The Proposal by Mary Balogh

May 10, 2012
Step aside Avengers! Make way for the Super Angst Battalion!
Yes, Mary Balogh has started her new series, The Super, Survivor's Club series.  We have Sightless Guy, Walks with a Crutch Man, Scar-on-Face Fellow, Stammer Bloke, Desolate Woman and the leader of the Battalion, Everyone-Thinks-I-Killed-My-Wife Gent or X-Gent for those who know him. And, then we have our hero, Middle-Class-Dour Man.  So, we are in for some future laugh-filled installments from Ms. Balogh.

Our heroine is Gwen.  For those of you who are keeping track, you may remember her.  She's Neville's sister, you know, from One Night for Love...remember, he's Lauren's cousin.  You know her from A Summer to Remember.  Of course you know her, and she knows the Bedwyns.  Remember all the Slightly stories.  And of course there was Miss Martin school in the Simply stories, which brings us to Claudia, which brings us to Joseph, Marquess of Attingsborough, who shows up in this book, The Proposal. I now have a headache.  Oh yeh, Wulf puts in an appearance, too.

If any of you have ever read a Mary Balogh's book you know that they are usually filled with deep soul searching written with a fine melodic hand.  And, sometimes that melody is extraordinary and sometimes it is way too heavy.  This one is on the heavy side.  There is no outside drama going on, no villains, no kidnappers, no blackmail, no spies.  Nothing on the outside to build any tension.  All the tension is inside Dour Hugo and Smart Gwen's minds.  Their separate minds.  Their minds that never shut down, they are always bubbling up with reasons for this and that and why this won't work and why that won't work.  On and on.  Occasionally we are given glimpses of some funny banter, but the "middle-class," I'm not good enough, you don't fit in my world, woe is me routine of Dour Hugo went on w-a-y too long.  This is one time, I wish that Ms. Balogh had been a little less insightful and given these two characters something else to do besides think. 

This was a slow read for me, dare I say laborious.  I love Mary Balogh and think she's one of the best examples of romance writing around, but this one missed the mark for me.  Ms. Balogh can write some of the most romantic feelings, some of the best tear-jerkers in the business, some really hot sex scenes and some very tender moments.  But this one had very few of those moments and two characters I didn't care about.  And, I wanted to.

Hopefully, the next in the series will be more what I have come to expect from Ms. Balogh.

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Warm


Luxembourg said...

I mostly loved this book. I liked both Gwen and Hugo, and was able to relate to their struggles as well as to their joys. However, the occasional weight of the new-series/13th-book-since-Lily-invaded-Lauren's-wedding, plus the issue I had with the villain being so conveniently the same guy for both the leads, cause me to make this a very rare 4-star rating for a Balogh novel. Totally worth reading, and I look forward to the next one in the series. And I was delighted to see Gwen get her happy ending after she played minor character roles in so many previous novels. It's unfair that Wilma got her happy ending before Gwen did when Gwen is so much nicer a person, but it was worth the wait. I will definitely be rereading this from time to time.

Hilcia said...

I love Mary Balogh, but I have to agree with you on this one. Hugo and Gwen were so much in their own heads that I sometimes didn't "feel" their real emotions. For some reason when Hugo was relating his deepest sorrows to Gwen, that experience was seen through Gwen's point of view, so it was diluted, and vice versa. So... I didn't get that!

I was happy for Gwen, I loved her character from previous novels, but this book missed the mark for me too. I am looking forward to the next book though. There's always hope with Balogh. *g*

SidneyKay said...

Hilicia: I love Ms. Balogh also. But, I needed a Valium for this one.

Melissa said...

I love Mary Balogh as well, but this truly was laborious and slow to read.