by Mary Balogh

December 2006 Reissue
ISBN: 0-440-24306-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

Readers who have recently discovered Mary Balogh through her Slightly series or her current Simply books, know that she is a fantastic author whose characters leap off the pages larger than life. What they may not realize is that Ms. Balogh has a large backlist of novels dating back over the past two decades. Her current publisher, Dell, has made a commitment to reissue some of her most favorite novels, and readers everywhere will say “Thank you”.

The Gilded Web is the first of three Web novels to be released in the coming months. First published in 1989, this novel introduces readers to two families whose destinies are intertwined.

Alexandra Purnell steps outside the stifling ballroom for a breath of fresh air, and finds herself the victim of a kidnapping. The sheltered young woman has had little exposure to town life and now she may be facing ravishment, or worse. Why have they brought her to this home and locked her in a room? What will happen next?

Edmund Raine, Earl of Amberley, has just returned home from his evening pursuits when he hears noises coming from his sister’s room. Worried that she is upset about something, he decides that he had better check and see if she is all right. What he doesn’t expect to see is an unfamiliar young woman gagged and tied to the bed, struggling to free herself! What in the world is going on??

A case of mistaken identity, a poorly executed plan and a world of good intentions mean little as Alexandra finds herself in the midst of a scandal. Her unyielding father gives her no options. She must salvage what is left of her reputation by marrying Edmund, who feels honor-bound to protect her. What sort of marriage can come from a start like this?

Sometimes when you read or re-read a favorite novel from years ago, you realize that the author’s writing style has changed dramatically. While Ms. Balogh has certainly grown in her skill, the “bones” of her talent are quite obvious in The Gilded Web. She has given readers a group of characters to love, and a story to pull at your heart. I cannot wait for the rest of the trilogy to be released.

Reviewed in January 2007 by Paula.

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