New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh returns to the seductive world she knows so well-Regency England-in a new novel filled with her trademark wit, sensuality, and breathtaking storytelling. With this, the first in a dazzling new quartet of novels, Balogh invites us into a special world-a select academy for young ladies-a world of innocence and temptation. Drawing us into the lives of four women, teachers at Miss Martin's School for Girls, Balogh introduces this novel's marvelous heroine: music teacher Frances Allard-and the man who seduces her with a passion no woman could possibly forget.…
What happens when a haughty, rakish aristocrat and a prim, beautiful schoolteacher are stranded in a deserted country inn together during a snowstorm They fall in love, of course. But as all this takes place in fewer than 100 pages-and as this is a fairly conventional Regency-era romance-the story doesn't end so quickly or easily. Instead, Frances Allard denies her feelings, pushes Lucius Marshall away by refusing his offer to join him in London and, when they're coincidentally thrown together again in Bath, attempts to ignore him-all of which makes Lucius try even harder to get her attention. A devastating secret from Frances's past keeps her from giving in, even when Lucius proposes marriage, but this secret turns out to be so unsurprising and so easily surmountable that Lucius's 200 pages of pursuit hardly seems worthwhile. Readers will feel some satisfaction when this well-matched duo eventually come together, and as usual Balogh peppers her tale with vibrant, amiable secondary characters, including a handful of Frances's colorful schoolteacher friends and Lucius's merry sisters. However, this romance, which launches a new series focusing on the young ladies' academy where Frances works, is far more forgettable than Balogh's popular Bedwyn family Regencies. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 28, 2005
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Excerpt from Simply Unforgettable by Mary Balogh
It never snowed for Christmas. It always snowed--if it snowed at all--before Christmas, when people were trying to travel to family gatherings or house parties, or long after Christmas, when it was a mere nuisance to people trying to go about the business of their everyday lives. It never snowed actually on Christmas, when it would have added a picturesque quality and some magic to the celebrations.
Such was the sad reality of living in England.
This year had been no exception. The skies had remained stubbornly gray and heavy with the promise of something dire all over the holiday, and the weather had been chilly and blustery and really not very pleasant at all. But the ground had remained obstinately bare and as drab as the sky.
It had been a rather dreary Christmas, if the truth were told.
Frances Allard, who had made the long day's journey from Bath, where she taught at Miss Martin's School for Girls on Sutton and Daniel streets, in order to spend the holiday with her two great-aunts near the village of Mickledean in Somersetshire, had looked forward to being in rural surroundings. She had dreamed of taking long walks in the crisp winter countryside, blue skies overhead, or else of wading to church and the Assembly Rooms through a soft white fall of snow.
But the wind and the cold devoid of sunshine had forced her to curtail the few walks she had undertaken, and the Assembly Rooms had remained firmly closed, everyone having been content, it seemed, to spend Christmas with family and friends this year rather than with all their neighbors at a communal party or ball.
Frances would have been lying to herself if she had not admitted to feeling just a little disappointment.
Miss Gertrude Driscoll and her widowed sister, Mrs. Martha Melford, Frances's great-aunts, who lived at the dower house in the park of Wimford Grange, had been invited to join Baron Clifton's family at the big house on Christmas Day, the baron being their great-nephew and therefore a cousin of some remove to Frances. Frances had been invited too, of course. They had also all been invited to a few other private parties in the neighborhood. But the great-aunts had sent back polite refusals to them all, declaring themselves too cozy in their own house to venture outdoors in such inclement weather and too contented with the coveted company of their great-niece to bother with any invitations.
They could, after all, visit their great-nephew and his family and their neighbors any day of the year. Besides, Great-Aunt Gertrude had fancied that she was coming down with something, though she had displayed no clearly discernible symptoms, and dared not stray too far from the fireside of her own home.