Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work


Jedi Council Member
I've finished Balogh's 'The ideal Wife" and had a blast.

It's one of the lighter stories.
I just had so much fun with the duke marrying Abigail thinking that she is quiet, demure and sensible just to find that she is none of these things.
After the 'Web series' it has been a welccome not so drama-overloaded read with lots of laughter and smirks.
Maybe I enjoyed it so much because Abby reminded me of myself trying to keep my mouth shut and all too often gloriously failing.

For a change I'll start reading 'The secret Life of scoundrels' series by Anna Harrington now.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I suspect that your discomfort may have something to tell you. And yes, a break now and then is needed with some of these stories. There are some that are really heavy and others that are light. What is amazing is how we are able to enter into the mental/emotional worlds of the characters and derive powerful lessons from their experiences. I can tell ya, it has already helped me a lot especially in reviewing my own life experiences and being better able to see where and how I made errors in judgment and mistakes in my choices. It may be that I followed the path that was necessary for me, but still, I am now able to see where and how I may have hurt others and why and how I should forgive those who hurt me. I can't DO anything about most of it, but knowing and sending out the thought that I'm sorry or I forgive may mean something.

I can relate with what you wrote Laura pretty much indeed. While reading the Devil's Web and the Christmas bride I recognized my own inner struggles through Jame's story and Helena's as well.

It kind of shed some light over my own reckless and destructive behavior towards myself and others due to the maltreatment and abuse by my father during my childhood. In the last couple of years I did recapitulate on my past, trying to understand why I've done the things I've done, why I've lost so many precious years wallowing in self pity and self importance thus creating my personal hell through addictions and reckless actions and consequently hurting others around me. Though, only recently, since I've started reading these novels did I uncovered inside myself some seriously repressed emotions from childhood and only now did I recognized the real impact of my father's behavior towards me, my brothers and my mother.

I think by reading the following books it helps me to let go to the hurt, to the pain thus helping me to learn to let go to the grudge, hate or judgment towards my father or myself. I've forgiven myself and my father.

Though, I will never ever forget the lessons I've learned due to his "love" shown to me, my brothers and my mother. The main life lesson being: live while respecting others and let others live according to their choices giving them their due according to their nature without hating, nor judging nor pitying.

Thank you, I've felt the need to lift up the weight from my chest. Now It feel definately better.

John G

The Living Force
I went back to reading after a bit of a break following Heartless. I have to admit that even though right away there's been intense reactions with some relating to my own past issues, I figured this would be more seeing things rather than resolving things. I may have been a little wrong about that. Anyways after Heartless, one would expect Silent Melody and that did happen but since it temporarily had its online copies "borrowed", I read the Christmas Bride/Beau in between. This was nice since our tree is still up (we use it as a room heater of sorts) and my only previous romance novel like thing was Hallmark and Hallmark-like movies with my wife. Balogh's quite good with Christmas. There's the relating to past issues thing whether past issues of the couple in question or something disturbing verging on creepy. I hate having to think of my past self as creepy.

My problem there more relates to Silent Melody. I am deaf in my left ear (left ear left, right is the right ear) and the right has a little drop in the spoken frequencies. On the bright side growing up, I could hear the high pitched oven dinger upstairs quite well when downstairs with the TV blasting. My wife actually dated a deaf guy right before me. She says she prefers the deaf guy since at least she's sure he didn't hear her. LOL. Anyways I'm very introverted so unfortunately even the mute part fits. AT Thanksgiving dinner at my sister in law's there are three groups. People talking at the dinner table, people talking on the back patio, and me by myself watching TV. It's a tradition.

I liked in Silent Melody how they each came to each other when needed even though at the times it was much more just a one sided giving. When I somehow got devastated in high school by someone I never talked to, she somehow found out where my free period dark cave of sorts was and just sat next to me there for the whole period without either of us saying a word. She has a job working with autistic children now; kind of isn't surprising.


Jedi Council Member
I fell victim to the most tragic cliffhanger at 3 am last night while reading Anna Harrington's 'Along came a Rogue".
In the end just when Nathaniel was about to learn about his real background and the happily ever after was in sight the print let me down.
P.314 wasn't followed by p.315 but with p.283 again which takes the whole ending away.

I just checked: I cannot reclaim since I bought the book back in December and it's unavailable right now anyway.
So I'd like to ask for help:
Could someone with a copy of the book or with a kindle (don't know whether screenshots are possible with a kindle, I don't own one) post the remaining pages here for me to read?
I estimate there are maybe 15 pages left, not sure exactly how much.
That would be just great so that I must not spend the rest of my days in cliffhanger-limbo and never know who exactly Nathaniel's parents were.

I will attach 2 pictures to show where my story ends.


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The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Having been puzzled by the mention of dowry in the novels, I then encounter the term Morning Gift in an old Bible translation. The Swedish Wiki on Morning Gift had:
The gifts mentioned in ancient Greece and the Old Testament, diaparthenia, mohar, have sometimes been translated as morning gift, but should in fact refer to a form of bride price. [1]
But what was a dowry really, and what of morning gift?
In some novels, the dowry influences whether a woman is courted or not. A woman may also say: "But I have no dowry, and I'm not beautiful. Why do you wish to marry me?" At any rate the concept of dowry, its presence or absence is part of the underlying tension in several novels.

Here are some perspectives on the dowry system that was practised in England according to the Wiki:

Dowry was used in England. However, the right of daughters to inherit and of women to hold property and other rights in their own name made it a different instrument than on the Continent. The Salic law, which required females to be disinherited and disenfranchised from land ownership, did not apply in England. Single women held many rights men did. The most famous example of this English female inheritance and agency right is perhaps Elizabeth I of England, who held all rights a male monarch did.

While single women held rights to hold property equivalent to those of men, marriage and married women were affected by the Norman Conquest changes to the law in the 12th Century. Coverture was introduced to the common law in some jurisdictions, requiring property of a wife to be held in the husband's name, custody and control. The Normans also introduced the dowry in England replacing the earlier custom of the new husband giving a morning gift to his bride. At first the husband publicly gave [or received?] the dowry at the church door at the wedding.
The concept of a morning gift to a bride
Next, there are some note about the morning gift, as it may help to explain the different rights of women in the British Isles as compared to the Continent. First a definition:

  • A gift traditionally given in some (especially Germanic) cultures by the husband to his wife on the first morning of their marriage.
The Wiki for Morning Gift in English has just a description of a novel
by Eva Ibbotson
, interesting in its own right, but not related to the search. There are only Wiki articles in few languages and the best are in Deutsch, Svenska, Dansk, and Italiano. The German Wiki explains the concept of a Morning Gift also appears in Islamic Law and still plays a role in Iranian civil legislation. With such a geographical spread, using the translation "morning gift" in the Bible may not be far off, but the subject is mainly the Romance novels and in some of the novels there are dowagers, and here is what the Wiki on dowry in England has to add:

If the husband died first, which was frequent, there was a Widows dowry of one third of the husband's lands at the time of his marriage; the income, and in some cases, the management, of the lands, was assigned to her for the rest of her life. This concept is included in the Great Charter, and along with the recognition of female inheritance and absence of the Salic law, and women, particularly single women, holding many rights equivalent to those men held, manifests English law differing fundamentally from the law of the Continent, especially the law of the Holy Roman Empire.
In the novels, there are if one has read a number of titles, several ladies who consider setting themselves up as independent spinsters when they become of age or inherited from their deceased husband. It would not be entirely wrong to suggest that their spirit of courage and independence is backed up with laws that supported them. The Wiki explains that the system was not so easy to manage and continues:
Thirteenth-century court records are filled with disputes over dowries, and the law became increasingly complex.[57]
With all the crusades in the 13th century, these disputes may not come as a surprise.
The English dowry system permitted most noble families to marry off their daughters and thereby gain extended kin and patronage ties. Marriageable daughters were a valuable commodity to ambitious fathers, and the English aristocracy sent few of their eligible daughters to convents.[58]
Now isn't that interesting? I often thought that stowing away excess men and women in gender isolation often against their will, many of whom probably were as talented as their illustrious family members, appeared like a way to regulate certain genes in the population. Many women in England seemed to have been saved from this fate. Interesting also that that several areas where the morning gift had been practised were quick to turn Protestant. Perhaps some of you living in those regions have a former monk and nun who adapted to the social changes brought about by the Reformation and whether for reasons of convenience or romance became a part of your family line?

In the romance novels, people go to the theatre, and when they do they often watch Shakespeare, where the concept of dowry also is mentioned. The Wiki has:

Failure to provide a customary, or agreed-upon, dowry could cause a marriage to be called off. William Shakespeare made use of such an event in King Lear: one of Cordelia's suitors gives up his suit upon hearing that King Lear will give her no dowry. In Measure for Measure, Claudio and Juliet's premarital sex was brought about by their families' wrangling over dowry after the betrothal. Angelo's motive for forswearing his betrothal with Mariana was the loss of her dowry at sea.
A serious stickler for Regency era propriety, and the Romance novels are full of them, even if the protagonist may be less enthusiastic would no doubt be familiar with a couple of verses from Exodus 22 that speak of dowry. On Biblehub they are listed under the subject of "Laws of Social Responsibility":


16"If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.16“If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife.16"If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife.16And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.16If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and he has sexual relations with her, he must certainly pay the bridal price for her to be his wife.

17If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins.17If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride-price for virgins.17"If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.17If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.17If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must pay an amount in silver equal to the bridal price for virgins."

Naturally, in some of the novels an offending male has to count on paying compensation in some form, though the threat is usually resolved or kept under wraps. In other novels, the purported offence was never real, but a way for a woman or her family to set up circumstances to their own perceived advantage.

Dowry in Tacitus' Germania
In the Danish Wiki on Morning Gift, there was a suggestion the concept was mentioned by Tacitus in his essay on Germania from A.D. 98. I tried to look it up and there are some hints that point in that direction, and which perhaps also had an influence on what later customs: The Oxford Translation Revised with Notes has:
18. The matrimonial bond is, nevertheless, strict and severe among them; nor is there anything in their manners more commendable than this. 106 Almost singly among the barbarians, they content themselves with one wife; a very few of them excepted, who, not through incontinence, but because their alliance is solicited on account of their rank, 107 practise polygamy. The wife does not bring a dowry to her husband, but receives one from him. 108 The parents and relations assemble, and pass their approbation on the presents—presents not adapted to please a female taste, or decorate the bride; but oxen, a caparisoned steed, a shield, spear, and sword. By virtue of these, the wife is espoused; and she in her turn makes a present of some arms to her husband. This they consider as the firmest bond of union; these, the sacred mysteries, the conjugal deities. That the woman may not think herself excused from exertions of fortitude, or exempt from the casualties of war, she is admonished by the very ceremonial of her marriage, that she comes to her husband as a partner in toils and dangers; to suffer and to dare equally with him, in peace and in war: this is indicated by the yoked oxen, the harnessed steed, the offered arms. Thus she is to live; thus to die. She receives what she is to return inviolate 109 and honored to her children; what her daughters-in-law are to receive, and again transmit to her grandchildren. For
XVIII. Quanquam severa illic matrimonia; nec ullam morum partem magis laudaveris: nam prope soli barbarorum singulis uxoribus contenti sunt, exceptis admodum paucis, qui non libidine, sed ob nobilitatem, plurimis nuptiis ambiuntur, Dotem non uxor marito, sed uxori maritus offert. Intersunt parentes et propinqui, ac munera probant: munera non ad delicias muliebres quaesita, nec quibus nova nupta comatur: sed boves et frenatum equum et scutum cum framea gladioque. In haec munera uxor accipitur: atque invicem ipsa armorum aliquid viro affert: hoc maximum vinculum, haec arcana sacra, hos conjugales deos arbitrantur. Ne se mulier extra virtutum cogitationes extraque bellorum casus putet, ipsis incipientis matrimonii auspiciis admonetur, venire se laborum periculorumque sociam, idem in pace, idem in proelio passuram ausuramque: hoc juncti boves, hoc paratus equus, hoc data arma denuntiant; sic vivendum, sic pereundum: accipere se, quae liberis inviolata ac digna reddat, quae nurus accipiant rursus, quae ad nepotes referantur.
Amazing how Tacitus puts it; and whether strictly true or not, I can see that a number of the protagonists, share this spirit of courage and daring, even if the daring frequently takes the form of daring to heal and be healed, the courage to love and be loved.

A year ago, I read a few chapters from a book categorized as Chinese officialdom literature and made a post about it. It took time to ease into the style and the underlying Chinese tradition. I have realized it also takes time to get used to the settings of the Romance novels.


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Above had mentioned Balogh's Bedwyn series starting with the book with Lily, with Gwen staying somewhat steady throughout its pages. This book was a little deeper than some in terms of differences. and in letting go of some form of inadequacies and seeing oneself in a new way and working towards it. Thought the book a powerful story.

Started the second one 'A Summer to Remember' which picks up on the fist. There is further discovery of Gwen from just after her incidents in life that later she had told her new husband, Hugo. However this is also about the jilted bride from the wedding in the fist book, Lauren (a childhood friend of Gwen's). It is also the story of a rakehell character (the Earl of Ravenshead), by ton standards - these two complete opposites, wounded in their own ways. There is Gwen's aunt Elizabeth (cool lady), the Duke of Portfrey et cetera. So far it has been an interesting read, and one can see how Balogh's later books were synchronized. I'm also actually glad to have read the Survivor Club series fist and then to have come back and seen more of those character roots (select few for now).
As per Balogh's website, these two books are categorized as Bedwyn Prequel for Bedwyn series( 6 books). But other platforms like Amazon/overdrive categorized as Bedwyn series/saga ( 8 books) depending on the platform.

Based on the timeline perspective, it does looks like Bedwyn Prequel came first, then it was combined with Bedwyn series books, then came Survivors club( some additions later).
I read the Bedwyn Prequel before beginning the Survivor series, and it works very well, as if the heroines of the prequel sets the stage for others to follow, even if one may ask:

Bedwyn Prequel - Prequel to what?
The Bedwyn Prequel consists of One Night for Love and A Summer to Remember, the are prequels to the Bedwyn Series no doubt, but there is more. On the page of Mary Balogh one finds under One Night for Love
Note that Lauren Edgeworth’s story is told in A Summer to Remember, which introduces the Bedwyn family and leads to the six-part Slightly series and the four-part Simply series. Gwen, Lady Muir, Neville’s sister, has her story told in The Proposal, which is also the first book in the seven-part Survivors’ Club series.
And under A Summer to Remember:
Note that Neville, the Earl of Kilbourne’s story is told in One Night for Love. Gwen, Lady Muir, Neville’s sister and Lauren’s best friend, has her story told in The Proposal, which is also the first book of the seven-part Survivors’ Club series. Note too that A Summer to Remember introduces the Bedwyn family and leads to the six-part Slightlyseries and the four-part Simply series.
Good all these series are not listed as must-reads after the Bedwyn Prequel.

The sequence of books in the Dark Angel Series
In the spreadsheet Dark Angel/Lord Carew's Bride are listed as 1 in the Dark Angel Series, but one could also say that Lord Carew's Bride is really number 2 in the Dark Angle Series, and altogether list them as 1/2. I found a copy that had only one story and then just read that, thinking the other was not part of it.

Where does A Christmas Bride/Christmas Beau belong?
A Christmas Bride/Christmas Beau is at present listed in the spreadsheet as a standalone. On the author's site, it is listed as belonging to The Dark Angle Series and The Ideal Wife Series. How is that possible?

According to the description of A Christmas Bride, Sir Gerald Stapleton's stepmother Helena, Lady Stapleton is the heroine of this story. This would tie the book with The Ideal Wife series, as Sir Gerald Stapleton appears as a friend of Miles Ripley, Earl of Severn and male protagonist in The Ideal Wife. The Ideal Wife is in the spreadsheet listed as number 5 in the Dark Angel series, but the author lists it as The Ideal Wife Series.

And under Dark Angel/Lord Carew's Bride one finds:
These are two books that were first published in 1994 and 1995 respectively. The heroines are cousins and both of them appear in both books. There are three other books also linked to them—The Famous Heroine, The Plumed Bonnet, and Christmas Bride. They will be republished soon—see the Upcoming Books page for the publishing schedule.
In the description of one volume/two stories of the Dark Angel Series not listed, there is also:
There is one more book in the series—A Christmas Bride, which will be out again at the end of 2012 in a 2-in-1 edition with the standalone Christmas Beau.
From this it appears that A Christmas Bride connects both to The Ideal Wife Series and The Dark Angel Series, while Christmas Beau is a standalone.

GoodReads lump the two series into one: The Stapleton-Downes Series. They say:
Regency romances in order of author website
The Earl of Severn is the hero of The Ideal Wife. Sir Gerald Stapleton, his friend, is hero of A Precious Jewel. Heroine of The Famous Heroine is Gerald's 'wicked' stepmother Cora Downes.

Jennifer Winwood and Gabriel, Earl of Thornhill, are the hero and heroine of Dark Angel . Samantha Newman, heroine of Lord Carew's Bride , is Jennifer's cousin. Lord Francis Kneller, hero of The Famous Heroine is a one-time suitor of Samantha's. Gabriel's and Francis's friend, the Duke of Bridgwater, is the hero of The Plumed Bonnet . The hero of A Christmas Bride , Edgar Downes, is the brother of Cora Downes, The Famous Heroine Less
The connecting book appears thus to be A Christmas Bride with Edgar Downes connecting to the Dark Angel Series and Helena, Lady Stapleton connecting to the Ideal Wife series.

How could one list A Christmas Bride/Christmas Beau in the spreadsheet when the first relates to two series, and the latter is claimed to be a standalone? I think it would be better to tie A Christmas Bride/Christmas Beau to the series, (The author proposes two: The Dark Angle Series and The Ideal Wife Series. rather than placing it as a standalone like Christmas Beau which anyway is placed last in the volume. Grouping the books as the authors suggest on their sites should be sufficient, also in cases when a book like a shared electron has a function in two places.

Still, it is clear that books can be listed differently, as for instance GoodReads have done saying: The Ideal Wife, A Precious Jewel, Dark Angel, Lord Carew's Bride, The Famous Heroine (Not listed), The Plumed Bonnet (Not listed), and A Christmas Bride. But if one follows that kind of thinking, one could also end up linking the Bedwyn Prequels with all the books that are more or less connected to them in roundabout ways, as we saw in the beginning, but if the author does not insist, would that not be to take the idea of sequence too far?


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I‘ve finished A Christmas Beau by M.Balogh.

Wow, I´m stunned...
Balog must be getting extra money for torturing not only characters but the readers as well because this was (to me) really hard to read.

Laura said: "The second is actually rather heartbreaking and you just want to cry for the poor hero and smack the woman. Talk about judging a book by its cover and being young and stupid."
And yes, that is a perfect description of the book, so I´ll put everything else in the Spoiler.

From the very beginning of the book, I wanted to cry for the Marquess.
His descriptions of his heartbreak were so sad, so real, and so full of emotion.
The book smelled like a new Balogh´s masterpiece: it has barely started and I‘m on the verge of tears already.

It was sad and tragic to read; the man doesn’t show emotions and is presumed cold and ruthless, and the woman runs off with a rake who covers her with attention.

She was going on my nerves - hard. Blinded by her impressions and prejudices, she was really annoying.
At one point, even her name started to annoy me.... :-D

He had plans and plans of revenge, but when looking at his actual behavior, one can see he‘s kidding himself - I thought of him as a kind and gentle person. He had issues on his own, but I felt so sorry for him.

It was so hard to read. I felt like crying for him all the time, just as Laura said.
If it was not a romance novel but a real-life, he was probably heading for a disaster.
Trust is a terrible thing to lose and very hard (if never) can be restored. And there was a lot of not trusting between them, for one reason or another.

I‘ve admired the marquess for taking care of the poor children.
It was in fact such a beautiful substory of giving.
The book filled my heart with love because of all good deeds and at the same time as it was aching because of the main story.

As the book was ending, I thought how it was nice that they overcome their prejudices and learned trust.
And when the Marquess went on with his plan, I was simply shocked. I couldn´t believe what he did!

So in the end, I´ve got to like the heroine as well, and want to smack the hero, because if she hadn´t talked to him and exposed herself, the book wouldn´t have our happily ever after.

Great read!!!!


FOTCM Member
Well, I've found another set - four books in this one - by a new author: Elizabeth Hoyt. The series is called "The Legend of the Four Soldiers" and the titles, in order are:

To Taste Temptation
To Seduce a Sinner
To Beguile a Beast
To Desire a Devil

Obviously, the titles are overly dramatic and somewhat misleading.

These books need to be read in order because they are very tightly connected. The basic connecting story is that these four men were part of a group of soldiers massacred by indians in North America in 1775. The plot driver is that the company was betrayed by a traitor. All four of the men were horribly scarred either physically or psychologically or both as a consequence of this massacre from which only about 8 men survived. So, the search for the traitor drives the plots.

In the meantime, each of the men meets a woman who helps him to overcome his wounds/scarring/PTSD. Each of the women also has some sort of issue though not anything like what the poor guys have to deal with.

Other than a few cases of infelicitous word usage, they are pretty well written, gripping, romantic, and psychologically instructive. I actually liked them so well that I think I'll read them over again after a bit.

However, I've sampled a bit of her other books and the plots are so unlikely as to render the books unsatisfactory.
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The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Well, I've found another set - four books in this one - by a new author: Elizabeth Hoyt. The series is called "The Legend of the Four Soldiers" and the titles, in order are:

To Taste Temptation
To Seduce a Sinner
To Beguile a Beast
To Desire a Devil
The books from the Legend of the Four Soldiers have been added to the list which now counts 180 volumes including 4 doubles, making it 184.

With the state of the world we live in, including an increased possibility of military interventions, have books about war incurred PTSD been written for the future as much as for the past?


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The sequence of books in the Dark Angel Series
In the spreadsheet Dark Angel/Lord Carew's Bride are listed as 1 in the Dark Angel Series, but one could also say that Lord Carew's Bride is really number 2 in the Dark Angle Series, and altogether list them as 1/2. I found a copy that had only one story and then just read that, thinking the other was not part of it.
I know there is some confusion w.r.t series and 2- in-1 books for some cases. I haven't read in this Dark Angel series yet. I ended up putting on sheet to understand. Just like us, distributors are also confused. I updated the sheet. Here is the diagram


FOTCM Member
The funny thing is that Charity lost her previous job because she spoke up against abuse, see chapter one, but I guess the point you make is in regard to her leaving after her inner struggle in chapter 16. One could also
that she had been (ab)used by Anthony's father as a tool in his battle with his son, just as his treatment of her in the early phases was quite rude; see chapter nine for instance.
I agree with your spoiler, Thorbiorn. IMO what the father did was worse than what the son did, but maybe that's me. I have been thinking about this distinction between physical and emotional abuse. I don't want to condone what Anthony did, it was wrong, but I did understand why he lost it as his father was taunting him in a most cruel manner, unbeknownst to Charity. That's why it is so important to gain full control over our limiting emotions, so nobody will be able to push us over the edge.

I will definitely check that out since I've already read 'The First Snowdrop.'
I read Mary Balogh's Christmas Belle and maybe it wasn't so heart-wrenching as her Web series but there were so many things in there that I could relate to it was a bit astonishing.

I can't get enough of these romance novels. After a while they do seem to blend a bit, but I think they are such an incredible asset to our emotional understanding and intelligence. We are learning to empathise and wait till we get more information about the characters, so we abstain from judging them prematurely, to recognise certain aspects of ourselves in the characters (or not, but then perhaps on an unconscious level). Or we can just relate to certain events in the novels that come close to our own experiences and now looking through the eyes of the character we are able to understand much more in hindsight and change our past a little in the process?


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I'm halfway through The Perfect Kiss (Anne Gracie's Merridew Sisters), and I really appreciate the laughs. I could use the humor now, and it's a reason I like Gracie a lot. For this series, I think I like this one along with The Perfect Rake and The Perfect Waltz, and not so much The Perfect Stranger, because a main character is acting primarily for the benefit of people she/he loves on a non-sexual level, and the attraction and sex with a different person occurs incidentally during the course of trying to help the loved ones.


FOTCM Member
I'm halfway through The Perfect Kiss (Anne Gracie's Merridew Sisters), and I really appreciate the laughs. I could use the humor now, and it's a reason I like Gracie a lot. For this series, I think I like this one along with The Perfect Rake and The Perfect Waltz, and not so much The Perfect Stranger, because a main character is acting primarily for the benefit of people she/he loves on a non-sexual level, and the attraction and sex with a different person occurs incidentally during the course of trying to help the loved ones.

Funny how different situations appeal to different people. "The Perfect Stranger" was my favorite of the Merridew books. It seems to me that the main character, Nicholas, was certainly acting for the benefit of a stranger despite the fact that he was facing a nightmare. I also liked the little bit of paranormal in that story.
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