Monday, April 02, 2007

Book Review: Simply Magic

Normally I can't say enough about a Mary Balogh book, and I was really looking forward to reading this book because it featured a hero and heroine that appeared in other Balogh books, both of who showed some promise. But for some reason this book, while there was nothing that made me dislike it, didn't seem to grasp my interest like Balogh books usually do.

Susanna Osbourne is a twenty-three year old teacher at a girls school in Bath. She herself was taken in as a charity student when she was twelve and then later was hired on when she was eighteen. Viscount Whitleaf (Peter), is a young and handsome aristocrat who is good natured and polite. But when the two of them meet for the first time, Susanna is instantly put off because she recognizes his title as a name from her past with unpleasant memories. Peter thinks Susanna is beautiful and intelligent, so he keep persuing her.

First of all, Susanna made me more than a little annoyed. In Simply Unforgettable and Simply Love she seemed to be vivacious and fun-loving, but in this book I felt like she was a completely different person. Maybe Balogh was trying to show in this book that there was unhappiness and sadness behind Susanna that she hid to the rest of the world, but I couldn't help but feel let down by her characterizations here. Also, WHAT THE HELL WAS HER PROBLEM WITH IT CAME TO PETER?! Her lifelong dream is to be married with children and a home of her own, yet when a young and handsome man who obviously enjoys her company, respects her mind, and is sexually attracted to her proposes she turns him down again and again? Even though she's supposedly in love with him? Now, I didn't live in early nineteenth century England, so I guess I can't speak for Susanna, but I couldn't help but feel that she was a complete idiot for not jumping at the chance to marry Peter! Balogh's excuse that she was holding about because he didn't love her was just too lame for me to believe. Okay, so he doesn't say that he loves her, but he never acted like he didn't. Jane Austen's books have led me to believe that a poor young woman in those times would jump at the chance to make such an amazing marriage, the husband's verbal proclamations of love be damned (except for Lizzie in Pride and Prejudice, but at least she had a reason for turning Darcy down that made sense). And this, essentially, was the entire hook of the book. The other so called reason for Susanna's hesitance doesn't count because it was never resolved so it couldn't have been that big of an issue.

I liked both characters and all that, but the genuine romance that I like so much about Balogh's book was missing here. It just felt a little empty.

Lindsey's Grade: B-

P.S. Also, enough with the "let's have sex the first time we meet and then go our separate ways" storyline, Ms. Balogh! It's getting old.

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