by Mary Balogh
Page Count: 384
Release Date: August 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
How got: personal library; bought used via Amazon
First attention getter: the author and reading about the characters in another book by this author
One reckless man...One passionate woman.
It was a perfect morning in May...
Neville Wyatt, Earl of Kilbourne, awaited his bride at the altar - when a ragged beggar woman raced down the aisle instead. The cream of the tonsaw him stare, shocked, then declare that this was his wife! One night of passion was all he remembered as he beheld Lily, the woman he'd wed, loved, and lost on the battlefield in Portugal. Now he said he'd honor his commitment to her - regardless of the gulf that lay between them.
Then Lily spoke her mind...
She said she wanted only to start a new life - wanted only a husband who truly loved her. She had to leave him to learn how to meet his world on her terms. So Lily agreed to earn her keep as his aunt's companion and study the genteel arts. Soon she was the toast of the ton, every inch a countess fit for the earl, who vowed to prove to his remarkable wife that what he felt for her was far more than desire, that what he wanted from her was much more than...One Night for Love.
Star Rating - 5
Now this is what I’m talking about with a Balogh romance! Emotionally tense, well-rounded characters I love, a romance I can get behind, and attention to specific historical details to give us a great setting for the relationship all make an appearance.
The primary attraction for any historical romance, the main relationship, shines in this book, along with our leads. From the beginning, Neville and Lily have an unmistakable chemistry. Their relationship starts out as a promise to take care of Lily after her father’s death. But it blossoms into something very special, even after a long separation and some serious trauma. I was engrossed by every interaction between these two.
I liked that most of the drama wasn’t from the miscommunication trope that so many historical romances fall into. Nothing irritates me more. Right from the beginning, Neville and Lily both are up front and honest about their feelings for each other. It’s their different stations in life, past trauma, and self-esteem issues that impedes the blossoming love.
I liked that the author isn’t afraid to explore those darker elements. What happens to Lily during her captivity truly moves the heart. I liked that her trauma wasn’t just ignored or thrust to the side so the romance can proceed without impediment. What she went through prevents her from being able to completely revel in her relationship and to meet Neville as an equal party emotionally. It does seem to be resolved a bit too soon for my taste but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the romance overall.
I liked the details that Balogh incorporated with the Peninsular War, life in the army, and all the societal mores for Regency life. It was interesting to see all that went into making a lady “accomplished” for society, all that Lily had to learn on the fly and quickly. Her life traveling in the army and how the rank and file worked also added an interesting layer to the story and the characters portrayed.
It’s works like this that made me fall in love with Balogh. She knows how to blend characterization, romance, dramatic tension, and period details to create a fantastic historical romance. I look forward to delving into more stuff by her!