09 December, 2010
Review: A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
Mary Balogh is one of my favorite authors. If books were female stereotypes she'd be the quiet, conservatively clad woman in the corner. Not the one that whips her glasses off, pops her buttons and dances on the table. The one that passes a quiet hour with someone over a cup of strong tea and never raises her voice. She might have a silent tear roll down her cheek, if the topic turns tragic. While others have wandered off bored, you end the hour calmer and somehow rested. In A Matter of Class Balogh forgoes the silent tear. This isn't an angst laden read. It's a bit traditional, a bit of a class study, a sliver of a tale with a few light twists.
Taking the traditional threads of class difference, social ruin and forced marriage Balogh weaves a short tale as satisfying as a full length book. Anna, expected to marry the required older friend of her father's, has ruined herself with a servant. Needing a husband, and needing one quickly, her family procures a groom from a wealthy coal miner looking to buy his gambler son some respectability. Anna and Reggie move to make the best of it while facing the obvious disappointment their parents feel at the ruin of their beloved children's lives. Balogh is a careful with her words, she is one of the very rare authors I re-read to see what I missed while I was watching the plot. Take the common event of people in awkward situations discussing the weather. Reggie and Anna's parents meet to cement the previously unthinkable course of their children's lives. What else is there for them to discuss but the weather? The uncontrollable, unknowable weather.
"Which was a good thing since everyone wanted different weather for different reasons and might end up fighting wars over it if they were able to control it. As if there were not enough things already to fight wars over."