Review: Irresistible

Review: IrresistibleIrresistible (Horsemen Trilogy, #3) by Mary Balogh
Series: Horsemen Trilogy #3
Published by Berkley Books on October 2nd 2007
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320

FINAL DECISION:  This book was just okay. I enjoyed most of the relationship and story but I couldn’t relate how Sophie reacted to being blackmailed.  Her irrational behavior just bothered me throughout.

THE STORY:  Mrs. Sophia Armitage, as the wife of an officer, followed the drum during the war became the friend of the Four Horsemen. Now a widow, Sophie resides in London and for the first time in three years, meets up with Nathaniel Gascoigne — a man that even a respectable wife could admire.  Now an opportunity for a special kind of friendship between the two arises and both are surprised by the intense passion that arises. Their fledgling relationship is threatened by the fact that Sophie has a secret — she is being blackmailed.

OPINION:  I liked how this book developed in the relationship between Nathaniel and Sophie. Two adults who want physical companionship begin to develop an emotional connection that they didn’t expect. They were sweet together and I liked them.

Unfortunately, the blackmail plot drove most of the action in the story.  Because of that Sophie’s continuing actions in giving in to the blackmail began to wear on me.  Not because I didn’t understand that she was afraid and wanting to be independent and used to hiding.  What I expected was that once the blackmail was revealed that she would gain a stronger emotional connection with Nathaniel by admitting her fears and anger. Instead, the story fell flat emotionally for me at that point.

I’m a big fan of Mary Balogh especially her restrained emotional intensity but I think this book was too emotionally restrained for me. On the other hand, I loved the ending where Nathaniel confesses his love for Sophie.  I thought that moment was almost perfect.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Fans of the series will know that there are four horsemen and thankfully although there are only three books, the fourth horseman gets his HEA in a secondary romance in this book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  IRRESISTIBLE is the third and final book of the Horseman Trilogy. It takes place 2 years after the events in the first two books in the series.  Although characters from those books appear, this book does not rely on those books at all and thus it can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 2.5 stars.


Review: Unforgiven

Review: UnforgivenUnforgiven: The Horsemen Trilogy by Mary Balogh
Series: The Horseman Trilogy #2
Published by Signet on July 12th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400

FINAL DECISION:  Oh, I wish I could have liked this book but I ended up being annoyed with the characters lack of communication, continued antipathy toward one another and then how quickly all the past was so neatly resolved.

THE STORY:  Kenneth Woodfall has returned from war to find that the girl he once loved and then hated has just gotten betrothed.  Miss Moira Hayes fell in love with Kenneth and met him secretly until the long running feud between the families flared up again and she could never forgive him. She blames him for the death of her brother.  There is nothing but passion between Kenneth and Moira whether it be love or hate. When a snowstorm forces them to take shelter together, their lives are changed.

OPINION:  I really wanted to like this book after enjoying the first book in the series, but unfortunately, I just got tired of the antipathy between the characters.  Almost the entirety of the book consists of arguments and sometimes outright hatred especially from Moira.  Then at the end, she learns the truth and never acknowledges that she was a jerk. In the same way I expect heroes to grovel when they have been grossly unfair, I expected her to at least admit that she was wrong.  Nope, not here.  For me, when the conflict between the characters is so intense, I believe that it takes more than a couple of pages at the end to completely resolve the conflict.

I think the antipathy from Moira was just too strong during the book so everything else was overwhelmed. Their romantic moments fell flat because of it. Their first sexual encounter was strange and just didn’t work for me.

So what did I like?  I liked Kenneth who I felt was a much more well rounded and likeable character.  Despite Moira’s treatment of him, he was a nice guy most of the time.  I also liked the Romeo and Juliet family dispute part of the story. I also did like how Kenneth and Moira began to work through their relationship to try and have a marriage.  I just felt that the balance between hate and love was off in the entirety of the book.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The heroine has a miscarriage during the book for those who might be sensitive to the topic.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  UNFORGIVEN is the second book in the Horsemen Trilogy.  It takes place concurrently with the events in the first book and can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2 stars.


Review: Indiscreet

Review: IndiscreetIndiscreet (Horsemen Trilogy, #1) by Mary Balogh
Series: Horsemen Trilogy #1
Published by Signet on February 2nd 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400

Complex, multi-faceted Characters are Classic Balogh

FINAL DECISION: Complicated, lovely with characters who have faults and yet love strongly, INDISCREET Is the story of characters who make mistakes but end up finding the happiness they don’t know that they need.

THE STORY: Rex, Viscount Rawleigh visits his twin brother and is looking for a woman to occupy his time. He sees the young widow, Catherine Winters and she seems perfect to Rex. He proceeds to make an improper proposal that Catherine rejects as she is living a virtuous life. Rex isn’t deterred, however, as he can’t seem to avoid her and his attraction to her. Catherine has her own problems because she knows she must resist Rex but she is also tempted by him.

OPINION: I love Balogh’s books. She writes complex, emotional dramas and this book is no different. These characters are complicated and are placed in a difficult situation where they make mistakes. These characters have faults, make mistakes and have to seek forgiveness. Balogh doesn’t have formula characters. Rex is self-absorbed and doesn’t consider Catherine when he makes his move on her. As a result, he ends up turning her life upside down. I loved that his recognition of his own failings comes with his regret for forcing Catherine into a situation she did not want. But Catherine is no victim of Rex. From the beginning, she has complicated feelings toward him and thus she has her own responsibility in the resulting chaos. This book has a measured and deliberate romance that Balogh does so well. By the time these characters find their happy ending, they have earned it.

WORTH MENTIONING; This book features four friends who have returned from war. It is an interesting contrast with Balogh’s own Survivors’ Club series. These returning soldiers have luckily avoided the dark scars of the Survivors’ Club members. I think these two series are nicely complementary to one another.

CONNECTED BOOKS: INDISCREET is the first book in the Horseman Trilogy.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.