Always Remember by Mary Balogh #MaryBalogh @BerkleyRomance @sophiarose1816

Posted February 21, 2024 by Sophia in Book Review / 12 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Always Remember by Mary Balogh #MaryBalogh @BerkleyRomance @sophiarose1816 Always Remember by Mary Balogh
Series: Ravenswood #3
Published by Berkley on January 16, 2024
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Lady Jennifer Arden and Ben Ellis know that a match between them is out of the question. Yet their hearts yearn for the impossible. Discover a new heartwarming story from New York Times bestselling author and beloved “queen of Regency romance” Mary Balogh.

Left unable to walk by a childhood illness, Lady Jennifer, sister of the Duke of Wilby, has grown up to make a happy place for herself in society. Outgoing and cheerful, she has many friends and enjoys the pleasures of high society—even if she cannot dance at balls or stroll in Hyde Park. She is blessed with a large, loving, and protective family. But she secretly dreams of marriage and children, and of walking—and dancing.

When Ben Ellis comes across Lady Jennifer as she struggles to walk with the aid of primitive crutches, he instantly understands her yearning. He is a fixer. It is often said of him that he never saw a practical problem he did not have to solve. He wants to help her discover independence and motion—driving a carriage, swimming, even walking a different way. But he must be careful. He is the bastard son of the late Earl of Stratton. Though he was raised with the earl’s family, he knows he does not really belong in the world of the ton.

Jennifer is shocked—and intrigued—by Ben’s ideas, and both families are alarmed by the growing friendship and perhaps more that they sense developing between the two. A duke’s sister certainly cannot marry the bastard son of an earl. Except sometimes, love can find a way.

Remember Love introduced a shocking, heartbreaking situation that nearly destroyed the Ware family and then tells the story of them picking up the pieces and putting themselves back together as they find love.  Remember Me continues with the Wares and introduces the Arden family into the mix for that romance.  Now, Always Remember continues with that theme, but adds a few complications to make the romance less than easy.  For, this pair is nearly as unequal and surprising as it gets for that time and place- an illegitimate brother to the Wares and a duke’s daughter with a physical challenge.

Always Remember, the third of the Ravenswood Regency era historical romances, is a romance set against the ongoing story of the Ware family so works best read in order.

Ben Ellis was reared with the legitimate family of his father and was allowed to call the generous hearted countess as mother and his half-siblings, his brothers and sisters.  But, for all that, he has always been conscious of the difference and how society at large views him.  He was well provided for and owns his own smaller estate, but now, he’s ready to move on from grieving his deceased wife and find a woman who will mother his little girl and partner him.

Now, there is the mysterious letter from a man claiming to be his mother’s legitimate son with a shocking story to fill in the blank page that was his mother’s history.  Is the man’s story true?  And, if so, why is he contacting Ben?  Lady Jennifer is the surprising person he turns to with his inner turmoil and she is also the woman who dominates his thoughts.  Why is he the only one to see her needs and wants behind that cheerful smile she shows the world?  Why must he feel the attraction to a woman far above him in birth and status?  It can never be.

Lady Jennifer has been unable to walk since a childhood illness wrecked havoc on her body so that her leg twisted and stopped growing.  She nearly died and her loving family had to carefully care for her to bring her back to health.  Now, as a woman of twenty-five, she is growing impatient with loving coddling and wants to show her independence.  Ben is the first person to take her dreams and make them a reality with his practical solutions and clear-eyed view of her.  He strives to hide behind the façade of ‘normal’ and yet he’s extraordinary.  He sees her as capable, but can he see her as an attractive woman, too?  How could it ever work out if they were to act on their attraction?

I loved Ben and Jennifer and I liked how the author brought them slowly along from friendship to romance pair.  The mystery element of Ben’s situation with a would-be brother and maternal side of the family also had me intrigued.  But, sigh… I was not utterly captivated.  In fact, I set the book down a few times to read or listen to others because I would get bored waiting for the pace to pick up.  Part of the reason is because the Ware and Arden family country house party gathering would push in and take over so the plot would stall out for a bit.  I love them all, but was more interested in Ben and Jennifer’s romance and the situation with his brother.  It does get there, but doddles along the way.

Side note, I loved seeing a crossover figure from the Westcott series in Bertrand Lamarr.  Dare I hope for a certain romance to be blossoming for him and a certain young lady Ware?

So, I loved the story, but found it had lag spots.  Ben and Jennifer were fabulous and I’m reveling in their swoony romance.  For those who enjoy an old-style historical romance with careful attention to character and romance development, I recommend this book/series (and any of Mary Balogh’s books, really).



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Posted February 21, 2024 by Sophia in Book Review / 12 Comments

12 responses to “Always Remember by Mary Balogh

  1. pacing issues can be the worst, and honestly, its why I don’t read Balogh too often. I do struggle with the pacing aspects to her writing. What I do like is that this author unlike so many others, hasn’t lost the authenticity element in historical romances. Her writing style has stayed the same for the most part.

  2. Balogh is an author I used to love but who I have taken a break from accidentally. I really like the sound of this one and it’s my goal to read something by her this year!

  3. Sounds like it’s one of those that end strong so you can forgive the not-so-perfect story pacing. I’ve not read the author, but have seen lots of positive reviews of her work.

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