More Than a Mistress by Mary Balogh
Series: Mistress #1
In this captivating novel, Mary Balogh, the premier writer of Regency romance, invites you into a world of scandal and seduction, of glittering high society and intrigue, as an arrogant duke does the unthinkable—he falls in love with his mistress.
She races onto the green, desperate to stop a duel. In the melée, Jocelyn Dudley, Duke of Tresham, is shot. To his astonishment, Tresham finds himself hiring the servant as his nurse. Jane Ingleby is far too bold for her own good. Her blue eyes are the sort a man could drown in—were it not for her impudence. She questions his every move, breaches his secrets, touches his soul. When he offers to set her up in his London town house, love is the last thing on his mind.
Jane tries to pretend it’s strictly business, an arrangement she’s been forced to accept in order to conceal a dangerous secret. Surely there is nothing more perilous than being the lover of such a man. Yet as she gets past his devilish façade and sees the noble heart within, she knows the greatest jeopardy of all, a passion that drives her to risk everything on one perfect month with the improper gentleman who thinks that love is for fools.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
I’ve always been really into historical romance but I’m finally trying to expand my horizons in this category, partially because my favourites, like Julie Garwood and Judith Macnaught aren’t producing historicals anymore, and partially because I’ve heard some great things about authors like Mary Balogh and Eloisa James. My selections are based mainly on what the library has available when I log on for e-books, so my first new-to-me historical author is Mary Balogh, and I’m giving her Mistress Trilogy a try, starting with More Than a Mistress.
My general feeling: I liked it. I wasn’t blown away by it but it is one of her earlier books so I’m going to keep exploring Balogh’s work before I give up or fangirl. There are a lot of tropes in More Than a Mistress but they didn’t detract my overall enjoyment of the story because I really liked the two main characters. Jane is nicely acerbic with Tresham from their first meeting — and unafraid of voicing her opinions — and they remain evenly matched throughout More Than a Mistress, even when the dynamics of their relationship shift. Both characters have some unexpected artistic abilities and I quite enjoyed discovering them. They added a little something extra to their story and their relationship, which was great.
I also thought Balogh’s detail and worldbuilding were outstanding. I’m no expert on the Regency time period but I love the details that were included in More Than a Mistress. It felt very authentic and was a fun change from my usual source of historical fiction: steampunk. It’s by no means my favourite time period since I’m a sucker for more medieval novels but I definitely had fun with it.
The rest of the Mistress trilogy focuses on the Tresham’s two siblings. I’m actually rather disappointed about this since there were some interesting supporting characters, including these two, but the ones I was most curious about don’t seem to have their own books. Nonetheless, I will be seeing what other Mary Balogh books the library has to offer me since I found my dive back into historical romance quite refreshing. I still love urban fantasy and paranormal romance but it’s been great reading something completely different!