Reginald Mason is wealthy, refined, and, by all accounts, a gentleman. However, he is not a gentleman by birth, a factor that pains him and his father, Bernard Mason, within the Regency society that upholds station over all else. That is, until an opportunity for social advancement arises, namely, Lady Annabelle Ashton. Daughter of the Earl of Havercroft, a neighbor and enemy of the Mason family, Annabelle finds herself disgraced by a scandal, one that has left her branded as damaged goods. Besmirched by shame, the earl is only too happy to marry Annabelle off to anyone willing to have her.
Though Bernard wishes to use Annabelle to propel his family up the social ladder, his son does not wish to marry her, preferring instead to live the wild, single life he is accustomed to. With this, Bernard serves his son an ultimatum: marry Annabelle, or make do without family funds. Having no choice, Reginald consents, and enters into a hostile engagement in which the prospective bride and groom are openly antagonistic, each one resenting the other for their current state of affairs while their respective fathers revel in their suffering.
So begins an intoxicating tale rife with dark secrets, deception, and the trials of love - a story in which very little is as it seems.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A Matter of Class
I have read many of Mary Balogh's books, and this is definitely one of my favorites. I love the story and the characters and the unique style/approach she uses for this, which I have not seen in other books of hers. I recommend highly!!
UNABRIDGED Version - Excellent As always!
Reginald Mason is handsome, wealthy, and refined. What he isn’t, according to high society, is a true gentleman for there is no title in his lineage. However, when the Earl of Havercroft’s daughter created a scandal by running off with her father’s coachman her ruination was complete for she was branded as damaged goods.
Seizing an opportunity Reggie’s father, fed up with his son’s spendthrift ways and wanting to advance himself socially gave Reggie an ultimatum, offer for Lady Annabelle or be cut off. The fact that Reginald Mason senior was the earl’s worst enemy was of no consequence especially when Reggie’s father had the fortune to bail the earl out of financial difficulties and make an honest woman out of the earl’s daughter.
*** Many authors have used this plot line of reluctant and even antagonistic leads forced into marriage over political and financial advancements for the sake of the family. However, Ms. Balogh spins this story with exceptional vitality making the story sizzle with romance, deception and a delightful feeling of contentment that concludes with that wonderful ahhh element.
Using flashbacks of Reggie and Annabelle’s upbringing as neighbors, forbidden to even look at one another, Balogh creates some very lovely scenarios of their childhood and young adult vignettes. Both Reggie and Annabelle were only children, loved and cosseted by their parents.
Reggie was sowing his oats and on his way to becoming a dissolute gambler. While his father was quite wealthy, Reggie’s spendthrift ways were terribly upsetting and his father thought that marriage to the very beautiful Lady Annabelle would straighten him out. In fact he demanded it.
Lady Annabelle was distraught over having hurt her parents but to have to wed Reggie Mason, who had never disguised his abhorrence of her even when seated in church was truly the ultimate sacrifice. Having created a scandal and with her choice of marriage or a life of drudgery at her parents ancestral home, the least she could do was accept the inevitable. At least, Annabelle could help save her father from financial ruin having ruined herself.
Combining wonderful dialogs, secrets, and delightful flashbacks, Balogh creates a romance that exudes sensuality without graphic descriptions. Treat yourself to a gift of excellence and sit back and relax while reading A MATTER OF CLASS. You won’t be disappointed. I personally LOVED this book!