by Mary Balogh

March 2009
ISBN: 978-0-440-24422-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Dell Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

Vanessa Huxtable Dew is as intrigued as the rest of the villagers when a viscount arrives in their midst. She cannot fathom any logical reason for his arrival in Throckbridge, so he must have some business to attend to. She hopes that he will not disapprove of their annual Valentine's Day festivities, or look down on such simple pleasures. The young widow also hopes her siblings will enjoy the day.

Elliott Wallace, Viscount Lyngate, curses his timing. As the bearer of news that will change young Stephen Huxtable's life forever, he wants to get on with his task. Now his plans have to be delayed because of the local assembly. Even if he wanted to decline the invitation, his room is directly below the assembly hall at the local inn. The dancing would go on whether he was in attendance or not. Not only is Valentine's Day getting in the way, but the fact that Huxtable has three sisters may prove problematic. His fervent hope that they will just celebrate Stephen's change of fortune and wave him on his way seems overly optimistic. Elliott has sisters, he should know that nothing is ever simple when females are involved. At least the assembly will give him a chance to observe the family before his announcement is public knowledge. Perhaps he will be able to gauge how best to achieve his goal without too much drama.

Author Mary Balogh has found another memorable family for her new quartet of Regency romances. The Huxtables are a delight. Charming and unaffected, the vicar's children have no idea that their lives will be forever changed when Viscount Lyngate arrives in town. First Comes Marriage is filled with humor and passion as Vanessa and Elliott face off in a marriage of convenience that is not convenient at all. Elliott is reminiscent of one of Ms. Balogh's most memorable characters, Wulfric Bedwyn, and his free-spirited wife is determined to remove the starch from his personality. There are layers to explore as both characters must reveal their reasons for viewing life from such opposing angles. Readers will have plenty to savor, and to anticipate in the books to come.

Reviewed in February 2009 by Paula.

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