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First Comes Marriage (Huxtable Quintent) Mass Market Paperback – 25 Sep 2009
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Peppered with brilliant banter, laced with laughter and tingling with sexual tension, this story of two seemingly mismatched people struggling to make their marriage work tugs at a few heartstrings and skillfully paves the way for the stories to come. Library Journal"
"Peppered with brilliant banter, laced with laughter...and tingling with sexual tension, this story of two seemingly mismatched people struggling to make their marriage work tugs at a few heartstrings and skillfully paves the way for the stories to come." --Library Journal
Against the scandal and seduction of Regency England, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Mary Balogh introduces an extraordinary family - the fiery, sensual Huxtables. --This text refers to the Perfect Paperback edition.See all Product description
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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!
When a viscount comes to stay in the local inn the village is intrigued, especially when he attends the assembly dance. However the Huxtable family are astounded the next day when they discover that their lot is going to change significantly. As they find themselves moving to a new area and preparing to be introduced to polite society, it seems that Viscount Lyngate is planning to ask the eldest sister, Margaret, to marry him. But Vanessa knows Margaret still carries a torch for her young love, serving overseas in the army, and so she persuades Lyngate to marry her instead.
As Vanessa and Elliott settle down to married life, she has to come to terms with his rather sober and unsmiling demeanour and he with her feelings for her dead husband. Some of his past actions may come back to haunt him, along with a former good friend who may well be a rogue, and Vanessa has to cope with her own poor self-image. Can they find happiness and love in a marriage of convenience?
Mary Balogh is, in my opinion, one of the finest writers of Regency romances today. 'First Comes Marriage' has all her trademark skills, including deep characterisation, flawed and yet appealing characters and historical accuracy. She falls unexpectedly into a trap laid by Georgette Heyer who coined in her own books the term 'Cheltenham Tragedy' (which appears twice in this book) and which Heyer used for a plagiarism lawsuit against another author who used the phrase. There were also times in this book where it did feel very much like the start of a series; there was a great deal of scene setting at the beginning and we followed some of the other characters (to be featured in further books) more closely than one might normally expect for a standalone novel. I also felt that the falling-in-love aspect of the book was perhaps a little more rushed than it might have been. Despite these minor comments I found this to be another excellent read which had emotion, action and character in abundance.
Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2009
In fact, it was really a good read and kept my interest all the way through. The opening two chapters did leave me quite confused for a time - apparently, they were intended to intrigue - which they did. However, in my opinion, they also created a type of confusion so that one wondered whether or not they should go back and re-read the first chapter a couple of times to make sure they hadn't misunderstood something.
As one reviewer stated, we are reading about "Con" and then the book switches to what we soon realize will be the Main Guy of the book, however, his name is "Elliott." Ah, well - we realize eventually that "Con" will have his own book someday and we settle in to enjoy Elliott and the joy of the task set before him which is to take charge of the ward left to him when his father died - the young Earl of Merton. But, he never counted on having to take care of the earl's three sisters.
I love the Huxtable family and truly enjoyed some of the scenes with Elliott and Vanessa. She was a lovable gal and she never beat around the bush. If she was troubled by something, she brought the matter up - no long, lengthy misunderstandings with the people she cared about. I despise the never ending misunderstandings between the H/h that some authors feel are vital to romance novels - didn't happen in this book.
*Spoiler Alert* Yes, I prefer my Main Guys to be a little less melancholy but he did meet the right gal to help him learn to enjoy life. I didn't like it that he paid that last visit to Anna (his former mistress) to make certain she understood things were over between them and I hated it when his former mistress joined up with Vanessa in the park to torment her when Vanessa didn't even know about her. Elliott deserved more payback than what he got for that particular happening. Ugh! I so admired Vanessa in her forthrightness to set Con straight for his part in her pain with Anna. Badly done, Con! Even if he meant it to make Elliott ill at ease, it wasn't worth hurting Vanessa.
All in all, I enjoyed the book and loved the fact that Elliott decided to break the mold of his father's and grandfather's lifestyles by being faithful to Vanessa.