First Comes Marriage - Huxtables, Bk 1 Author:Mary Balogh First Comes Marriage is Book I of a new quintet involving the Huxtable family - three sisters, a brother, and a male second cousin. At the start of this book Margaret and Katherine, the eldest and youngest sisters, are living with their young brother Stephen in a modest cottage in a small English country village. Their widowed sister, Vanessa De... more »w, lives with her in-laws at nearby Rundle Park. But life is about to change dramatically for all of them when Viscount Lyngate arrives unexpectedly on Valentine's Day, bringing the startlingly unexpected news that Stephen has just inherited an earldom.
All four siblings begin a new life at Warren Hall, Stephen's principal seat. There they find a second cousin they have never met. Constantine Huxtable is the elder brother of the young earl who just died, but he could not inherit himself because he was born two days before his parents married and so was officially illegitimate. Con will weave his enigmatic way through the first four books before having his own story in the fifth.
First Comes Marriage is Vanessa and Viscount Lyngate's story. Vanessa and Elliott dislike each other at first sight and nothing improves on second or third sight. But when it becomes clear that Elliott is about to propose marriage to Margaret simply because he needs a wife and she is a convenient candidate, Vanessa decides to take desperate measures and intervene. Her beloved sister has a strong sense of duty and might well accept the horrid Lord Lyngate for the sake of her family though she is deeply in love with a girlhood sweetheart who is off fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. Vanessa has already had her chance at love with Hedley Dew, to whom she was blissfully married for one year before his death. Now is the time to sacrifice herself for her sister, who has had no real chance at love and happiness at all.« less
Well done! Once begun, I was hard pressed to put this down and finished it in two days. I found myself smiling as I read through the first half of the book ... this is so reminiscent of a Jane Austen story. The characters are all quite likable and it quickly becomes obvious that no one is exactly as they present themselves to be!
Most delightful of all is knowing that we can read the newest installment every month! Katherine's story might be a frolic and it will be interesting watching Stephen struggle through growing pains. You just know Margaret and Crispin are fated to meet again ... but when will we be given Constantine's story, I wonder? He just cannot be the villain he seems!
So much to look forward to! I'm already on the waiting list. Are you?
Mary Balogh shifted back to her "darker" side with this book, and I enjoyed it immensely! It reminded me of her older novels, like Secret Pearl, where the hero Elliott is so burdened with troubles and new responsibilities at home that he rarely allows himself to enjoy himself. But his feelings run very deep and are quite profound, no matter how little he allows himself to let them show. I found the heroine Vanessa to be wonderfully refreshing and enjoyable, and LOVED that she was rather plain, not a beauty at all. (I get so tired of every heroine being stunningly beautiful, with a gorgeous, perfect figure. Vanessa is more like us "normal folk," and I appreciate that!)
There's some great twists in this story, and it's also a nice set up for the upcoming novels featuring Vanessa's sisters and the villain in this book, Constantine. Dull? Not at all. Not even close! I found myself sneaking back upstairs when I should have been working so I could read another chapter or two. This story is back to Mary's best, with realistic characters facing very real problems, and handling them in quirky ways that added the twists I enjoyed so much in this book. Not quite as good as some of her best, like "More Than A Mistress," "Tempting Harriet," "A Christmas Promise," "Snow Angel" and "A Certain Magic,"--if you haven't read these, you're missing out on some of the best Romance ever written!--but First Comes Marriage is the first book of Mary's since Slightly Tempted that I've enjoyed as much as some of her older ones.
I enjoyed this book. It had its moments when it was a bit dull, but in general it was very well written. I look forward to reading the other books in the series. I am especially interested in what really happened with Con. The author did a very nice job of weaving a bit of mystery into the book.
I am a big Mary Balogh fan but this book just didn't seem to live up to her other series. I just didn't feel the desire and conflict between the main characters. It left me feeling let down but i will continue the series.
I wasn't impressed with the first Mary Balogh book I read. But, I kept hearing good things, so I decided to give her another try. I'm glad I did. I could not put this book down! I loved her descriptions and the storyline. While there were the usual misunderstandings associated to expected in a regency romance, I found it refreshing that they weren't drawn out. The characters actually talk to each other and work out their differences instead of staying made over something silly. I can't wait to read the rest of the series.