Book Review – First Comes Marriage

Book Review

First Comes Marriage
Mary Balogh
So last week the call went out over our Facebook page wanting to know if anyone was a romance novel reader and could do areview.  Hmmm…It’s been a while forme, but I could use some fun and fluff reading.  But where in the world to start?  Historical Romance? Contemporary Romance? Paranormal Romance?  Historical Western Romance?  What in the world are people reading?  What do they want to know?
After an exhaustive search of the library’s e-bookcollection and several top 150 book lists, I finally settled on Mary Balogh’s First Comes Marriage.  I’d neverread any of Balogh’s books so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  What I had really hoped was to findsomething I could review that would be interesting enough to lure in some ofthe most voracious romance readers, as well as tame enough that one could recommend it toher mother without worrying that she’d be shocked at the content.  First Comes Marriage definitely fitthose requirements.
Set in England during the Victorian Era, First ComesMarriage is the first in a series of six “Huxtable” novels about a young familyof three adult sisters pulled from the class of commoners and elevated to thearistocracy when their younger brother inherits an earldom.  At the center of the story is Vanessa Dew (nee Huxtable), a young widow accepted as the “Plain Jane” of the family.
Though she lacks the physical beauty of her two sisters,Vanessa’s inner beauty shines through in her every word and through herendless sense of humor.  Basically,those around her become easily enamored by her contagious laugh and ability tofind joy in the smallest of things.
Through a series of events and for the sake of convenience,Vanessa marries the stoic and humorless Elliot, Viscount of Lyndon, and nowhas a huge task in front of her with her new husband.   Can she help him find his sense of humor?  Can she teach him to be happy and findjoy in the world around him?  Canshe teach him to love?
While First Comes Marriage certainly follows the prescribedformula of most romance novels, I found the characters to be well-developed andinteresting, and the overall story to be compelling.  Simply stated, I enjoyed it and found it to be an nicechange from what I’ve been reading lately.

First Comes Marriage is available at the Rochester Public Library in paperback format, or through SELCO in e-book and downloadable audio format.

For more information about this book or the author, visit her website by following this link.

~ Catherine H. Armstrong

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