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Balogh Discussion from Recently Read Thread Split Off
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stl_reader



Joined: 03 Aug 2011
Posts: 226
Location: Missouri

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:27 pm    Post subject: Balogh Discussion from Recently Read Thread Split Off Reply with quote

Just finished a 1993 Mary Balogh gem entitled (appropriately enough) A Precious Jewel. Other posters have brought it up in other threads, I see, but I just wanted to add how much I enjoyed it!

After a rather disappointing past month with some highly anticipated new novels from Eloisa James, Julie Anne Long, and the like, I stumbled on APJ at the library and decided to give it a go. I'm very happy I did.

The story line: A lady-turned-prostitute becomes a wealthy (presumably) young man's mistress, and their relationship develops slowly into something more.

There was so much to like about this book, for anyone on these boards who hasn't read it yet. The mistress, Priss, knew her place and acted accordingly, even though it distressed her in various situations. Her patron, Gerald, was not overly gallant. He paid for her services and treated her nicely, but never thought of her as any more than a mistress (at least, for most of the book).

I must admit, APJ had more the feel of a novella to me -- short, needing to be fleshed out to give proper depth to the developing relationship and to better explore what was going on in the H/h's minds at key moments.

Also, there were some plot points that I did not understand, like why Priss had to wait until she was 30 for her mother's inheritance.

No matter. It was still a very engaging read, and as with several other Balogh novels, I found myself thinking about it (inventing an epilogue as well as other could-have-happened scenes) long after I finished reading it.
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mirole



Joined: 06 Aug 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stl_reader: A Precious Jewel is my favorite Balogh (I've read eight so far)!
It was my first and I remember I was not interested in that storyline at all but then decided to give it a try after hearing lots of recommendations. It proves again for me that a talented author can make any storyline interesting.

For me it was perfect length as it was, and I understand that we meet h and H again in The Christmas Bride (the book about H's stepmother).

Similar to your situation, Mary Balogh is a go-to author for me after frustrating historical reads, she or traditional Regencies.
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1076
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Also, there were some plot points that I did not understand, like why Priss had to wait until she was 30 for her mother's inheritance.


It's a while since I read the book, but that sort of limitation on an inheritance was not uncommon. It was not unheard of for a wild young man to have to wait for full possession of an inheritance, for example. This was intended to give him time to settle down, rather than blowing the whole lot at the gaming tables. In the case of a young woman it could be designed to protect her from fortune hunters. A man in urgent need of money would be unlikely to whisk a twenty year old into an elopement if he had to wait ten years for the money. Hopefully by the time a woman was thirty she had learned to recognise fortune hunters. Often also a woman would not have full control of her fortune. It was often left in trust to her children, so her husband did not gain control of it and the capital was preserved. Anything a woman owned outright became her husband's upon marriage, unless the marriage settlements tied it up in a trust for her. This did not change until the 1870's with the Married Women's Property Act, so it is quite conceivable that Priss's mother's fortune was tied up until Priss turned thirty. Usually a woman would receive some sort of income from the estate, but not always. It would depend on the trustees and terms of the trust/will.

Elizabeth
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stl_reader



Joined: 03 Aug 2011
Posts: 226
Location: Missouri

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the great information, Elizabeth. Now the inheritance plot point makes sense.

Mirole, thanks -- I've requested Christmas Bride from the library (via inter-library loan, so hopefully some library has it available).

In APJ, I wanted Gerald -- not the fastest decision maker in the world, after all, plus he's a man who seems used to seeing the world in terms of black and white than in possible shades of gray -- to wrestle a bit more with the idea of whether he could truly marry a fallen woman. It seemed like the kind of thing he would do, once the idea of marrying her even came up.

Of the Baloghs I've read so far (four of the Huxtable series, a couple of the Simply series and the Slightly series, and a few standalones), my absolute favorite was More than a Mistress.

Ironically, the book I simply could not suspend disbelief for or really get into was No Man's Mistress--which focuses on the brother of the hero from MtaM.

I am also partial to Simply Love.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4223
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mirole wrote:
A Precious Jewel is my favorite Balogh (I've read eight so far)!

Just being curious here. Have you yet read A Secret Pearl by Balogh? I was in the camp who didn't like A Precious Jewel, but did enjoy the other. It was a bit melodramatic, but overall a good read. I had a difficult time with both characters in APJ and never warmed up to them at all.
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mirole



Joined: 06 Aug 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tee: I read The Secret Pearl just couple weeks ago! I liked it a lot but agree with you that it's on the melodramatic side. I don't quite like romances where the h/H's happiness depends on some lucky coincidence or convenient misfortune as in this case. Of all Balogh's books I've read only two are full length and I thought this book would have been better if it were trad Regency length.

Here's my rating of Balogh's books I've read:

1. A Precious Jewel
2. Lord Carew's Bride
3. A Summer to Remember
4. The Secret Pearl
5. Dark Angel
6. Irresistible
7. A Matter of Class
8. A Christmas Promise

LCB is another book with a trope I donít usually like Ė love at first sight but it was written very convincingly.
I want to reread Dark Angel because I think back and like it more and more.
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MEK



Joined: 09 Dec 2010
Posts: 273

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently read Balogh's One Night For Love with Neville and Lily. There are many Balogh books I love, but this one was not a favorite. I did not finish it. I was bored. Perhaps this couple was too much a foregone conclusion, and their trials were just too understated. Also, sometimes for me Balogh's writing seems to slow to such a sedate pace, especially towards the end of a book, for me it loses momentum. This one sure did.

As for A Precious Jewel: I loved this book. I appreciated the hero for who he was and what his expectations were and he wasn't pretending to want something he didn't. He was a black a white kind of guy. Well said. The heroine was so sweet.
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bethaboo



Joined: 25 May 2009
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll be honest that after reading The Secret Pearl, I couldn't get the distaste out of my mouth. I found the entire premise impossible to believe and that any woman after treatment (meant or no) would be able to open themselves up to the same person.

I'll be frank that after that, I never tried to read another Balogh. Any recommendations on another one to try?
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babyfishmouth



Joined: 09 May 2011
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bethaboo wrote:

I'll be frank that after that, I never tried to read another Balogh. Any recommendations on another one to try?


Slightly Dangerous is my favorite Balogh. It's angst-free and has quite a bit of humor. It was the first Balogh that I read and I can't seem to find another by her that I like even half as much.
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Lea AAR



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 415
Location: Oklahoma

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have split off the Balogh discussion from the Recently Read thread on the Let's Talk Message Board.
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peajay



Joined: 12 Apr 2007
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bethaboo wrote:
I'll be honest that after reading The Secret Pearl, I couldn't get the distaste out of my mouth. I found the entire premise impossible to believe and that any woman after treatment (meant or no) would be able to open themselves up to the same person.

I'll be frank that after that, I never tried to read another Balogh. Any recommendations on another one to try?


I hardly ever like a prostitute or mistress story either. There have been some exceptions, but I stay away from them mostly because of the bad taste they leave and the general icky feeling.

Try Slightly Scandalous. It's Freyja Bedwyn's story. She's a great heroine, very strong and snobby. Smile
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stl_reader



Joined: 03 Aug 2011
Posts: 226
Location: Missouri

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going to recommend my favorite--More than a Mistress--but if mistresses and prostitutes are off the table, then I'd suggest the first Balogh I ever read, Simply Love.

I realize SL is part of a series and that the hero's back story is introduced in a previous book, but that did not stop me from really enjoying this book.
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mirole



Joined: 06 Aug 2010
Posts: 278
Location: Toronto, Ontario

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bethaboo: I very strongly recommend Lord Carew's Bride but encourage you to start with Dark Angel which is the first book in Dark Angel series and LC'sB is second. They are trad Regencies so both 500 pages total. No prostitutes in these books and only one mistress in the past that had died from illness before the action in the books started.

I wanted to add to my list in earlier post that of the eight books I am keeping the top five because they are future rereads for me and got rid of the bottom three.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1692

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My favorites by Balogh are:

A Counterfeit Betrothal
The Notorious Rake
Lord Carew's Bride
A Promise of Spring

Her Georgians Heartless and A Silent Melody) - don't know why they aren't mentioned more often

A Summer to Remember
Slightly Dangerous
Then Comes Love (the whole quintet is pretty good)
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1661

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll add two Balogh's that I love but that do not seem to be general favorites: A Temporary Wife and Irresistible, along with her more recent A Secret Affair. She's one of my favorite romance authors.
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