One Night for Love (The Bedwyn Saga 0.5) – Mary Balogh

Source: Goodreads

Mary Balogh is one of those writers whose works all take place in the same universe—which only makes One Night for Love even more nuanced and interesting!
Our hero (Neville Wyatt) and heroine (Lily Doyle) meet not in the gilded ballrooms of London, but on the war torn fields of Portugal. They are married for a day before both are shot during an ambush.

18 months later, Neville has returned to England to take up his late father’s earldom and, believing Lily long dead, prepares to marry another. Into the middle of the wedding walks a girl in a faded blue dress and an army cloak: Lily. Alive.

What follows is a story of love that spans across continents, classes, vows, and self-discoveries to arrive at the place of trust, honesty, communication, and passion that romance readers colloquially refer to as true love and happily-ever-after.

I really enjoyed re-reading this book because I can now see how important every piece of the story truly is. Neville’s sister Gwendolyn, for example, is the same Gwen who kicks off Balogh’s Survivors Club Series, and One Night For Love sets up Lauren’s story for A Summer To Remember, which in turn sets the wheels rolling for both the Slightly Series (The Bedwyn Clan) and the Simply Series! The Baloghverse is truly a fascinating place.

HHC Rating: 5 Stars

Other Reviews in this Series & By This Author:
The Bedwyns/ “Slightlys”::
Book 0.5 – One Night for Love *(This Review)*
Book 0.75 – A Summer To Remember
Book 1 – Slightly Married
Book 2 – Slightly Wicked
Book 3 – Slightly Scandalous
Book 4 – Slightly Tempted
Book 5 – Slightly Sinful
Book 6 – Slightly Dangerous
Book 6.5 – Once Upon A Dream
The “Simplys”::
Book 1 – Simply Unforgettable
Book 2 – Simply Love
Book 3 – Simply Magic
Book 4 – Simply Perfect
The Huxtables::
Book 1 – First Comes Love
Book 2 – Then Comes Seduction
Book 3 – At Last Comes Love
Book 4 – Seducing And Angel
Book 5 – A Secret Affair
The Survivors’ Club::
Book 1 – The Proposal
Book 1.5 – The Suitor
Book 2 – The Arrangement
Book 3 – The Escape
Book 4 – Only Enchanting
Book 5 – Only A Promise
Book 6 – Only A Kiss
Book 7 – Only Beloved
The Westcotts::
Book 1 – Someone to Love
Book 2 – Someone To Hold
Book 3 – Someone to Wed
Book 4 – Someone to Care
Book 5 – Someone to Trust
Book 6 – Someone to Honor
Book 7 – Someone to Remember
Book 8 – Someone to Romance (2020)
Book 9 – TK – Harry

When He Was Wicked (Bridgerton, #6) – Julia Quinn

Source: Goodreads

Concurrent with the previous two books in the Bridgerton saga is Franchesca’s story. Although she is rarely mentioned and even more rarely seen in the previous novels, Francesca is a Bridgerton through and through. Married a few years before the start of this story, Franchesca is supremely happy with her husband, John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin, and they are set to celebrate their anniversary when he dies suddenly. Left widowed, she turns to the new Earl, John’s cousin Michael, for support. Michael, however, feels suddenly that he must get away from Franchesca as well as John’s memory, and flees to India for three years.

As the years go by, Franchesca puts her time as the Countess of Kilmartin into running the estate in Michael’s place, but all the while she feels lonelier and lonelier. After three years, she happens to arrive in London for the season at the same moment that Michael returns from the continent, both of them ready to face the marriage mart. As they attempt to rekindle their friendship and navigate their way through the overcrowded ballrooms unexpected sparks begin to fly, and Franchesca finds herself running back to Scotland in the fear that she might dishonor John’s memory by reaching for the one thing she never thought she would find again: love.

I really wish we had focused a bit more on her first marriage, since John felt distant an unimportant, despite him being deeply involved in the storyline and the two main character’s lives. That being said, I quite enjoyed Colin’s interruptions of Michael’s quiet evenings, egging him on. We got to know both main characters pretty well despite Franchesca being a bit more of a loner than the rest of the Bridgertons, which explains her being rarely present in the previous books. Colin, Eloise, and Hyacinth are in nearly every book, meddling in their siblings affairs, but Franchesca operates almost entirely independent of her family. This book was mostly Franchesca and Michael insisting they could never do exactly what they were in the midst of doing, and people pointing out what they were doing, even while they denied it. The illness aspects of the book definitely helped move the plot along, but also detracted from potential character development.

I am always unsure how I feel about this one. On the one hand, I want more of Franchesca’s story. I need to understand her as a child, sharing a birthday with Eloise, in order to understand her as an adult. Maybe that is the problem I also had with the previous book. I needed more of a relationship between Eloise and Franchesca to understand Eloise.

HHC rating: 3.5 Stars.

Other Reviews in this Series:
Book 1 – The Duke and I
Book 2 – The Viscount Who Loved Me
Book 3 – An Offer From A Gentleman
Book 4 – Romancing Mister Bridgerton
Book 5 – To Sir Phillip, With Love
Book 7 – It’s In His Kiss
Book 8 – On The Way To The Wedding

To Sir Phillip, With Love (Bridgerton, #5) – Julia Quinn

Source: Goodreads

Eloise Bridgerton has had her fair share of marriage proposals and turned them all down. She wants a love match, as impossible as that seems. While she waits for love, she is content to participate in society, and write copious amounts of letters. Just as her best friend and favorite brother are falling for each other, Eloise accidentally starts falling for her cousin’s widowed husband. When he invites her to visit, she decides to go and see if they would suit… without informing her family. As Eloise and Phillip, and his twins Oliver and Amanda, attempt to get along in a house filled with sad memories, a reckoning is on the way in the form of all four, very large, Bridgerton brothers. Will the quiet Phillip be up to their standards? Will Eloise be in it for the long haul, or will the sadness of the past push her over the edge?

This one doesn’t have as much character development as I always hope it will. We get a much better sense of Eloise’s personality in the other books, when she is a secondary character, than when she is the main focus. As a heroine, she nearly disappears except in the presence of Oliver and Amanda. Sir Phillip is so wrapped up in what he wants out of a second wife that he barely notices her, and then suddenly realizes just how dependent on her he has become. I wish he had been able to appreciate her varied character a little more, and I wish she had spoken up a bit more often, rather than attempting to smother her outspokenness so as not to scare him off. She never smothered that aspect of her personality before, so why now? That aspect of the character, of her being incredibly insecure when we’ve known her to be sure and steadfast throughout the series throws me every time. The ending definitely redeems Phillip, but I do tend to be quite frustrated with him by that point.

*** Trigger Warning for themes of suicide in this one, folks ***

HHC Rating: 4 Stars.

Other reviews in this series:
Book 1 – The Duke And I
Book 2 – The Viscount Who Loved Me
Book 3 – An Offer From A Gentleman
Book 4 – Romancing Mister Bridgerton
Book 6 – When He Was Wicked
Book 7 – It’s In His Kiss
Book 8 – On The Way To The Wedding