Thursday, February 27, 2014
The Temporary Wife by Mary Balogh
It's been awhile since I've read anything by Mary Balogh. I loved the Simply and Slightly series and there's been a couple of stand alones since then. I'd forgotten what a good writer she is.
I bought The Temporary Wife in an unrelated duology. They're rereleasing her backlist in e and this plus A Promise of Spring were together. So far, I've just read the first story and then I just had to make this post.
I loved this story.
The premise may have been iffy, but the follow through was splendid.
Anthony Earheart, Marquess of Staunton is positive he hates his father, the Duke of Withingsby. He left his home precipitously and hasn't been back or in touch for eight years. Now his father has summoned him.
"He claims to be ailing. He reminds me that Lady Marie Lucas, daughter of the Earl of Tillden, is now seventeen years old - old enough, in fact, for the match arranged for us by our families at her birth to be elevated to a formal betrothal."
Tony will not be forced and he wants to embarrass autocratic father. So he advertises for a governess (he'll not "go lower than a gentlewoman") with the intent to marry her and present her to his father as his wife. "She must also be impoverished, plain, demure, very ordinary, perhaps prim. She must have all the personality of a - a quiet mouse." His 'wife' will only be needed for a few days and then she will be retired with six thousand pounds a year and etc., etc.
Charity Duncan applies for the job. Her father, a gentleman, died leaving nothing but debts. She and her oldest brother are working in London to support their younger siblings (4 of them!) and Charity is finding it difficult to find work.
Of course, she gets the job and of course, she turns out to be anything but mousey.
The thing is, the characters of these two protagonists and the secondary characters are so well fleshed out. I believed in their backstory and the reasoning for their gradual change of attitude. And through it all they remained true to themselves. I wondered if Charity might be considered a Mary Sue or a Pollyanna, but I never considered her so. She was just a very discerning young woman and she was a catalyst in the redemption of Tony's fractured family and Tony's fractured psyche.
There is a scene between Tony and his father which had me crying. I don't cry. I am a hardhearted bitch and I don't cry over books. I just don't.
Mary Balogh made me cry. She is just that good.
Of course, since it's a romance there is a HEA which comes sooner rather than later. This is one of those short Regencies that used to be published years ago. (Still may be, for all I know.)
I do recommend this book. Highly.
She made me cry.
** for some reason it won't let me post the bookcover. I'm using Netflix ... I'm running out of engines, lol.