her example.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst of Mary balogh's to date, 3 May 2012
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This review is from: The Proposal: Number 1 in series (Survivors' Club) (Paperback)
Mary Balogh was the first Regency Romance novelist (save Georgette Heyer) that I read. I really loved her work; particularly the Bedwyn Series. A couple of these I think are amongst the best books of this genre. However her last 6 or so books have got consistently weaker and this last one is simply terrible. There is no depth to her characters, nothing really happens, bland descriptions and a strange overuse of a 'questioning' style to highlight her characters thought processes and a childlike and distracting use of italics. The gap in the quality of writing between earlier and later books is so significant that it feels like a different writer completely. Am not sure what Mary, her editor or publisher are thinking - this is poorly done at every level. A very harsh review - fueled I am sure by disappointment on the last offering from an often great romantic story teller.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 20 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Proposal: Number 1 in series (Survivors' Club) (Paperback)
This was an interesting book and it kept me wanting more, I cant wait to read the rest of this series
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Proposal, 15 April 2013
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This review is from: The Proposal: Number 1 in series (Survivors' Club) (Paperback)
As always another good read by Mary Balogh. i have now read several of her books and am always entertained.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 1 May 2012
By 
Sara Lynn Hollett (Brackley, Northants Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Proposal: Number 1 in series (Survivors' Club) (Paperback)
I received this book from Amazon yesterday and couldn't put it down. I started to read Mary Balogh's books when we lived in Canada in the 1980s and they just get better. I have often wondered about Lady Muir and am glad to have her story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, 6 Feb 2014
This review is from: The Proposal: Number 1 in series (Survivors' Club) (Paperback)
To be honest, I'm not sure why this book has received such mixed reviews. In itself it is a very good novel and I would encourage MB fans to give it a chance. Indeed, the reviews nearly put me off and I'm glad I read it. MB's writing is certainly on form. I really enjoyed Lady Muir's and Hugo's story. I do feel that certain plot lines could have been developed further regarding the villian, former Viscount Muir's cousin, Hugo's incident with his step mother, Hugo's mental breakdown following the forlorn hope etc but this did not affect the story. However, overall, I feel that the right balance was maintained between the sub plots and the developing relationship between Gwen and Hugo. I liked the way the romance developed between the 2 main characters, especially Hugo's rather gruff/stiff exterior hiding a very gentle soul.

I do notice that MB tends to recycle some plots from other novels but I still enjoyed the novel and would recommend to anyone who loves her work. MB is the queen of regency romance, she is an amazing writer!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Proposal by Mary Balogh, 17 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Proposal: Number 1 in series (Survivors' Club) (Paperback)
The Proposal by Mary Balogh

If you would enjoy a Regency Romance with an unusual, well-drawn hero, and a heroine whose heart is - as the saying goes - buried in the grave - you will enjoy Mary Balogh's novel The Proposal.

The hero, son of a business man, led volunteers of the forlorn hope to victory during the Peninsula Wars against Napoleon. He suffers, what is known today as post-traumatic stress, and meets regularly with six other officers, who have recovered from their physical wounds. Given a title for his courage, Hugo Emes, Lord Trentham, son of a wealthy business man, prefers his own milieu to that of the nobility's. Life is grim so Hugo rarely smiles until he meets Gwendoline, Lady Muir, a widow, has a pronounced limp, and her own demons to put to rest. In spite of their mutual attraction to each other will their worlds collide and separate or will they find a way to come to terms with them?

The Proposal would have benefitted from a faster pace, but has enough historical detail to satisfy the reader, to a believable, satisfactory end.

I shall read more of Mary Blogh's best-selling novels.
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The Proposal: Number 1 in series (Survivors' Club)
The Proposal: Number 1 in series (Survivors' Club) by Mary Balogh (Paperback - 1 May 2012)
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