Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Book Review: Irresistable

Oh Mary Balogh, I hope you never die. You are the brightest spot in the world of Regency era romance novels. Your writing is simple enough that you need not invoke silly plot twists yet somehow is still complex enough that I genuinely care for the characters.

Irresistable is not a remarkable novel. It actually has a rather simplistic plot, revolving around two friends who knew enough during the Napoleonic war when the hero (Nathanial) was an officer in the army and the heroine (Sophie) was married to another officer that she traveled with when he was with the army. Sophie's husband is killed at Waterloo during an act of bravery that coincidentally saves the life of many fellow officers, including the Duke of Wellington. Back in England he is posthumously celebrated as a national hero and the government awards Sophie, his widow, a home of her own and a modest pension that allows her to live independantly of her male relatives. Nathanial and three of his friends were always fond of Sophie during the war, but it has been three years since they have seen each other. But Nathanial inherits his father's baronage and the responsibility of making sure his sister and cousin find suitable husbands. So he takes them to London for the Season, where he is reunited with Sophie.

There is more to this story, but I don't want to give too much away. Let's just say that Sophie has a problem that she doesn't tell anyone about and wants no help in solving. Needless to say since this is a romance novel, Nathanial wants to help her because he knows something is wrong, but she keeps pushing him away. Now, this is a fairly common plot device in romance novels, but in this case Balogh wrote about it so well and structured the problem in such a way that I, as the reader, dispaired for Sophie myself because she was in such a difficult situation and couldn't see a way out. Of course, the problem wasn't a big as she thought it was, but that was because of cirumstances that she couldn't have known at the time, so her distress was utterly believable.

Balogh is just so good. There's nothing else to say.

Lindsey's Grade: A

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