Wednesday, November 16, 2022

BOOK REVIEW: A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh

A Matter of Class is vintage Mary Balogh. I needed something short and sweet.

Lady Annabelle Ashton is the daughter of the very high-in-the-instep Earl of Havercroft. The earl finds himself in a financial bind, so he works hard to affiance his daughter to a wealthy peer who is significantly older and horribly unattractive. The earl assumes Annabelle will sacrifice her life to bail him out. She’s his daughter after all. That’s what daughters are for. Annabelle has other plans. She runs off with a handsome coachman. Although she does it so indiscreetly that they are caught before reaching Gretna Green and before anything happens, she is ruined. Spurned by the ton, she is unmarriageable now. Her father is furious and determined to punish her.

Reginald Mason is the handsome son of a coal magnate. Although Reginald has been raised as a gentleman, technically he is not one. Nevertheless, in the last few months he has adopted the gambling, foppishness, and lazy demeanor of aristocrats, piling up debts until his father can take no more. He insists Reginald must settle down and marry. Reginald’s father has always wanted to break into the upper echelons of society but has always been shunned. He has especially been shunned by his neighbor, the Earl of Havercroft. Now Mr. Mason has a plan: marrying Reginald to Annabelle. The earl needs money. Annabelle needs a husband. If Reginald steps up, the Mason family will finally have the connections Mr. Mason has always wanted. If Reginald refuses, Mr. Mason will cut him off without a penny.

Given little choice, Reginald proposes and Lady Annabelle accepts. 

The storyline shows their bristly courtship, but also traces a few episodes in their pasts when their paths have crossed. As the story unfolds, the reader will likely figure out the twist before it’s revealed, but that doesn’t lessen the enjoyment of the story. This is a delightful read.

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