Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Keit

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
For example, Grace Burrowes is a mess, historically speaking. I do NOT like her snippy/snappy style of writing and very often, I am really turned off by her attempts to work modern day issues into historical contexts. But a few of her books really have great stories and one gets the impression that she is getting this storyline from somewhere not inside herself even if she gives it her "riff on life" treatment.

Well, being a non-English speaker, I actually appreciate a more "simple" language and don't mind that they don't talk in a more "sophisticated" manner. ;-) In fact, "The Dukes Disaster" by Grace Burrowes is the hardest to understand so far. And it is quite annoying at times. 🙈 And I am actually reading it out loud, and still often don't get it! This book is probably a solid proof that my English still requires a lot of improvement. 😅

As for Bridgerton series, right now on a second audiobook ("The Viscount who loved me"), and it is a charming enough story. Rosalyn Landor's narration does make it very entertaining.
 
I finished reading Mary Balogh "Dark Angel" today. Overall, it was a great and fast read. I have a two volume book, the second being "Lord Carew's Bride". There was a twist that took me by surprise, and deepened the story in a way that I hadn't anticipated, but enjoyed. I found Mary Balogh's writing to focus more on the emotions of the characters than Annie Grace. That emphasis is useful to me, as I have a tendency to under-react emotionally. I hold the emotions in check too much. The romance novels seem to be beginning to open those emotions up for review, and really, to feel them. I've kept them guarded for too long. It may lead to some healing too.

The ending was great, not to spoil it, but I wanted to quote a part of it that really stood out for me without saying too much about the plot:

"We say it at church every Sunday when we recite the Lord's Prayer, don't we? But we rarely realize quite what we are saying. But we are all thoughtless sometimes and ride roughshod over the feelings of others. And we all use other people sometimes for own ends. It is a regrettable part of being human. We are all in need of forgiveness over and over again throughout our lives. The measure of our goodness, I suppose, is the strength of our consciences."

I really enjoyed the practicality of this statement, and found some food for thought in there. It prompted a bit of introspection into relationships I have had, and the one I have been in for the last ten years. Forgiveness is important in a relationship, at least in mine it has been. Without forgiveness the current relationship wouldn't have held together as long as it has. In some past relationships, the lack of forgiveness by either myself or the other lead to the relationship ending. Perhaps forgiveness is one of these virtues and values to be found in the romance novels. The characters emotions are expressed very well by Mary Balogh, and reinforce, at least to me, why that value is important. It can be felt by reading, and then can be used in everyday life. It's a fascinating process so far. I've only read 2 romance novels thus far, so it may intensify as I continue reading.


"Sometimes we have to be cruel in order to be kind. Sometimes trying to protect other people from hurt only succeeds in bringing them greater and longer-lasting pain in the end."

I liked this quote as well. I've had to learn some lessons the hard way, and would not have learned them without the experience itself. Sometimes just being protected by someone or informed of something isn't enough. The experience has to be had to really understand certain subjects. I understand that the process of reading these novels is to vicariously live through some of these character's experiences, and that has merit too. The more that can be learned this way, the better than needing to go through every experience itself (there's just so many possibilities that some "cliffnotes" really help).
 

mkrnhr

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Just finished the Marry in Haste, Scandal, Secret, Scarlet series. It is nice to have a happy ending to each book, and ever nicer to have a happy ending to the whole saga. In retrospect, maybe the meeting of Lily with her grandfather-in-law (he's cool) was the most impactful event even if it probably wasn't specifically intended as such by the author, especially that the events in the second book as well as the others are quite eventful to say the least (and funny at times). Why was it this event that stood out is hard to pinpoint, maybe an inconscious thing.
 
R

R o l a n d

Guest
I read several of Mary Balogh books then I read several of Eloisa James and Julia Quinn books. I have to say, I take a closer liking to the other two. I enjoyed Mary Balogh read's, however E.J and J.Q are very good author writers that I can feel their essence in the stories or the essence of the stories come alive or liveliness that comes between the read and the mind. I think these two author's have the tactful in delivery for engrossing a pleasant absorbing of the written stories. Perhaps Mary BaloGH had such in her works, however as a Woman whom wrote so damn many books. Over 72 romance novels.? I'm sure the fiery beginings would fade over so many written novels and then once in a while the unique writings recharge and ,M.B, revitalizes for the moment of a story. Yet the accumulated readings and every story has something to say.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I didn't know Mary Balogh could be so funny, and I was having a great time with Someone To Love (Westcott Series #1). Mary Balogh funny? What a lark! How absurd!

I also liked reading Anne Gracie's The Autumn Bride (Chance Sisters Series #1), though with humor was also the attempted murder, rape, and kidnapping that I've come to expect from a Gracie novel. There were a couple of nice cameos from the Merridew Sisters too.

To me, Balogh's Someone To Love was much lighter than Gracie's The Autumn Bride, and that surprised me. I guess I'm still skittish after Heartless and Silent Melody.
 

Korzik18

Jedi
FOTCM Member
I have read only 11 books, but each of them touched different strings of my soul. From some series of books, lightness and delight remained, from some a very painful and oppressive sensation. I think everything is valuable!
Today I finished the book Mary Balogh The Ideal Wife. In terms of the inner emotions that she aroused in me, this book is comparable to Heartless and The Devil's Web.

The Ideal Wife was the first book I listened to, not read. Nowadays there is a lot of work in the garden and greenhouses and I have about 2-3 hours a day when I just do mechanical work (weeding the grass, watering and pruning plants, etc.). It takes 2-3 days to listen to one book. At first I was afraid that it would be bad to perceive such books by ear. It's nice that I was wrong! Just the same it is difficult for me to perceive the audio information of scientific literature, since I have a visual memory. But with romantic books, everything worked out great. I felt how my emotional center was working, not my intellectual center. Even though the text was read by an automatic voice, which sometimes made funny and stupid mistakes in pronunciation.

The Ideal Wife had an unexpected effect. As always, at the beginning of almost any book, I am filled with skepticism, since events develop too quickly (the count first saw a simple girl and after 10 minutes invited her to marry). And this despite the fact that in those days the morals were more strict and it was not customary to get divorced often. After a couple of chapters, this unpleasant feeling goes away when you get to know the characters better and feel sympathy for them. In our times, there are quick marriages for love at first sight too !!!

In the following days of listening to the book, I fell into sadness. And even the traditional happy ending and a sea of tears did not ease my depressed psychological state. I cannot fully understand the reason for this. Although the story is partly in tune with my life. I had a similar episode many years ago. When I realized that I could lose a loved one, but I have no right to hide the truth from him. And like Abby, I didn't feel sorry for myself. She did not want to live in a lie, but she did not want to cause pain and problems to her beloved either. To tell the bitter truth is like inviting another person to enter your reality voluntarily and the payment for this can be either absolutely happiness or many problems. But it must be his conscious choice too. Fortunately, my fears were completely unfounded. Sometimes we ourselves exaggerate the problem too much, we dramatize the situation too much.

This was just a short episode in my life, one of many lessons. I think I passed it with dignity, although it was very scary. The reward was the same happy ending with complete understanding between partners, as in a romantic book. So these novels are not as fantastic as they might seem at first glance from their plot.

Then why am I still crying? Maybe I can't accept myself to the end. Maybe I feel sorry for other people who are experiencing similar situations and do not have the happiness of being understood and accepted.
Forgive me if I wrote it incomprehensibly or with errors.
 

Laurs

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
And then, standalone: Tangled.

Oh boy. This one was a complete doozie! It is one book that seems to me to give a really good picture of private life in Victorian England (not Regency.) I don't think I've ever read about a heroine who was so brainwashed, so programmed by her society and family, and so lacking in insight as this one. And the PAIN! Oh my gawd! This one just tears your heart out for the poor hero!
Finished Tangled by Mary Balogh a few days ago. This book is one of her older ones, from 1994, and o boy indeed, heart wrenching in so many respects. All other novels I've read so far were rather like being on a journey of joy with the characters on their way to solving what needed to be solved and off they went into the happy-ever-after. Not this one though! The pain jumped out of the pages and could be felt throughout the book. This is a hard one imo, romance novel reading for the advanced for sure, phew! I knew that there would be a "happy" ending waiting at the end but i'm not even sure i find the ending happy, but it somehow does fit this story (hard not to see channeling going on while she wrote this book)! Don't get me wrong, i think this is one great book and Mary Balogh sure did a masterful job, there is so much in it, to name but a few:

-indeed, Rebecca's blind obedience to the Victorian social mores (had me also going angry with her), and her going against her heart's desires and common sense;
-great insights into Rebecca's mental processes of lying to herself and refusing to see reality as it was, and her refusal to use common sense and express her love even in extreme circumstances to comply with her upbringing pertaining to how a lady should behave (I mean come on, when your child is taken away from you, you just say, outwardly, 'oh, okay' without putting up a monster of a fight??!!);
-Rebecca's programming/brainwashing went so deep that she never was able to give of herself fully (perhaps maybe to her child), and the scenes from the bedroom described dreadful sexual experiences for all involved, especially for, once again, poor David! Well if one has never learned how to give and receive love and programming forming such a huge block, it's way harder to give an outlet to these natural emotions and feelings, but I guess it also could depend on the sturdiness of the person's character to overcome same and the amount of damage done in the early years (having read Healing Developmental Trauma and the psychological books about thinking errors made it easier to try and stand in Rebecca's shoes);
-the endless pain David suffers, from a young age onwards out of love for his foster brother and Rebecca; throughout the book I kept wishing some very loving, charming, intelligent and fun woman (like one of those Huxley girls from Elisa Braden's Rescued from Ruin series) would come along to love David in a healthy way and make life exciting and fulfilling with him! I really could feel his pain vicariously, there is an abundance of it;
-David's exploring of his boundaries to the very extreme imo, he kept a lid on his needs and desires, taking responsibility, blame and shame for another's misdeeds out of love as well as fear, he is one great protagonist and my heart went out to him throughout the whole book.

Now onto The Secret Pearl, also one of the older ones (1991).
 

trytofly

Jedi
Kerrigan Byrne's "Victorian Rebels" series is indeed extremely intense, but really very good.
Intense to the point that by continuing on the series "THE SIMPLY QUARTET" by Mary Balogh, I first found it a little bland at the beginning. Of course, Balogh's writing skills quickly erased this first impression during the reading.

I don't remember if this has already been said, but "THE SIMPLY QUARTET" is affiliated with the "BEDWYN" series. Slightly in the first book, but very largely in the second (Simply Love). Not only do we find the Bedwyn family in full force, but there is also a connection with the lived story of Prudence (in "Slightly Scandalous" I believe).
I haven't finished the series yet, but I recommend reading the two series of books in succession for a better immersion. After so many books, it is often difficult to remember who is who in the stories.
 

Andrian

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thanks for the tip trytofly, currently I'm reading the Bedwyn saga, afterwards will read the The Simply Quartet series since there's a correlation between the series.

The first book from Bedwyn saga is beautiful, the heroes of the story coming from different social worlds are working together, helping each other to overcome their blind spots, weaknesses, to overcome the influences of the predator's mind thus growing together and building a strong and happy relationship together. And becoming of course an anchor of support for other peeps close to them who are still wandering around in search of their own soul mates with whom to walk and grow in life.

Edit: grammar
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
About Mary Balogh's Someone To Love (Westcott Series #1).
I observe myself thinking about Avery's attic where no one was allowed in, the physical representation of how he makes himself unknown and unknowable to everyone. There's no happily ever after when the wedding and honeymoon were over; indeed there was unhappiness. The happy ending only happens when he lets Anna into the attic, physically and non-physically.

How many of us seal ourselves in the attic, afraid of letting loved ones in and being vulnerable to them?
 

Mari

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I don't remember if this has already been said, but "THE SIMPLY QUARTET" is affiliated with the "BEDWYN" series. Slightly in the first book, but very largely in the second (Simply Love). Not only do we find the Bedwyn family in full force, but there is also a connection with the lived story of Prudence (in "Slightly Scandalous" I believe).

So, it should be read in this order? Or between the prequel and the saga?

Mary BaloghThe Simply Quartet1Simply Unforgettable
Mary BaloghThe Simply Quartet2Simply Love
Mary BaloghThe Simply Quartet3Simply Magic
Mary BaloghThe Simply Quartet4Simply Perfect
Mary BaloghBedwyn Prequel1One night for love
Mary BaloghBedwyn Prequel2A Summer to Remember
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga1Slightly Married
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga2Slightly Wicked
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga3Slightly Scandalous
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga4Slightly Tempted
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga5Slightly Sinful
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga6Slightly Dangerous
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga6.5Once Upon A Dream
 

Yupo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I'm continuing with The Westcott Series. Quite a family. The first novel has a wrecking ball that affects many people, eventually bringing out the best in them by getting them to drop their facades. They weave an incredible web of support for their relatives and in-laws. I'm starting on Someone to Remember. In this one, a minor character we've seen before, but only in terms of being an elderly spinster at the ready with an unwelcome vial of vinaigrette for her mother, appears to have had a romantic past. Let's see what happens!
 

Mari

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
A small hands-up for reading Elisa Braden "Rescued from Ruin" Series:
- Ever Yours, Annabelle is Rescued from Ruin Prequel
- then there are 10 books of the series and then comes
- Midnight in Scotland Series which is pretty much a sequel to Rescued from Ruin

BUT
Midnight in Scotland Series is not finished yet! 😫 So there are only 2 books out (from last year) and we still have 3 brothers to marry. ;-D

So, for people (like me) who want to finish the series completely - either be patient to start with the series altogether or be prepared to wait for the next book in the series...
 

trytofly

Jedi
So, it should be read in this order? Or between the prequel and the saga?

Mary BaloghThe Simply Quartet1Simply Unforgettable
Mary BaloghThe Simply Quartet2Simply Love
Mary BaloghThe Simply Quartet3Simply Magic
Mary BaloghThe Simply Quartet4Simply Perfect
Mary BaloghBedwyn Prequel1One night for love
Mary BaloghBedwyn Prequel2A Summer to Remember
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga1Slightly Married
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga2Slightly Wicked
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga3Slightly Scandalous
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga4Slightly Tempted
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga5Slightly Sinful
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga6Slightly Dangerous
Mary BaloghBedwyn Saga6.5Once Upon A Dream
No, you have to read BEDWYN prequel, BEDWYN saga, and then THE SIMPLY QUARTET to finish!
It is important to read the prequel and the saga before!

And on a personal note, I must point out that "Simply Love" is the one that moved me the most of all the Bedwyn books.
I loved it !!!
 

mkrnhr

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
I'm starting on Someone to Remember. In this one, a minor character we've seen before, but only in terms of being an elderly spinster at the ready with an unwelcome vial of vinaigrette for her mother, appears to have had a romantic past. Let's see what happens!
This one is relatively short. I started it with some skepticism but it turned out to be good. It is quite a change from the usual "I'm 24, I'm too old".
 
Top Bottom