Wendy the SuperLibrarian is hosting the TBR Challenge for 2011. I slacked off last year and read very few books from the TBR, so I didn’t feel like I should sign up to participate officially. Serendipitously, I was reading a book pulled from the TBR on January’s TBR day, even though it wasn’t the correct subgenre.
Title: Lord Carew’s Bride
Author: Mary Balogh
Subgenre: Traditional Regency
Publication date: June, 1995
Her Heart’s Dilemma
Samantha Newman’s heart skipped a beat when she found herself dancing with the irresistibly handsome and notorious Earl of Rushford. This ruthless libertine, who had betrayed Samantha six years ago, was waltzing back into her life. She had vowed never again to become his plaything, yet she could not deny the strong attraction that drew her to him.
Faced with a marriage proposal and feelings that have been stirred by Rushford’s charming cousin, the Marquess of Carew, Samantha must decide if she can ignore the embers of an old passion–and ignite the flames of a new one….
I can remember loving Mary Balogh’s European historicals back around 2000-2002. Since then? Eh, not so much. The Bedwyn series killed my interest: they were all pretty interchangeable, and were part of her move to hardcover. Was disinclined to pay hardcover prices for material that didn’t feel original. But I have some of her older trad Regencies in the TBR mountain.
My synopis of the plot: While staying with her happily-married cousin (see Balogh’s Dark Angel), Samantha meets gentleman who works as a landscaper on the Marquess of Carew’s estate. He’s lame, but lovely company. Except he’s actually the Marquess, he just introduced himself as plain Mr. Harley Wade. But she doesn’t know that and just enjoys his company until it’s time to go back to Town for the season. While there, she becomes entangled with Rushford, a nasty bit of work who nearly ruined her cousin (again, see Dark Angel) and Samantha herself. Slimy, smarmy, smirky, he’s still nearly irresistible to Samantha, who is dumber than a stump. Up pops Mr. Wade to her rescue: he proposes and she accepts, thinking it will be a friendly marriage but not a love-marriage. But then she learns he’s the marquess. And later that Rushford is now her cousin by marriage. Sturm und drang follows. But eventually they get a happy ending.
What did I think? Well, I might’ve enjoyed this if I’d read it when it was first released. Now, though, I think Samantha is a self-centered, ignorant twit, and Wade deserves better. The plot was slow. Extremely slow. I spent most of the book waiting for something – anything! – to happen. Maybe if you’re looking for a quiet, slow read, with very little action and mostly introspection, this would be a good read for you? But I was bored.