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Topic: Mary Balogh & Judith Ivory

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Subject: Mary Balogh & Judith Ivory
Date Posted: 3/19/2009 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2008
Posts: 25
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I've never read either. But I've heard enough good things about both to think it's time to start. So which of their books should I start with?

Thanks :)


Date Posted: 3/19/2009 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2006
Posts: 673
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balogh's style has changed a bit over the yrs. she is known for her angsty style but she can do comedy pretty well too. as a writer yourself, you might be interested in A PRECIOUS JEWEL which is a favorite of many writers that I have talked to.  it was pretty much the first major regency where the heroine is actually a prostitute working at a brothal. not a courtesan, a prostitute. It's a hard to stomach subject but all done in an economy of style that makes it all the more effective.

my personal faves include LORD CAREW'S BRIDE which has a very sweet beta, TANGLED - melodrama galore with a very victorian heroine and a typical balogh matyr hero, COUNTERFEIT BETHROTHAL - one of the few novels with a secondary romance that I ever liked, excellent contrast between the 2. Of her readily avail titles, I loved MORE THAN A MISTRESS which was her first hardcover and marks her more current steamline style. i am one of those people who think her traditional regencies were better than her later single titles but no amount of complaining is gonna change her so i am over it.


judith ivory - my personal fave is BEAST which I often point out as a perfect example of me not liking either H/H but as long as they belong together, the romance works for me. Its a stand alone. its late victorian which is a time period a lot of her books are set in.

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 5:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2006
Posts: 673
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You know, I just read the blurb for ur book for the first time on lori's blog and it sounds very similar to Balogh's TANGLED, except that is set against the Crimean War. Just a FYI.

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 5:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2007
Posts: 597
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My first book by Balogh was A SUMMER TO REMEMBER.  I liked it so much I then read every Balogh book I could find. Went straight through the Slightly Series and  then the Simply Series, and then read some of the older ones from the library that Jess mentioned. I believe some of these older books are being reprinted. Yeah! 

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 376
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My favorite Ivory is The Indiscretion, which I have on audio - the narrator is so wonderful! In addition, I like Untie My Heart and The Proposition.

Date Posted: 3/19/2009 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I'm so back & forth on Mary Balogh, it isn't funny.  I'm collecting her books still, so obviously they ain't all bad, IMO:P  It's just dicey sometimes.  Some are SO good, and then others just totally stink - again, IMO.  I hated Thief of Dreams.  Mostly loved the Bedwyns series, although I thought  Slightly Dangerous was the best of the lot.  I liked More than a Mistress & No Man's Mistress, Truly, Heartless & Silent Melody, but there are some that I had high expectations for - & that's mostly because they're so hard to find - and they just left me flat.  She's a good. competent writer, IMO, but not somebody to expect consistent brilliance from.  Not in the way that review sites like TRR and AAR seem to rate her overall anyway.    Judith Ivory now, is almost beyond compare.  She's written a few books I wasn't overly fond of, but the ones I love - Sleeping Beauty, Untie My Heart, The Indiscretion & The Proposition are A+ superkeepers, IMO:P

Date Posted: 3/20/2009 6:18 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2007
Posts: 7,052
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A favorite for me by Judith Ivory was Untie My Heart also. The first book I read by Mary Balogh- the one that made me find more by her- was The Secret Pearl. I loved that story.

Date Posted: 3/20/2009 11:09 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I haven't read any of Judith Ivory's yet but I have a couple in MT TBR.

I've read 1 Mary Balogh and I hated it. It was Indescreet.  The hero was absolutely awful.  If I rememer right the heroine was either raped, or taken advantage of, got pregnant and was sent to this out of the way village to hide.  She loses baby and makes a new life as a "widow".  Hero come to town to visit his brother who is the local landowner or whatever.  He becomes obsessed with heroine, won't take no for an answer and then basically calls her a whore for sleeping with him.  They end up married but he was just so aweful.  I kept hoping he'd die or something. Now I believe this is one of her older ones so I might give a newer one a try. 

Date Posted: 3/21/2009 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2007
Posts: 597
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Just wanted to say that today I found at the FOL sale a hardback copy of  A CHRISTMAS PROMISE by Balogh.  This one I have not read. It is large print and a library copy  in good condition and for 25 cents I grabbed it.

Date Posted: 3/21/2009 2:38 PM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2006
Posts: 88
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Mary Balogh certainly tried to break out of the "formula" of Regencies with her plots.  I applaud her courage.  While I have collected everything she's written, I admit that some of her books are a stretch.  I like, even in her lower tier novels, is studying her writing technique. 

Date Posted: 3/22/2009 9:24 AM ET
Member Since: 11/29/2008
Posts: 19
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Since I tend to like series alot, especially about families, I enjoyed reading Balogh's Bedwyn series (all titles beginning with "Slightly", as in "Slightly Married", etc.)  Like some others here, I was not enamored with all of her stories, but overall I truly enjoyed getting to know the Bedwyn family and all their history and quirks and foibles.  Read them in order for the most enjoyment, IMO.  I actually liked Wulfric's story the best, the last in the series, probably because you hear about him through the whole series and how dark and cold he is, but how they all love him so much, and then when he finally finds love and thaws it's kind of sweet.

I also enjoyed her "Simply" series, the heroines are not related by blood but close friends who work at a girl's school. Again reading in order helps.  Again, did not love them all the same. I found I could not like the headmistress Claudia (her story is last) at all, Balogh kept emphasizing how she always looked so severe and cold and I never could feel any warmth for her.

I just read the first of her new series, "First Comes Marriage", but I hesitate to give an opinion since it's so new - would that be spoiling it for some? Not sure.

Also enjoyed "A Summer to Remember" very much.  This story/characters are intertwined with the Bedwyns but not part of that series.



Last Edited on: 3/22/09 9:25 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/31/2009 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,646
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Dunno about Balogh, but "Untie my Heart" is my fave Judith Ivory!