Review: The Proposal by Mary Balogh

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.

» » » » » » » » »

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.

» » » » » » » » »

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!)

» » » » » » » » »

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!

» » » » » » » » »

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?