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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 27 March 2005
Being a huge J Lindsey fan I opened this book with great anticipation but WHAT A LET DOWN. Don't bother with this book. The idea was to explain about the ancestry of the Malory family but quite frankly the story was so dull you ended up not caring. I still haven't bothered to finish it and have gone off and read several of JL's other novels instead...something I also recommend other readers to do.
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on 14 July 2000
I have read nearly all of Johanna Lindsay's books and I can only say Thank God that I didn't read this one first, it would have been my last! There is no real depth to this book, no feeling. I loved reading about the Malory's and was really looking forward to seeing how they all got on with their lives. I really wish that she hadn't bothered.
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on 25 October 1998
I read this book in one sitting last night. It's only 192 pages and a lot of that is the ever-lengthening recaps that we Malory fans have to endure as the family gets bigger. Since the last installment (Derek and Kelsey's story), the Malorys have been procreating like mad and are meeting at Haverston for the holidays. The plot in this one revolves around the first Marquis of Haverston and his (gasp!) Gypsy wife. Of course, it's a flashback, but not a bad one, although the story is not well-developed. The story of the first Marquis has its effects on Jason and Molly the Maid, as well as James and Georgianna, who are in the midst of a totally unconvincing spat. I like the Malorys, I really do, but as the family gets bigger and bigger the repeating of the pertinent facts (presumably for those who have never picked up a Malory novel) gets more and more tedious. Read this one because you have to.
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on 11 November 2006
This story is a Christmas story about the Malory family who are the centre of many of her books. It's a story within a story as the Malorys, meeting all together at Christmas, discover a journal written by their grandmother and grandfather which explains how they met. They had long heard rumours that their grandmother was a Gypsy, a completely inappropriate wife for a Marquis, but no-one knew the truth of this story, nor the identity of the person buried in the unmarked grave on their land. The discovery of the journal answered these questions with a sweet love story and showed their descendants the importance of love over strangers' opinions.

The best part of this book was the story of Christopher Malory and the gypsy Anastasia Stephanoff. The story that surrounded it, of the gathering of their descendants for a Christmas celebration where Jason, the head of the family, is still unable to persuade Molly, his mistress for 30 years, to marry him is rather weaker. Mainly because there are so many people in the Malory family, they all merge rather into one, there is the requisite Scottish person speaking in a broad accent and, of course, the obligatory American characters (why is it so common for American writers of Regencies to include American and Scottish characters?). I didn't feel that the beginning and end of the book, which were the current Malory clan, added anything to the story really - they were just padding.

Johanna Lindsey's writing style is easy to read and her pacing is good. She makes some annoying errors in dialogue where Regency English people speak with American sentence forms but I'm so used to this I should probably stop moaning about it. Whatever, it's a pleasant short read and for those really into the Malory family it sheds a little extra light on their history and family.
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on 31 October 2001
I have read all the Malory novels and love them and was very excited when I got The Present.
It was great to catch up on all the Malory's and find out the history of their ancestors, but something just didnt work. It felt rushed, the story not developed fully.
If you are a fan of the Malorys I would say read the book to catch up and tie up some endings, but the book does not stand on its own merit otherwise. All in all very disapointing.
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on 12 October 2006
I'm a huge JL fan. Have read nearly all her books! And the Mallorys are among my favourites (Tony & James just set the stage and Regan/Reggie is amazing). It seems as if JL's lost her touch for the Present and subsequent Mallory novels seriously lack the initial zest! Truly disappointing. I'll keep buying them, hoping against hope that it'll pick up again.
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on 21 October 1998
I love all the Malory books and I had high hopes for this book but they were not fufilled. This book is set six years after the last book in the Malory series so there are alot of new children, lucky for the reader, Johanna Lindsey provides the reader with a family tree. The present turns out to be an old journal that appears at Christmas , the family reads it and learns about their past. Ms. Lindsey talks about the old clan in this book but there are no new loves added in the book, so sorry for all of you people who thought this would be a book about Jeremy. Jeremy is now 25 but is still unattached. This book is not centered anyone in the family that we know, it is about past Malorys, which is all fine and dandy but there are so many living Malory's she could have used to create a story and she didn't. Also, I thought it was stupid to make Georgina mad at James because she thought he was going to flip out because she is pregnant. He flipped out when she had twins and she was afraid of a repeat performance. The the only thing good about this book is that Jason finally gets Molly to marry him. My recommendation is to wait until is comes out if paperback if you want to read it.
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on 23 November 1998
At first I was disappointed that this wasn't a full-length novel, but once I started reading it, I was enthralled. Any story about those marvelous Malorys is bound to brighten my day! As a delightful break from all the swashbuckling action they're usually knee-deep in the middle of, it was a wonderful treat to see the Malorys interacting as a family. I consider this book to be the author's contribution to the holiday short stories that are usually bound up in paperback anthologies. Thanks for the Christmas present, Ms. Lindsey!
The only criticism I would offer is that it would have been interesting if Christopher's and Anastasia's story had been told in the first-person as if we were actually reading their story along with the rest of the family. There could have been switch-offs between Anastasia's memoirs and Christopher's, just the way the story said the journal was written. That could have been an intriguing twist.
Finally, let me add my call to all the other readers and reviewers who have been pleading for... yes, JEREMY'S STORY! Hell's bells, we've waited long enough!
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on 4 September 1999
I would never miss A Jo Lindsay book and because I have come to expect so much from her novels, this one was a little dissappointing. The family all finally discover where those Gypsy looks come from but really, it's not the scandal we've all been imagining. And all the usual chemistry between the family couples is missing, except for Amy and Warren! What's happened, have they all gotten boring in their old age? I live in England and have a sister in Australia and we are both avid fans and cannot wait to buy every book of hers the minute it comes out(and trust me, we have to wait way longer for them than all you Americans!!) so it is a bit of a let down when they don't live up to the long wait for them. And just like everyone else, I can't wait for the novel on Jeremy, but I think Johanna is going to have her work cut out for her as his lady is going to have to be pretty great to match Our Jeremy!!!!Having said all that I wouldn't hesitate to reread it and will be buying her next one for sure!!
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on 23 October 1998
The Present is the sixth in the Malory Family series and fans of the previous books will love the opportunity to revisit old favorites and get a glimpse of their stories six years after the end of Say You Love Me. The book has an interesting format and a new love story, the grandparents of the elder Malory's, Anastasia and Christopher. Ms. Lindsey has crafted a book that readers unfamiliar with the series will enjoy, but there are several points in the book that refer to the previous stories and the simplified explanations of the characters do not give the full depth of their motivations to the unfamiliar reader. The conflict between James and George presents an interesting flashback for the reader, but I don't feel that someone who didn't read their story will fully comprehend. If you liked the other Malory books, you will LOVE this one.
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