Just to be fair, I adore Mary Balogh’s books. I had high hopes, as I did not read the series, her books never disappoint. This one, sadly did just that. The characters Margaret and Duncan were not given a chance to have any passion whatsoever. For life or for love. I never felt the happy tingle that a first embrace feels, instead I read her apologizing for her unknowing ways. He did not have feelings for her, or her for him almost the entire book except for regret and respect. He and her had no real passion for each other and she even called him ugly on at least 5 different times. All I heard of the taste of either of them was wine . As much as I wanted to have him fall deeply, he did not. As much as I wanted her to fall deeply, she did not. The story at the end about Toby was somewhat as unbelievable as the kindly happy honest family that was hers. I think the characters were unjustly written and I would challenge Mary to a duel to make her change them. 🙂
Sex, there is not a lot of that, and when it happens, I was left feeling that it was not all that important.
Violence. Not any of that either. No real drama, challenge, heartfelt bitterness or anything unladylike except for the bluntness each of them were cast to as the book moved on. She was not a virgin, but she was not exactly schooled, and I did not get the feeling that it mattered at all.
I hope that I feel more for more of her books, this one left me with an unhappiness I cannot seem to describe.