A Matter of Class / Mary Balogh. 2010

Here's a short review because Mary Balogh's latest is a short book, slightly longer than a short story that would appear in an anthology, but shorter than one of her old traditionals. And it's an unusual story because of the way that it explores the wide gulf that existed between the classes in Regency England.

There's a cover quote from Debbie Macomber that says in part: This is a not-to-be-missed story with a surprising twist. And really, that's it in a nutshell. Of course, I'm a die-hard MB fan who never misses any of her books as it is. The twist caught me by surprise, although the way it's written allows you to catch on to the fact that something is up from almost the beginning. But I did not see the full extent of what she had done until the last chapter. And then I did something I never do. I went back to the beginning and read the whole thing over again. This time I caught the double-meanings that were laced throughout the book. Very cleverly done.

I'm not going to say a word about the plot. I don't want to give anything away. But there are several themes woven into this little book that are worth mentioning: the very wide gulf between the aristocracy and everyone else in society, how even grown children will strive to please their parents, how sons and daughters could be bartered in marriage in order to secure a family fortune, and how important it was for young women to have an absolutely spotless reputation. Balogh has often used issues of class, family, and money to great effect in her books. This one is no different. It's quite a gem. Oh, and check this out. The book has its own website complete with questions for use at a book club.

I read a library copy. If I can get my hands on a decent coupon, I'm buying this in hardcover to add to my MB collection.


  1. yay bookshelf photos! sorry im such a nosey parker, can't help it.

    and really? not a word on the plot? sigh, i have to admit i am intriguied by the sound of this twist, but i was honestly disappointed by some of her latest books on the Huxtable family so im not in a rush to read more MB at this time. while 2 of her books (A Summer to Remember and Slightly Dangerous) are two of my favorite romance novels of all time im not a big enough fangirl to pick up everything.

  2. OMG, A Summer to Remember! That is THE book that got me started reading romance again. I LOVE that book! What a great proposal scene. But back to AMOC. I still don't want to give the plot away, but I will tell you AMOC is nothing like the Huxtables. I hope you will try it one day and let me know what you think. Get it from the library if you can.

    And bookshelf photos are fun, aren't they? I have shelves slotted sideways in my sewing room closet and they can be a pain to get to. E-books are easier, but they don't photograph well :-)

  3. I could've sworn I left a comment here last week. I think I had your blog open in one of the many tabs in my browser and then poof! I closed them all without finishing my comment. Anyway... I'm here now.

    I put a reserve on this book at my library, but I'm second in line, PLUS they don't even have it in the library yet. LOL. Hopefully I'll get it in a few weeks. Hilcia of Impressions blog also reviewed it and enjoyed it very, very much as well. Thanks for the review.

    Also, I have to say your bookshelves are almost just as fun and colorful to look at as your fabric shelves!!! :)

  4. Thanks for coming back and for telling me of Hilcia's review. I hadn't visited that blog before. Always happy to find a new one :-)
    You'll have to let me know how you like the book when you've read it.
    And maybe we should start a meme posting pictures of our bookshelves :-)

  5. I did EXACTLY what you did: I read it, gasped, smiled and then started from the beginning and read it again. Just loved it.

    Aren't you looking forward to Angie's story? I sure am :)

  6. Do you mean Angeline, the sister in the Mistress books? Yes to that, and Gwen's story as well.

  7. Okay, can't resist. I'm ordering this book right now.


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