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An Unacceptable Offer (English Edition) Kindle-editie
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The hero, extraordinarily handsome but dull family man, is Viscount Fairfax. The heroine, Jane Matthews, is a mildly pretty spinster who has been secretly infatuated with the hero for five years.
Other reviews have summarized the plot well, so I won't belabor the point. The only reason this is a 4-star for me instead of a 5-star book is because at their initial meeting (and a few subsequent), Fairfax acknowledges he is not attracted to Jane. I find the lack of chemistry, even at the onset, disappointing. It's dubious this relationship has staying power without it, particularly as good and frequent sex appears to be very important to Fairfax and near the top of his wish list for a second wife.
Later, Fairfax thinks Jane is not unattractive but it's after she becomes engaged to another that he begins to think of her as pretty. Then, in the music room, he practically pounces on her in the grip of sexual attraction, which he tells her was a result of being without a woman for so long. Nice.
He "falls in love" with Jane after she becomes unavailable, after he sees her tender affection toward his beloved daughters. All these factors made me question whether his change of mind was permanent.
The disparity in their appearances and his initial lack of sexual interest became roadblocks for me to cheer for Michael and Jane's HEA. It'd have been more believable if they were of near equal looks or if there'd been some heat between them before the music room scene.
Balogh missed an opportunity to allay those concerns by the sideways mention of a kiss that got out of hand in the Templeton library. That scene should have been included in the book to show Jane and Michael were sexually compatible. Michael could have admitted then that Jane crossed off every requirement on his wish list.
He is not a perfect man, he just looks perfect. Everything has come easily to him for most of his adult life until recent years. He has to reexamine his choices, and how to avoid making the same mistakes. He has orphaned children who need a mother. He's ready to sacrifice a lot in terms of his personal preferences in order to provide his children with a loving mother.
The situation has changed five years later. She has matured at 23 and is more self confident. When he returns to London to the marriage mart, her feelings about him have not changed. She believes she can accept marriage if she gets a respectable offer until the hero walks in the room. She's right back almost where she began.
The conflict between the heroine's love of him and what she wants from marriage versus what he thinks he wants from her is the basis of the book. Mary Balogh writes about life and growth and learning from life's experiences. This story is about second chances and Mary Balogh excels when she writes about second chances. I recommend this book.
Joseph seem to like her as a person so she accepts his proposal. She thinks that Michael will ask Honor now to marry him. She loves one man and is going to marry another. She has to do the right thing but what man will she finally chose?
This is one of Ms. Balogh's older books and the writing isn't quite as good as she is now. Still, it's a lovely story with all the trademarks of a Balogh romance. I enjoyed it very much. Jane is thoughtful and a lovely heroine. It takes Fairfax a while to understand what he really wants from Jane, but it's an intriguing process to watch him evolve.