Review: A Masked Deception

Review: A Masked DeceptionA Masked Deception by Mary Balogh
Published by Class eBook Editions Ltd. on July 26th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 224
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I really enjoyed the concept of this book and Balogh’s characters are always complex and imperfect.  My only complaint is that I just could not suspend disbelief that a husband would not recognize his “mystery” woman as his wife.  Putting that aside, I thought this was a very intriguing book.

THE STORY:  Margaret Wells has loved Richard Adair, Earl of Brampton for years, but he has paid no attention to the quiet, mousey woman.  But the time has come for Richard to marry and he figures that Margaret will do well as his wife and not interfere too much with his life.  As the two settle into a quiet, if dull, marriage, Margaret cannot help but wish for the passion involved in her greatest secret.  Six years ago, Margaret met up with Richard at a masquerade ball.  While she was unrecognizable, she flirted and Richard was attracted.  The two shared a passionate kiss that hasn’t appeared in their marriage.  Desperate to change something, Margaret again dons her costume and ends up having an affair with her own husband.

OPINION:  This is a complicated book. Richard is dismissive of Margaret in the beginning of the book and frankly acts like a jerk for a good portion.  But Balogh doesn’t disappoint.  Richard reluctantly begins to fall in love with his gentle wife.  It is difficult to like Richard because he openly commits adultery, but Balogh’s characters are imperfect.  I enjoyed the progression Richard makes — although I think he should have had to confess his transgressions to his wife.

The reason Richard works for me is because Margaret is also an imperfect mistake prone individual.  She won’t speak up for herself and rather than speaking with her husband concocts a crazy disguise to rediscover the passion she knows is missing from her marriage.

I found this book enjoyable but I didn’t like that Richard commits adultery and never has to admit to it.

WORTH MENTIONING: Content warning that this book contains adultery.  This book is also a reissue of a 1980s book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A MASKED DECEPTION is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: The Double Wager

Review: The Double WagerThe Double Wager by Mary Balogh
Published by Class eBook Editions Ltd. on August 23rd 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 224
Goodreads

FINAL DECISION:  I went back and forth on this one. At times I loved the story, especially the hero and the secondary characters. The heroine seriously annoyed me at times, but then I liked how her and hero came together. Mixed bag that ended well.

THE STORY: Miss Henrietta “Henry” Tallant is a tomboy who has spent most of her life with her brothers and his friends disdaining the “feminine arts”.  Now to be brought out into society, her brother and his friends believe that Henry will be a failure.  Indeed, they bet her that she cannot get a marriage proposal in six weeks from the unattainable Duke of Eversleigh.  At the same time, the duke who was determined never to marry has been thinking about obtaining an heir.  Disbelieving, his friends wager that he won’t make a marriage offer in a month.  Then Henry and the duke run into one another.

OPINION:  I loved almost everything about this book.  The hero is adorable.  He is quiet and supportive and caring.  The supporting cast of the heroine’s family are funny and irreverent.

The heroine, on the other hand, drove me crazy.  Her immature behavior causes all the problems in this book.  Her inability to be reasonable, to see reality as other see it and her jumping to conclusions made me annoyed for significant portions of the book.  But then, I would see her youth and how much she cares for others and I would like the story again.

It’s hard for me to give a good rating for a book where I had a problem with the heroine, but on the whole, this book was worth reading.

The premise was cute and executed in an interesting and unexpected way.  I loved, loved, loved the hero who persevered despite Henry’s nutty behavior.  He was kind and generous and worked to help her despite herself. He cared for her because of who she was even when she rejected him based on no evidence at all. Henry’s younger siblings were cute and how they operated to be the spies who helped their older sister lightened the mood of the story.

Mary Balogh has such and intriguing quiet way of writing.  I love how the characters flaws and all find love while accepting and even celebrating their flaws.  No magic solutions here.

WORTH MENTIONING:  THE DOUBLE WAGER was originally published in the mid-1980s.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE DOUBLE WAGER is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.