Thursday, March 22, 2007

Simply Love by Mary Balogh

SETTING: Historical - Regency Era
TYPE: Straight Romance
PAGES: 320
SERIES: The 2nd in the 'Simply' series. Simply Magic and Simply Perfect are coming up.

REASON FOR READING: I have read every book Balogh has ever written so I'm basically forced into continuing the tradition.

SUMMARY: [From the publisher]
New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh returns to the elegance and sensuality of Regency England as she continues the enthralling story of four remarkable women- friends and teachers at Miss Martin's School for Girls. At the center of this spellbinding novel is Anne Jewell, a teacher haunted by a scandalous past...until she meets a man who teaches her the most important lesson of all: nothing is simple when it comes to love....

She spies him in the deepening dusk of a Wales evening- a lone figure of breathtaking strength and masculinity, his handsome face branded by a secret pain. For single mother and teacher Anne Jewell, newly arrived with her son at a sprawling estate in Wales on the invitation of an influential friend, Sydnam Butler is a man whose sorrows- and passions- run deeper than she could have ever imagined.

As steward of a remote seaside manor, Sydnam lives a reclusive existence far from the pity and disdain of others. Yet almost from the moment Anne first appears on the cliffs, he senses in this lovely stranger a kindred soul, and between these two wary hearts, desire stirs. Unable to resist the passion that has rescued them both from loneliness, Anne and Sydnam share an afternoon of exquisite lovemaking. Now the unwed single mother and war-scarred veteran must make a decision that could forever alter their lives. For Sydnam, it is a chance to heal the pain of the past. For Anne, it is the glorious promise of a future with the man who will dare her to reveal her deepest secrets...before she can give him all her heart.

THOUGHTS/OPINION: I think I have finally had enough of Balogh for a while. I have been a huge fan of hers since the early '80s when I started glomming all her traditional regencies. In fact, she is the first author I started glomming before I even heard of the word 'glom'. I have around 50 of her books in my keepers along with about 20 anthologies Yeah, I know, it's ridiculous.

The overall complaint I have about SL is that it lacks emotion. Both the H/H seemed so sedate and calm all the time. There was nothing wrong with the story. I just never really cared for either one of the main characters. Both of them were damaged in some way (he with his disfiguring scars, she with her rape and rejection by her family) and I usually enjoy stories about the healing power of love. See here and here. But for some reason this story didn't work for me. I keep seeing reviews and readers rave about how emotional it was. I just didn't feel it. AAR loved it. Readers in the AAR annual poll loved it. But I was just.... blah. Characters from the Bedwyn Series make an appearance but I couldn't drum up the energy to care. I think I'll go back and reread A Summer to Remember. Loved that one.

MISCELLANEOUS: Yeah, after reading every book she has every written, you know I will be reading the next in the series, Simply Magic. Yeah, I know, I have a serious problem letting go.



Kristie (J) said...

I'm afraid she lost me when she started her last series. I saw how many there were in the Bedwyn family and sadly said goodbye to this once loved author. I didn't really enjoy her previous few before that as much as I had her earlier books. In fact the last book of hers I really (really) enjoyed was Thief of Dreams - and that was written back in '98.

***Arrgghh - I hate word verification! Now the damn thing has disappeared!

Rosie said...

I'm like Kristie, after reading everything of hers I could find I sort of drifted away after the Slightly series. I can never figure out whether I'm jaded or the writer has changed. She has some truly awesome trad regencies.

jmc said...

The last Balogh book that I really enjoyed was A Summer to Remember. The Bedwyns bored me after a couple of books, so I stopped even checking them out at the library. I tried Simply Love because I liked him in ASTR, but thought SL was very flat and monotonous.

Jennie said...

A Summer to Remember is excellent. Though I'm having trouble remembering Sydnam from it, so maybe it's time for a reread. :)

I liked the first Simply book, but haven't gotten to this one yet. Maybe now that it's out in pb.

ReneeW said...

Kristie: I feel torn about Balogh now. I have read EVERY one of her books and it doesn't feel right to just not read the new ones. But I hate wasting my time on so-so books.

Rosie: I loved her trad regencies back in the 80s and 90s. They were so fresh and original. I think she has changed and maybe she is just plain tired of the whole thing.

JMC: I also loved but ASTR but I also loved the last Bedwyn book, Slightly Dangerous. But the rest were not memorable. SL was flat. No spark there.

Jennie: I plan on rereading ASTR one of these days. The first Simply book was much better than this one.

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