HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Archive for February, 2009

Book Review: Mary Balogh – Simply Magic

Posted by HelenEdith on February 28, 2009

(Book three of the Simply series of novels set in an academy for young ladies)

As in the second book in the series, Mary Balogh has largely departed from the academy in this book, too. Susanna Osbourne, a teacher with a past she never mentions, goes to stay with ex-teacher Frances from “Simply Unforgettable”, now married to the Duke of Edgecombe.

While staying at Barclay Court, she runs across Viscount Whitleaf, a man she once met during her childhood, and at whose family’s hands she had suffered.

Susanna isn’t happy at all about meeting a Whitleaf, but despite this, she and Peter, the Viscount, fall in love. Susanna is sure that there will be no happy ending, but her path keeps crossing with Peter’s, most notably at the reception for Anne Jewell after her marriage to Sydnam Butler, whose story was told in “Simply Love”.

This book is full of good Regency colour and the manners of the time, but I do wonder whether Mary Balogh overdoes the intimate relations between her hero and heroine. She manages it by writing about unchaperoned teachers, but she has another series, the “Slightly” series, which actually predates the “Simply” series, and I’m curious to read them (if the library still has them) and see how she handles matters in there.

Maybe I’m making unfair comparisons with Georgette Heyer, but it seems to me that a Regency Romance should stay outside the bedroom until the couple are married. Having said that, I am still enjoying the series, even if I’m a bit sceptical about the amorous adventures of the participants.

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Book Review: Nora Roberts – Key of Valour

Posted by HelenEdith on February 27, 2009

(Book three of the Key Trilogy)

I was entertained when I picked this book up from the library to discover that it was “Key of Valour” rather than “Key of Valor” – however the translation into British English did not penetrate beyond the cover and this book was all American within!

This third and final part of the Key Trilogy is Zoe McCourt’s story, and also features Bradley Vane, the male interest in the story. Zoe is a single mother with a nine year old son Simon, and there were some hilarious man-to-man exchanges between Simon and Bradley in the course of the book.

The main plot concerned the finding of the final magical key to unlock the souls of the three demigoddesses captured by the evil sorcerer Kane, and involved Zoe going on a journey back through her life to the time when James Marshall had left her pregnant and alone. Along the way there were several supernatural encounters with the evil Kane, but as you would expect, Zoe did eventually come up with the key.

I’ve enjoyed this trilogy, although I think I’d prefer Nora Roberts to be a bit less fantastic and base her books a little more on a premise of solid reality.

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