Monday, August 17, 2009

Courting Julia - Mary Balogh

A Swarm of Suitors

Miss Julia Maynard never dreamed that she might be the most passionately pursued prize in the Marriage Mart. But then her step-grandfather died. And his legacy drew suitors to her like bees to honey.

She could wed the very friendly Augustus...or the kindly Malcolm...or the most loyal Lesley. Even more tempting, there was the superbly sensual Frederick, whose good looks, charm and masterful skills in matters of love had won him scandalous success as a rake. But that was one marriage she would have to think thrice about. Could she ever become the bride of the arrogant, cavalier Earl of Beaconswood no matter how irresistible he might matter how foolish her heart behaved when he took her in his arms to teach her the dangerous delights of desire...?

I read another of Mary Balogh’s old traditional regencies this weekend. Courting Julia is the first in a trilogy but somehow I managed to read the other 2 first. I really enjoy these smaller books about the regency period where the emphasis is more on the social manners and behaviour of the character.

In this book Julia’s grandfather dies and in his will he leaves his unentailed estate to Julia on the condition she marries one of her 5 cousins within a month of his death. Julia is both surprised and devastated with this clause that leaves her unable to privately grieve for her grandfather and the object of her cousins interest because she is now a great heiress. All the cousins show some interest except for Daniel, the heir to the title. A former play mate of Julia he went away when he inherited his father’s estate and had to deal with new responsibilities. He still sees Julia as an irresponsible young woman, always playing games and having fun. And she sees him has a bore who forgot how to enjoy himself and only cares about convention.

I thought the 2 main characters were planned to be true opposites, Julia is too wild and Daniel too conservative and that was a bit too much imho. It would have been more real if they weren’t such extreme characters that they spent half the book believing that they hated each other and after Julia finds herself in danger suddenly realise they love each other.

Just as a side note the villain in this book is the main character of the next one, Dancing With Clara.

Not Balogh at its best but still an enjoyable read. A 4/5.




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