Mary Balogh: The Huxtable Family Series

First Comes Marriage by Mary BaloghThen Comes Seduction by Mary BaloghAt Last Comes Love by Mary BaloghSeducing an Angel by Mary Balogh

I haven’t read Seducing an Angel yet, but I am going to be sure to pick it up on my next pilgramage to the book store.

Mary Balogh does it again, proving she has the hist-ro chops, in this wonderful character driven series about the Huxtable Family (three sisters and a brother).

We meet them in their backwoods country home in Throckbridge, where they reside with one servant in a tiny cottage.  Their mother died many years before, and their local cleric father more recently.  Suddenly, a surprise visit to their village by a Viscount threatens to completely change their universe–and turn the middle sister’s life upside down.

Like so many of Balogh’s heroine’s, Vanessa is flawed: has a sunny disposition but no real beauty when compared with her ravishing sisters.  And although she is just out of mourning for her childhood friend and husband, she decides once again to sacrifice her own future happiness by offering herself up to the Viscount bent on marrying one of the Huxtable women.

And so we have a marriage of convenience and a very unconventional love story…a perfect beginning for a great series that is vastly entertaining and full of depth.

Then Comes Seduction tells the story of the youngest sister, who courts scandal and ultimately is shangaied into a marriage made by the rumor mill.  Only Katherine, convinced there is no true love, will be able to determine whether or not reformed rakes do make the best husbands.

At Last Comes Love is the eldest sister Margaret’s story (which I have now read twice!).  Its the ultimate marriage of convenience, and one with a real scandalmonger.  I love this one probably the best because of Margaret’s character–she is truly a woman who has devoted herself to her family and must find her way out of her empty nest by courting scandal of her own.

Balogh’s characters are rich and three dimensional.  Although I can’t necessarily “see” the characters as well as other authors, I can definitely feel them.  They’re emotions aren’t cardboard or cliche–instead they are meaty, rich and often bloody (figuratively, of course).  Her love stories are awesome, too.  She gives her heroes and heroines ways and intentions of falling in love that are so much like real, enduring unconditional love and partnership rather than the “love at first sight” infatuation/lust that characterizing other novels.

Balogh isn’t action rich, although there are twists and turns to keep up the pace.  But plot driven, this series is not.  Therefore if you like the typical story arc with a biug climax and resolution, you aren’t going to find it here.  Instead, she gives us more of a character study which is really a sneaky way of teaching history and relationships.

If you haven’t yet read Balogh, do.  Especially this series.

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