Tag Archives: traditional regency

lord carews bride

Historical Romance Review: Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh

The heroine of Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh is a spinster who has put off romance but is searching for meaning in life. Through her chance encounter with the reclusive Lord Carew, she finds friendship, love, and self-discovery.

historical romance review
Lord Carew's Bride by Mary Balogh
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1995
Illustrator: Ted Sizemore
Imprint or Line: Signet Regency
Book Series: Stapleton-Downes #4
Published by: Signet
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 225
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooksOpen Library (BORROW FOR FREE)
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh


The Book Backstory

I have a secret to confess about Mary Balogh. She’s an author I’ve always meant to read, but because I can only accomplish so little in life, her books would get pushed down in my TBR list. I own about twenty of her romances, but except to delight in a few covers I’ve never touched them.

One day I decided that it was as good as any to start. The reviews for Lord Carew’s Bride intrigued me. although I couldn’t find the title among my books. So instead of reading one of the romances I already owned, I ordered a copy of Lord Carews’ Bride. And I’m glad I did; the cover is darling!

It was then that I realized I already owned it; the story was part of a two-in-one volume with Dark Angel.

Now this means I have to get a copy of the original version of Dark Angel because my book-collecting OCD demands I must!

dark angel mary balogh

The Book

Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh was originally published as a 1995 Signet Regency romance. The story tells of Samantha Newman, an increasingly aging spinster (she’s in her mid-twenties!), searching for meaning and fulfillment in her life.

Through Samantha’s chance encounter with the reclusive Marquess of Carew, Balogh weaves a tale of friendship, love, and self-discovery.

The Plot

At 25 years old, Samantha is almost on the shelf. But because she is beautiful, she is still courted by many gentlemen. Nevertheless, she is still troubled and unhappy due, in part, to past heartache.

During a stay in the country with her friends, Jennifer and Gabriel, Samantha takes a walk and stumbles upon the property of the reclusive Marquess of Carew. She meets an unassuming crippled man who is warm and amiable. Thinking he is a landscape designer, she builds a cordial friendship with him.

Only later does she discover that he is no mere gardener but is actually the wealthy marquess.

Back in London, Samantha is again threatened by the man who broke her heart years earlier when she was a fresh-faced debutant.

Lord Carew is also in London, and it is then the true identity of Samantha’s supposed landscaper friend is revealed. Lord Carew will always be Samatha’s confidante and ally, regardless of who he is. He offers sanctuary from the emotional drama and pledges to marry her.

Deciding that friendship is better than the heartache of love, Samantha accepts Carew’s marriage proposal.

Their marriage is one of convenience. Nevertheless, as they get to know each other, they realize that their feelings for each other transcend mere affection.

The relationship between Hartley Wade, Lord Carew, and Miss Newman unfolds gently, with tender moments like when she massages Carew’s injured hand.

Samantha acknowledges that what she feels for Carew is more than mere friendship; it’s love.

My Opinion

Lord Carew’s Bride is not an angsty, overly dramatic book with nail-biting cliffhangers at the end of each chapter. This a slow, character-study of romance. I’m not complaining! It was a real treat to experience.

One of the standout elements is how Balogh portrays the relationship between Samantha and Carew, her “landscaper” friend. The two characters are so different from each other on the surface, but as they spend time together their bond grows gradually and authentically.

These two protagonists genuinely like each other, and it’s s a joy to watch it unfold.

The case of mistaken identity allows for a unique dynamic between Samantha and Carews. When his true identity is revealed later on, it is handled in a most satisfying manner.

Another of this book’s strengths is how Balogh explores the issue of romantic relationships and contentment. Samantha’s journey from being unsatisfied with her life to finding happiness in friendship to true joy in marriage underscores this theme more deeply than one might expect in a 225-page romance.

Balogh has a real talent for bringing characters to life and exploring the complexities of love.

Steam Factor: Sweet Meets Warm

Obviously, this is a trad regency, so the steam factor isn’t going to be sizzling. The romantic relationship between Samantha and Carew grows gradually and authentically.

They find pleasure with each other in their marital bed, although it doesn’t start as a roaring fire of passion. There’s a moment where Carew thinks to himself of how delightful their nights together are, even if his new bride is still shy and unready to initiate love play.

Carew was confident time would change that as he was a patient lover. He could never force his bride into sex for his own pleasure; instead, he sought reciprocity and mutual enjoyment.

The slow-burning romance between them heats ups, and some sensitive readers might feel a pleasant tingle. Lord Carew’s Bride straddles the line between sweet and warm. Should we call the heat level swarm? Weet?

Let’s just keep it at “where sweet meets warm.”

Final Analysis of Lord Carew’s Bride

Lord Carew’s Bride is a charming love story with engaging writing. Balogh’s prose is quite, almost exquisite, at times. The way she portrays the love between Lord Carew and Samantha is nothing short of delightful.

Lord Carew is the epitome of a wounded hero, and readers will root for him every step as he overcomes his physical limitations and finds love and happiness.

Despite a few less-than-perfect moments, this is certainly a book I’ll recall fondly. Certainly, if you’re looking for an engaging traditional Regency romance, Lord Carew’s Bride is a great place to start. I’d rank it as a must-read for fans of the genre.

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.4


Samantha Newman is getting older, but though she is beautiful and courted by a large number of gentlemen, she is restless and unhappy. While she is staying in the country with her friends Jennifer and Gabriel, she takes a walk alone and wanders onto the property of the reclusive Marquess of Carew. She meets him far from the house and mistakes him for a landscape designer. He is an ordinary-looking man and is half crippled. He is also friendly and unassuming, and Samantha soon relaxes into a warm friendship with him.

It is only much later, back in London, when she is again threatened by the man who broke her heart years ago during her come-out Season, that Samantha discovers who her friend really is. And this time she is tempted to settle for the contentment of friendship in order to escape the pain of love.

Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh
reckless heart-

Historical Romance Review: Reckless Heart (aka Elusive Love) by Lois Arvin Walker

book review historical romance
Reckless Heart by Lois Arvin Walker
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1983
Illustrator: Unknown
Book Series: Zebra Regency Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era Romance, Traditional Regency Romance
Pages: 178
Format: Hardcover, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooksOpen Library (BORROW FOR FREE)
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon

Historical Romance Review: Reckless Heart (aka Elusive Love) by Lois Arvin Walker


The Book

This review is of Reckless Heart, a historical romance by Lois Arvin Walker. This book was originally called Elusive Love and was published in hardcover in 1983. Zebra would later retitle it and reissue the book in 1985 under their Regency line.

elusive love loisarvin walker

The Plot

Reckless Heart begins with the heroine, Rebecca Langford, and the hero, Robert, Lord Compton, meeting at a party. Although Rebecca tries to talk to him, Compton is a bit standoffish with her.

Later, they become neighbors in the English countryside. Again, Rebecca tries to befriend Lord Compton, but he rebuffs her.

There are reasons behind Compton’s cold attitude.

  • He is concerned about his younger sister, Claire, and her introduction to society.
  • Young ladies of the ton–British high society–Need a female to present them. The only female relative Compton and Claire have their Aunt Laurel, who is in shaky health.
  • Compton is cut–(i.e., shunned)—by the ton for his alleged involvement in a scandal years ago.

Rebecca, however, is determined to bring Compton back into high society. Eventually, she wears his resistance down, and he attends a party she is throwing.

Later, Robert–asks the Langfords to help launch Claire into society, which they grant. Rebecca’s father and Robert also enter into a business arrangement.

In time, Rebecca and Robert fall in love and have their Happily Ever After.

The Upside

It’s a traditional Regency romance.

The Downside

Reckless Heart has the depth of cotton candy. Walker does not develop her characters in any way, shape, or form.

The “love” that unfolds between Rebecca and Robert is not set up at all. The romance only happens in the last 30+ pages of the book. It is also completely unbelievable. There is no heat and little chemistry between Rebecca and Robert.


A kiss at the end of the book is the only thing approximating sex. If this book was released today, Reckless Heart would be described as a “sweet, clean romance.”

sweet heat


Rebecca is thrown from her horse and lands in a creek on Robert’s land. That is the closest thing to violence in the book.

Bottom Line on Reckless Heart (aka Elusive Love)

Readers who like “sweet, clean romances” may find something to like in Lois Arvin Walker’s Reckless Heart. Those of us who want a lot more will have to look elsewhere.

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 2.1


Therese de Bourgerre couldn’t believe the man before her was the dashing spy she had known and loved in Paris. This was a man who had given up all hope. It was her duty to reawaken his passion without losing her heart. A delightful Regency from the author of Midnight Masque.

Reckless Heart by Lois Arvin WalkER