Mary C is the winner of the signed copy of A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh. Congratulations to Mary and thanks to the author and to everyone who entered.
- Sandy AAR
It’s always a treat to feature Mary Balogh here at AAR and today we have a double one: A short interview with the author about A Matter of Class, her upcoming release and a chance for a lucky reader to win a signed copy of the book direct from the author. To enter for your chance to win, all you need to do is comment to this post by 11:59 pm eastern time on December 17th. The winner will be announced here on Friday morning.
The usual caveats apply. This contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only and, since the goal is to get a book into the hands of a reader who wouldn’t otherwise have early access, if you review for another site or blog, please don’t enter.
But, first, let’s hear from Mary!
Rike’s post yesterday on plotlines that could use a break got me thinking. I’ve got plenty of kvetches, believe me – many of them mentioned already by Rike – but, to put a Pollyanna spin on things (and, okay, so I am not often Pollyanna-ish, but let’s just run with it) there is at least one plot device that works for me always every time. Put an uptight brainiac seriously in need of having some pins pricked in his or her pretentions together with a casual, laid back type who knows how to deliver a zinger and I’m done for. Totally done for.
A friend of mine says I like “goofball” heroes and, to some degree, I think she’s right. But humor takes fierce intelligence (Jon Stewart, anyone?) and I find it incredibly attractive when someone is confident enough in himself that he doesn’t need to hit others in the face with his brains. It’s fun (not to mention sexually exciting) to discover that someone you initially underestimated is w-a-a-a-a-y smarter than you thought, right?
So, forthwith and with no more verbal diarrhea, here are my fave brainiac/goofball romances:
Before I get to actual books, I have to begin with celebrity gossip, about a very famous German soccer player. Some time ago, while she was pregnant with their second child, he left his wife of many years and very publicly fell for a much younger blonde. He dated this younger woman for several years, yet never divorced his wife, spending part of his holidays with her and their children every year. Last year, the relationship with his girlfriend came to an end, and since then he has been accompanied by his wife to public appearances. Though it is not confirmed they are together again, the public – including the yellow press – wishes them well and applauds their effort at reconciliation. This reconciliation is, in fact, considered romantic. (more…)
The series will follow the existing pattern familiar to Balogh readers with the first three published as paperback originals, followed by the big hardcover wrap-up in late May.
Here is the breakdown of titles and pub dates:
First Comes Marriage February 24
Then Comes Seduction March 24
At Last Comes Love April 28
Seducing An Angel May 19
Holy cow, that’s a lot of Balogh! Next question: What’s the series going to be about? According to the Bantam Dell press release I got last week, the books will follow the exploits of the “fiery, sensual” Huxtable sisters, commencing with the story of Vanessa. (Okay, let’s just get it on the table: It is impossible to read that name and not think of The Cosby Show.) Here’s the publisher’s blurb for the first one:
“The arrival of Elliott Wallace, the irresistibly eligible Viscount Lyngate, has thrown the village of Throckbridge into a tizzy. Desperate to rescue her eldest sister from a loveless union, Vanessa Huxtable, a proud, spirited, widow, offers herself instead. In need of a wife, Elliott takes the audacious widow up on her unconventional proposal. But a strange thing happens on the way to the wedding night. Two strangers with absolutely nothing in common can’t keep their hands off each other. Soon Elliott and Vanessa are discovering that when it comes to wedded bliss, love can’t be far behind.”
My first reaction to the news? Joy. My second? Honestly, I’ve got to wonder what effect this kind of compressed writing schedule – four books are…well, four books – might have on the quality of the series. Mary Balogh has published at least an original book a year for a while now so she didn’t go to ground to finish this series as many authors do when publishing multiple titles over consecutive months.
Still, we’re talking Mary Balogh here and, even though not every book hits it out of the park for me, my respect and affection for her work remains undiminished. For what it’s worth, I’ve just begun reading the ARC of First Comes Marriage and – though it’s still w-a-a-a-y too early to tell – I’m catching a Mr. Darcy and Wulfe-type vibe from the hero. And, from where I sit, that’s just all around good news.
So what do you think? Are you looking forward (as I definitely am with some trepidations) to the upcoming Mary Balogh feast? Are you at all concerned about the possible effect the rushed publication schedule might have on quality? And, more generally, are you series-d out or do you fall into the still can’t get enough category?