Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Obedient Bride - Mary Balogh


Miss Arabella Wilson knew perfectly well that the handsome, dashing Lord Geoffrey Astor was marrying her only out of a sense of duty. She knew she could be only grateful to this man who so generously offered her a life of aristocratic privilege. Surely she could not imagine she could ever claim his heart as well as his hand. Surely she could not object to his mistress, the ravishingly sensual Ginny Cox.

Surely she should be content with the attentions of the gentlemen of the ton who swarmed around her.

But Arabella had committed the most scandalous of sins. She had fallen in love with her own husband...

After a few less than wonderful Baloghs here's one that I truly enjoyed. The Obedient Bride is a "MOC" story; both the hero and the heroine marry out of a sense of duty. Him because he is helping the last Viscount's family and she because she will be able to help her family if she does.

The way they approach the marriage however is very different. The hero sees it has something he has to do but that it won't disrupt his private life, he will continue to keep his usual mistress and doing his usual activities with the exception that now he will accompany his wife to social functions and will present her sisters to society. The heroine, however, is determined to make the best of her marriage and be the perfect wife. In part because she feel he is entering a bad bargain as she is not as beautiful as her sister.

They do adjust well to married life and in fact Bella, the heroine, likes her new social life so much that she becomes a vibrant young woman always surrounded by friends and admirers. However, one evening she hears that her husband is keeping a mistress and decides to confront him about it.

I loved how Bella was so very hurt and disappointed but managed to hold on to her her dignity while making it very clear how mad she was. Geoffrey really couldn't see how his actions could be seen as wrong (which I suppose was accurate for the time and type of marriage) but he felt her displeasure and decided to change. He ended things with the mistress and worked on gaining Bella's trust again. Mind you he did not change overnight, in fact his first reaction was to get very angry that Bella should think and speak in such a way with him. But when he decided to reform he did his best to please her and I felt he actually won her over.

There's a subplot with Bella's sister and a rake that I felt was a bit unnecessary unless it was to show how noble Geoffrey was in contrast. In the end I found this a very nice little story although readers with strong feelings about adultery should probably stay away. I always feel Balogh has more original/outrageous plots in her earlier titles than in the more recent ones and this is the perfect example!

Grade: 4/5

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