SLIDER

Continuing My Balogh Binge


Since I loved Mary Balogh's Westcott and Survivors' Club series, I knew I wanted to read more of her backlist. The Huxtable Quintet caught my eye, and then I happened to find all of them at my local used bookstore for a great price. So, since I was still in the historical romance mood after my March binge, I kicked off April with this series. I thought about including this in my April Quick Lit but that post was already long enough. Still, I've kept my thoughts pretty short and sweet since I found this series lackluster overall.

First Comes Marriage introduces readers to the Huxtable siblings – three sisters and a brother – who find themselves unexpectedly thrust into a position of prominence after life in a country village. I was immediately invested in their journey but didn't particularly love the romance. It was fun to see the heroine butt heads with the hero, but I got tired of hearing about how plain she looked. I So Liked It overall but don't see myself re-reading it.

I continued to Then Comes Seduction and was more invested but also had issues with the hero. He mostly redeemed himself by the end, but it definitely wasn't the best start. I found their conversations really odd, too. Their supposedly witty dialogue came across kinda awkward or forced, and I didn't feel like the heroine had enough personality. The last third was good enough that I almost forgot the meh beginning, so I So Okay With It by the end.

Although I hadn't been looking forward to At Last Comes Love (because that sibling annoyed me the most), I was shocked when she totally stole my heart! This was my second favorite of the series, and I loved how it dealt with society's reaction to scandal. The heroine had a ton of growth, and I loved her first meeting with the hero. The drama at the end was a bit contrived, and the story overall is definitely slow but I'm happy to say I still So Liked It.

After that surprise, I was bummed to realize that Seducing an Angel was my least favorite of the series. I was so excited for the brother to find love, but I hated this romance. The heroine made me so mad, even though I understood some of what prompted her behavior. I honestly had no idea how or why the hero fell in love with her! I was just So Okay With It, but I had hopes that the last book would end on a high note.

Thankfully, A Secret Affair was my favorite of the series! It made the unevenness of the previous books and the time I'd invested feel like it was worth it. This story focuses on a cousin of the four siblings, and there was so much mystery surrounding him. The reveal was as great as I'd hoped! And the heroine? My goodness, I loved how she defied what everyone thought about her! I So Enjoyed It and have found myself thinking about it since finishing.

Although it paled in comparison to the other series I've read from Balogh, I don't regret giving this one I try. It's fun to explore an author's backlist, even when it doesn't totally work out. The last book is the only I can see myself re-reading one day and is the only one I'd recommend to other historical romance readers, but the series as a whole could be worth trying if you're a Balogh fan! And now I've got to decide what to pick from her backlist next...

So Quotable
“My happiness has to come from within myself or it is too fragile a thing to be of any use to me and too much of a burden to benefit any of my loved ones.” – First Comes Marriage

“[Love] is a determination to care for the other person no matter what and to allow oneself to be cared for in return. It is a commitment to make the other happy and to be happy oneself. It is not possessive, but neither is it a victim.” – Then Comes Seduction

“But there were certain moments in life that forever defined one as a person – in one's own estimation, anyway. And one's own self esteem, when all was said and done, was of far more importance than the fickle esteem of one's peers.” – At Last Comes Love

“By being kind to her when he had absolutely no reason to be, he had reminded her of her own worth. Of her power over her life.” – Seducing an Angel

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