Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Let me just say that reading the posts has given me more insight into my own self and motivations and responses than what I have gained from the novels, although I've only completed one,My One And Only Duke, and two thirds thru The Dukes Disaster.
Anyway, my takeaway from all this, in my almost 75 years of existence, is that until now, I've never understood love, with all of it's beautiful complexities and nuances.
Right now, just composing this, I'm feeling the feelings I experience when I'm texting with my beloved. Whether her feelings for me are as intense as are mine for her, remains to be seen.I think she may be having conflicting feelings about this relationship. After 73 years, she's probably accumulated a lot of baggage. But it's an absolutely wonderful experience I will never forget, regardless of the outcome.
Thank you everyone, who posted on this topic.💘
In somehow empathy with Redrock12, in my 40 years old, I never meet a healthy- lovely couple that I remember in my life, and the most remarkable thing that I found for my self from the book (“The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie”) was how the female writer develop the feelings- emotions of the characters all along of the story in their trip- life, struggling to resolve or face their reality with the heart and inner strength of the main female character. Something very interesting like that impulse of love and courage spills, releases or emanates a healing force around them for those around them or those involved in shared problems.
After that turn of enthusiasm and hope within history, and freely rethinking about it, an anger and sadness invaded me as to how the forces that keep people asleep in ideological-cultural programs or traditions in each era.
How many lives or suffering does it take to wake up?

I only know the stories of my parents and grandparents and nothing else, and certainly there are no love stories. My father's mother, her parents married her when only when she was 15 yrs old with a 40-year-old man, my father never shared anything (stories) about his family. My grandmother's mother was of indigenous descent and my grandfather's family did not love her for that. My mother, since I can remember when I was little, had a relationship with my father's best friend for years. And the mother of my first boyfriend ran away from her alcoholic husband, and it goes on and on without finishing the life stories of the people I knew ...
Difficult ...... how much effort is necessary to get out of the bonds of shared problems, that parents or families inherit their descendants for not wanting to face or solve, or not having the capacity to do so.

So maybe if one can keep working with hope, one good day one could reach a better level of happiness.
I read Courting Julia, currently on Dancing with Clara. I loved the former, and the latter is looking super interesting! Yes, I agree that Balogh deals masterfully with psychology - perhaps even deeper than Anne Gracie, I'd say. Several characters and their attitudes and thoughts are soo familiar, and the way they get into situations that seem from their points of view impossible, only to find a solution by a sort of miracle, which to me is the miracle of getting over oneself, i.e. the miracle of love. My only complaint to Courting Julia is that I felt it finished too suddenly. :D I was waiting for some epilogue to say a final bye to the characters, as they had in the Marriage of Convenience series. But I see that some of them are in Dancing with Clara, so that's ok.
HooplaDigital - If the title exist, you can borrow it - copy availability doesn't apply. But, they have strict limit of 5 titles per month ( for my card). They have daily borrow limit ( I guess it is at the local Library level). so, I tend to borrow in the mornings.
Well, it must really vary by Library. I can borrow 15 books a month on Hoopla here.
Funny, I just asked my wife yesterday what the heck a sidesaddle is. I have spent some time on horseback in my life and just couldn't imagine how that should work :)

Seems like a great way to cause back pain from the constant twist and possibly sciatica and/or SI joint dysfunction as well. The things people do for fashion! 🤷‍♂️

Added: that's why George was one of my favorite characters in the Marriage of Convenience series.
Ark is reading a Balogh book at the moment: "The Temporary Wife". He remarked at lunch that he was frequently brought almost to the point of tears by the psychological events portrayed. This book has also made him laugh out loud.

The Survivor's Club series is just amazing, too.
I would strongly recommend having a look at Mary Balogh's website,
So it's been a week and a half since I stopped reading The madness of lord Ian Mackenzie. I read I think around 60 pages, I've read it to the part where they meet for the first time in Paris. I mean this aren't sexually explicit scenes, but the words used and everything, idk. I'm struggling to get through this erotic moments, and I feel kinda stupid for writing this, but I start to get aroused sexually. I am maybe a person who is easily aroused, but few years back I have had struggles with porn and all that stuff so this is, idk exactly, somehow like engaging in a pornographic content.
So it's been a week and a half since I stopped reading The madness of lord Ian Mackenzie. I read I think around 60 pages, I've read it to the part where they meet for the first time in Paris. I mean this aren't sexually explicit scenes, but the words used and everything, idk. I'm struggling to get through this erotic moments, and I feel kinda stupid for writing this, but I start to get aroused sexually. I am maybe a person who is easily aroused, but few years back I have had struggles with porn and all that stuff so this is, idk exactly, somehow like engaging in a pornographic content.

I recommend you read the rest of it, and try to suspend judgment until you finish the book. I had a similar reaction as you when I was reading the first part of the book, but it pays off in the end, since it's a great book (and the series as a whole), and you'll probably realize that it's not even close to just being pornographic content.

If not, then switch to one of Mary Balogh's series, where the sexually explicit content is much more reduced.
It can be infuriating because it can be almost impossible to tell which one it is. If you bug her enough she might tell you, but that could also mess up a potentially good thing. On the other hand, waiting too long could give her the impression you've moved on and then you'll never really know. I don't have any actionable advice on this because I don't deal with this sort of thing very often.
Yeah people are too different. I had a date set up with the very first person I talked to online and she was the one who asked me out. She later backed out because I sounded too serious. I was in my thirties and still awaiting a first kiss so I was just unused to handling this in general not just online. Even though I was love at first write too much just like love at first sight too much; I got better at just acting fun online which still had the problem that my in person self could not live up to it but somehow I got married to someone I met online.

I kind of really couldn't get hurt after my first rejection in high school. Nothing could hurt like that. After that, I kind of always expected things not to work once they got to in person. Somehow my wife refused to fit that meme. I'm having problems getting my library card pin reset but once someone figures out that, I think it's that high school rejection I need to revisit since I kind of already have just reading this thread. It seems like reading/thinking in an erotic romance way can help in a get by your inhibitions positive dissociation way as Laura mentioned. Obviously erotic can be negative too; maybe when positive, it's more the push through inhibition instead of just covering up hurt.
So it's been a week and a half since I stopped reading The madness of lord Ian Mackenzie. I read I think around 60 pages, I've read it to the part where they meet for the first time in Paris. I mean this aren't sexually explicit scenes, but the words used and everything, idk. I'm struggling to get through this erotic moments, and I feel kinda stupid for writing this, but I start to get aroused sexually. I am maybe a person who is easily aroused, but few years back I have had struggles with porn and all that stuff so this is, idk exactly, somehow like engaging in a pornographic content.
Surely some of us are reading these books, we have "empathy".

When we read and get into the plot, if the characters do erotic things, our empathy will get us there with them.

Later, that scene will happen and other things will happen that "we will live" experiencing another type of "feelings".

Perhaps, once again, "all there are are lessons, there is nothing else.":rockon:
While reading a passage in Untouched by Anna Campbell, I had an unpleasant sensation at the left of the lowest point on my spine. I think something in the plot that disturbed me emotionally, or resulted in resistance or in nerves tensing up. It stayed for some time before receding. After reading and sleeping some hours, I recalled the sensation from the evening before, as I was waking up, and let my attention rest where it had been. To my surprise, I picked it up easily; the sensation changed, disappeared and I dozed off again.

This example was to say that if there is an unexpected physical reaction when you read, well apart from the occasional tears and maybe arousals, then allowing the attention to go to the place of tension might assist the system to release the blockage. It worked for me, at least temporarily, even though the underlying issue may be deeper, as I suspect from the image that appeared, while I was dozing off.
This is one of the gloomiest books I read on this list. For most of the book, there is really no hope of escaping the horror, torture while the protagonists struggle to days go by, living on a thread, still living true to their inner selves.
It is interesting how they identify their own pride and virtue as a block to just survive another week and help each other to escape the prison. Basic survival needs forced to have a relationship that bonded the commitment to other.
This reminded me of this post.
Due to the veiling process the energy transferred from male to female is different than that transferred from female to male. Due to the polarity difference of the mind/body/spirit complexes of male and female the male stores physical energy, the female mental and mental/emotional energy. When third-density sexual energy transfer is completed the male will have offered the discharge of physical energy. The female is, thereby, refreshed, having far less physical vitality. At the same time, if you will use this term, the female discharges the efflux of its stored mental and mental/emotional energy, thereby offering inspiration, healing, and blessing to the male which by nature is less vital in this area.

And that reminds me of the C's quote:

A man draws his energy for battle from his "lady fair." When he has this energy, he is supposed to utilize it not only for battle, but also for "building the castle”. When there is any break in the chain, he not only loses his "battle energy" but also his castle. Why do you think the legends of the "grail" speak of these things? And also fairy stories? A true warrior cannot be strong against the enemy without the lady. The lady cannot provide the energy without the castle and the "bower" of love.
It is heart warming to read the last chapters where reunions stir the tears, each let it out their misgivings. It looked it is a slow read that seemed horror to go on forever and somehow ends well. I wondered about the fate of couple of minor characters and it looked I am not the only one thought about it ( even though it is fiction).

What happened to Wolfram and Mrs. Filey?
Thank you to the many people who have contacted me about the fate of Wolfram and Mrs Filey. I always thought Mrs Filey was rewarded for her courage. I think she escaped Filey who ended up hanging for his crimes. Once she was free of her vile husband, she married a kindly if gruff retired sea captain in Bristol and set up a guest house for retired seafarers. She lived a happy life with a very nice man. I think it’s the least she deserved!

In the Australian edition of Untouched, I included information about Wolfram returning to Matthew. Please find below the relevant section:
There are really great messages in this thread, I haven't read them all but some of them show very promising transformation. I also think of many of us who are single, it makes me think that these books seem to be a learning path to develop emotions and thus allow a sincere and more authentic surge of love for the other, in fact to avoid, prevent the failure of a possible future relationship by all the external considerations that the characters develop. What I want to say is that through these books I have the impression that we are being taught to love.

In mackenzie's first book (I've almost finished the first volume), everyone protects themselves and doesn't reveal themselves right away for fear of being vulnerable, for fear of being rejected etc... by a bunch of fears and beliefs built on illusions and bad experiences. Although at the beginning of the novel the scenes with sexual characters bothered me a lot, I now see them differently, so much so that I ended up imagining Ian and Beth as children who "discover" themselves and I don't know about you but there also seems to be an evolution in his famous scenes as well as a logic, I had the feeling that Ian was running away from his thoughts, avoid confronting himself in front of Beth and had recourse to the sexual act as a catalyst of this internal tension, and on the other hand Beth seems to really know that these acts are not devoid of love but seek to transmute a kind of internal sadness through the body of the other (this reminds me of the regressive infantile mechanisms of a child with his mother and who grows up through the support she gives him and through her exchanges).

Besides, since the beginning of my reading, I never stop dreaming of babies, of childbirth, of these fragile beings who ask to be fed and to be given attention... How can I not see the emotional center that beckons to me saying, "develop me, feed me" it's a really incredible symbolism. Other events also occur in a perhaps more subtle way since the reading, it's true empathy, especially with my students who are developing, they are afraid of the future, they are full of fear, they don't trust themselves for the most part then with my mask over my mouth and nose, I tell them that they can quite succeed that the only limits are the ones they set for themselves, and that we can still smile with our eyes and find solutions to move forward. My sensibility is also growing because thinking about "putting myself" in their place as a student, I tell myself what future the world is leaving them who are young and want to be able to hope. Even alone, love makes me a warrior and makes me want to lift mountains, to go on an adventure in this 3D world and leave a trace in people's hearts by doing the best I can...

All this to say that these books push us to a hell of an internal cleansing (my ultra slow reading testifies to this) and maybe also the best way to be able to receive if for some reason someone comes into your life.
@Chu posted an excellent review of Mary in Haste (which was ordered mid August arriving October - talk about snail mail) so will not add an overview, just a couple of mentions.

Had grown up with fiction (science/fantasy et cetera), and these types of books (Mary in Haste example) were always noticed here and there in other peoples hands (mostly ladies), so this was all rather interesting to sit down and suddenly read, and was not disappointed - could not put it down.

Noticed many of the finer natures of this story; growth, emotions, understanding - presented character flaws and situations, and yet underneath, for some, there were backbone traits that helped to overcome and reshape thinking of each who had suffered in life, each in their own ways. There was family as a theme - a growing bond. These things were so in some of the older books written and read - albeit less moments of expressive intimate heat, as written by Anne Gracie. Thought about this, too, and (at least in this book) it blossomed from the primal to one developed through love for the other, and the developmental aspects of a marriage of 'convenience' into a deep caring bond that transcends. All this would bear out on readers in different ways depending on their age, programs and situations.

Of notice was also the focus on responsibility - the care of younger ones to help lift them up out of there confusions; there were the differences between the feminine and masculine approaches, and at times this was very amusing - yet a good reminder of strengths and weakness of said approaches (e.g. validating younger people, giving them meaning - meaningful purpose and things for them to think about without some of the rash emotionally driven responses; listening is key).

Funny, given that it's "fiction", how many characters one can relate to. I tell you, some days there is more real stuff about women and men in some of these books than in the news.

Yes, completely agree. Even here in the story, Cal later grapples with what he can see as the current state devolves with the treatment of its people, and all that comes from that. Reading here also synchronized with some historical reading of people living near the same era and what they were trying to achieve to better society; family et al.

Confession: towards the end, tears welled up in joy at the outcomes, even knowing these outcomes were prescribed and likely. Sentimental fool...

@seek10. Thank you for doing up the spread sheet for the Romance Novel list.
I finished the first book from the trilogy Courting Julia from Mary Balogh.
Balogh has put a lot of attention on the inner dialogs of the characters. What they think and how thoughts pass through their minds, their inner landscape. The end was very predictable, but it makes the reader be more consciously aware of how some emotion can be present in us for a long time but we are just not aware enough to pick them up and accept them.

Nice story, nice characters. I like the book. Going with the next one in the series.
(An Apology if share this pdf's files offends the copyrights of the writers, which is in no way my intention, just make easer to read, who's cannot have or to access to kindle. I guess this post can be deleted if it is considered inappropriate.)

I found some pdf books in spanish from the list of novel's recommendations if somebody find useful.


  • Casate conmigo - Mary Balogh.pdf
    1.9 MB · Views: 15
  • El escandaloso matrimonio de Lady Isabel - Jennifer Ashley.pdf
    1.5 MB · Views: 10
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