cover image The Proposal

The Proposal

Mary Balogh. Delacorte, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-34332-9

In a strong opening for the Survivor’s Club series from prolific Regency doyenne Balogh (The Secret Mistress), a mismatched couple finds common ground in trauma and survival. When Hugo Emes, Lord Trentham, a resolutely middle-class businessman’s son raised to the peerage for heroism in battle, rescues elegant widow Gwendoline Grayson, Lady Muir, after she badly sprains an ankle, both agree that their mutual attraction can go nowhere. Though Gwendoline’s agreement to sponsor Hugo’s young sister in society allows Balogh to include the typical trappings of the Regency genre, the heart of the tale lies in the slow-growing closeness between the alternately taciturn and blunt Hugo and the charming and gracious Gwendoline, whose social poise hides deep wounds left by a troubled marriage. Beautifully characterized and with a gracefully developed romance, this is a historical romance of unusual thoughtfulness and depth from one of the best writers in the genre. Agent: Maria Carvainis, Maria Carvainis Agency. (May)