Review: The Proposal by Mary Balogh

August 16, 2013 2013, B+, book rating, reviews 0

When I started this blog I wanted to write fairly short reviews…that’s why it’s called “Notes…lol. Anyway, I read a blog post at the On Starships and Dragonwings blog about doing list reviews so I’m going to try that with this review and see how it goes! I’m going to call it a bullet point review.

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The Proposal
by Mary Balogh
Series: The Survivors’ Club, book 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by Dell, 2013
E-book, Library
384 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Gwendoline, Lady Muir, has seen her share of tragedy. Content in a quiet life with friends and family, the young widow has no desire to marry again. But when Hugo, Lord Trentham, scoops her up in his arms after a fall, she feels a sensation that both shocks and emboldens her. Hugo is a gentleman in name only: a war hero whose bravery earned him a title, a merchant’s son who inherited his wealth. He is happiest when working the land, but duty and title now demand that he finds a wife. Hugo doesn’t wish to court Gwen, yet he cannot resist her guileless manner, infectious laugh, and lovely face. He wants her, but will she have him? The dour ex-military officer who so gallantly carried Gwen to safety is a man who needs a lesson in winning a woman’s heart. But through courtship and seduction, Gwen soon finds that with each kiss, and with every caress, Hugo captivates her more—with his desire, with his love, and with the promise of forever.

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Mary Balogh’s books are pretty much auto-buys for me (although I did get this as an e-book at my library)! This is the first book in a seven book series and the next book comes out at the end of this month. All the characters in the series…most of whom were soldiers…are wounded in some way. In this first book Hugo was psychologically wounded by his guilt for having survived without a scratch when so many of his men were wounded or killed.

What I liked about this book:

  • Gwendolyne, Lady Muir–I’ve read about her in a couple of other books–One Night for Love and A Summer to Remember–though I read those books several years ago. I meant to reread them which I forgot to do 🙁
  • Hugo was awarded his title for leading “a forlorn hope” which is an actual phrase. I found it on Wikipedia, but there are also other sources. One meaning (and the meaning used in this book) is a band of soldiers–usually volunteers–chosen to take the lead in a military operation against a defended position where the risk of casualties is very high.
  • Both main characters resent the other for waking them from their inner turmoil (Gwen’s first husband died, she’s felt guilty about his death and never wanted to remarry); Hugo carries guilt both for the soldiers who were wounded or died during the forlorn hope and for his father’s death).
  • The humor in the book…that Gwen can laugh at herself and also find humor in Hugo’s proposal.
  • Hugo and Gwen both have to change in different ways to come to terms with their love for each other because even though they are in love there are real obstacles to their love.
  • Gwen realizes Hugo has made all the concessions in their relationship…entering her world, but she hasn’t entered his world.
  • Gwen is finally able to see below the surface of Hugo’s dour expressions and attitude.
  • Hugo is willing to change his mind about people–Gwen, his stepmother, his sister–when he realizes he’s made mistakes about who they really are.
  • I really do like both Hugo and Gwen. Hugo was the harder sell, but beneath his dour exterior is a very sensitive and caring man.

What I didn’t like:

  • Hugo’s attitude toward Gwen and other members of the aristocracy even though his friends in the Survivors’ Club are part of the aristocracy. Hugo inherited his wealth from his father (a merchant), but was awarded his title for his bravery in war.
  • Hugo is determined to marry someone from his own class and almost reaches the point of no-return with a woman who’s terrified of him and doesn’t love him.
  • The fact I didn’t read the other books Gwen was in I couldn’t remember much about her (but that’s my fault not Mary Balogh’s!)

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I hope you can tell I had very few quibbles with this book. I’m looking forward to the next one which is about Vincent who was blinded in the war. I’ve heard from a few people who’ve gotten advance copies of it that they like it better than The Proposal so that’s exciting!

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I’m going to use a list here, too…lol

  • What do you think about this method of reviewing?
  • I think I like it. It really makes me focus on what I did and didn’t like.
  • It was much faster to write this review.
  • I’m going to try it on a few more books before I decide for sure whether to adopt it for all my book reviews.
  • Do you as a reader of the review feel it tells you enough about this book to decide whether you want to read it?
  • Does it tell you too much about the book?
  • If you’ve read my paragraph style reviews which do you like better?

No Responses to “Review: The Proposal by Mary Balogh”

  1. Sandy

    I like the idea of the bullet point review. I think it’s a great way to keep readers reading your reviews (I’ve been accused of having too long reviews). But in this case some of the bullet points felt like they told me too much information. Not necessarily spoilers, but I don’t know. I think you should definitely keep playing with this idea.

    • Notes From a Readerholic

      Thanks, Sandy. I wondered if it might not be too much info. I try not to do that with my other reviews, but when you’re being succinct which this type of review does it might be too easy to say too much. I’ll have to work on that. Thank you for telling me what you think. I really appreciate that!

    • Notes From a Readerholic

      Thanks! I’ll try the next review with less info and see how that works…lol

      I appreciate you reading the review and letting me know your thoughts! You’re the guru of reviews!

  2. Lark

    I like the bullet points — short, to the point, and easy to read quickly, which is particularly important for people who follow a lot of blogs. (Brevity is NOT my own strong suit; I’m still trying to find a balance in my own blog between my tendency toward verbosity and my readers’ need for something a little, well, shorter.)

    The previous comments do make a good point, and it’s one I struggle with as well: how do you write about what works and doesn’t work without giving away too much information? It’s a delicate balance, and each review (let alone each reviewer) requires a slightly different approach. There wasn’t too much information in this review for me, because I’ve read The Proposal. But it might be a tad too much for someone who hasn’t read the book.

    I look forward to seeing how the bullet-point reviews evolve — I think it’s a great idea!

    • Notes From a Readerholic

      Brevity isn’t easy for me either so the bullet point helps that…now I just have to watch how much I say…lol!

      Thanks so much for giving your opinion. It really helps! I’m working on my next review so I will see if I can get the balance a little better! 🙂

  3. nath

    Hi Jan! 🙂

    First, the content of the review 🙂 You enjoyed the Proposal more than I did 🙂 I don’t know, I found The Proposal a bit boring. Much of the story was internal conflict and the H/H muddled through it… I don’t know, I just didn’t connect with the characters. Also, the new cover is quite bad ^_^;

    As for the form of the review, I love it! 🙂 I’ve thought many times of doing just that, bullet points, but never really had the guts. I didn’t know how it would turn out… However, with this review, we know exactly what worked and didn’t work for you and you don’t have to worry about pesky connection, transition and paragraph changes LOL.

    • Notes From a Readerholic

      Yeah, Mary Balogh books almost always works for me! I agree totally about the cover…I don’t like the covers they’re doing for the paperbacks at all.

      Thanks for the positive words about the review. Several others thought I revealed too much (they posted on my Sunday Post). And I like not having to worry about those pesky things…lol.

      BTW, my husband read my latest review (Royal Street) and said I didn’t put in enough detail and that my first two paragraphs weren’t necessary (I agree with that last bit!) When he started correcting my grammar I drew the line…lol.

      • Lark

        Oh, I have to admit that while I’m not thrilled with the cover for The Proposal, I like the one for The Arrangement.

    • Lark

      It’s not so much the bare-chested man, as the fact his eyes look both sightless and gorgeous, just as they are described in the book. (Not that I mind the occasional eye candy, but it does get overdone.)

      • Jan

        Ah, I understand what you mean now! I hadn’t looked that closely…but I really like that now that you mention it. Thanks…this is one of the things which make blogging so much fun–that I can get different points of view about things.