Thursday, January 18, 2024

BOOK REVIEW: Always Remember by Mary Balogh

 I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

Always Remember by Mary Balogh is the third book in the Ravenswood Series. This one is “Ben’s book.”

Ben Ellis is the oldest brother in the Ware family, but he is an illegitimate half-brother, the son of the old earl’s mistress. The earl brought him into the care of the countess when he was just three years old, after the death of his mother. Although he is loved by all as a brother, there is an underlying awareness of his status. And Ben is most aware of all. He has always tried to stay in the background.

After a family calamity several years before, Ben followed his brother, Devlin, into battle against Napoleon. There, he met a washerwoman, impregnated her, and married her. She died, and Benjamin now has a three-year-old daughter, Joy. Joy needs a mother. And Ben, who lives near the sea on his own estate, wants a wife. Indecisive about which of three potential “ordinary” women to ask, he goes back to Ravenswood (the Ware estate) for a summer festival, to think about his future. While he is there, he is reacquainted with Lady Jennifer, sister of the Duke of Wilby (from book two, Remember Me.)

Jennifer is recuperating from a romantic disappointment. She is twenty-five, beautiful, a duke’s daughter, etc. But she has a withered leg, the result of a childhood illness, and is confined to a chair. For this reason, she doubts she will ever know true love. Nevertheless, she is determinedly cheerful.

Ben and Jennifer are both beloved, but are outsiders. During the lead-up to the festival, in the midst of the family gathering, they spend a good deal of time with one another, talking. Ben is made aware of Jennifer’s secret desire for more autonomy. Being a problem-solver, he works on ways to help her increase her mobility. Before long, they have fallen in love.

But a duke’s sister cannot marry a man stigmatized by illegitimacy.

Always Remember is written with Mary Balogh’s usual aplomb, with a narrative voice that is calm, reasonable, and yet, deeply emotional. The families are huge, so there is plenty of room for more stories!

1 comment:

  1. It's been years since I read a Mary Balogh book!

    Thanks for sharing your review with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!