Title: An Unacceptable Offer
Author: Mary Balogh
Published: 1988, Signet
Category: Regency Romance
Rosario reviewed a Balogh trad last week and made a comment about how her trads are so much more angsty and dramatic than a lot of her single titles. This made me curious, as I have never read one of her trads, but her other books are comfort reads for me. So I pulled An Unacceptable Offer out of the TBR. But I must have picked the wrong one because I thought this one was as nice and sweet and cozy as her single titles are! :)
Jane Matthews has decided to be sensible about her search for a husband. She’s getting up there in age (23—horror!) and she’s never been a particular beauty. She had one season long ago and refused the one gentleman who offered for her because she was madly in love with the very dashing and handsome Viscount Fairfax. Sadly, Viscount Fairfax didn’t even realize she existed. Now she’s got the chance for another London season, and she announces to her friends "I ask only for an amiable gentleman with whom I might be comfortable." Things are going well until Viscount Fairfax, now widowered, arrives in London with the purpose of finding a new mother for his two little girls. He meets Jane and thinks that she’d make a good mother, and so proposes. Jane is tempted, but knows that he doesn’t really love her. She refuses him.
I thought this was delightful. Jane’s ideas on marriage at the beginning are, of course, a little ridiculous. But I love that though she claims she wants a marriage merely of convenience and stability, she doesn’t follow through with that when actually confronted with the possibility. She doesn’t want to settle—not for a husband she doesn’t really love, or a husband she loves but who doesn’t love her. Jane changes her mind so many times in the book that she could have come off as annoying and wishy-washy. But instead, it just seems realistic; a woman living in those times could definitely be faced with these decisions. She seems meek and too accepting at the beginning, but she turns out being quite strong.
I always appreciate when the plain girl gets the gorgeous husband, though I realize that this rarely happens in real life. It reminds me of a Friends episode when Joey was talking about how if you put everyone’s beauty on a scale of 1-10, you can date within 2 points of your own rating, but beyond that it just doesn’t work. ‘Cuz you know that Joey was the wisest character on that show. Lol. But in a romance novel, I’m completely prepared to fantasize.
It’s funny---when I started writing this review I was having trouble remembering anything much about this book (I read it about a week ago). This is never a good sign, obviously. I’ve finished two other books since then that made much bigger impressions on me. But now that I’m thinking back, I remember that it was really lovely and sweet. Just a nice read. Maybe that’s why I love Balogh; I feel like I can rely on her.
But I still want some angsty Balogh. Anyone have any recommendations for any of her other Trads?