Mary Balogh’s: A MATTER OF CLASS: TO BE RELEASED: DECEMBER 29, 2009


A Matter of Class

Author: Mary Balogh

ISBN: 978-1-59315-554-4

Publisher: Vanguard Press

 

Reginald Mason is a gentleman only by breeding and training and not by birth. His father has given him the best advantages in life and yet he has managed to squander and over extend himself in many ways. When playing at the tables or gambling he never gave a thought to the debts he incurred and the fact that his father had to provide the sums to pay them. His extravagant life style was never in question until he father decided it was time for him to marry and upgrade his social status by marrying the woman of his choice whether he agreed to it or not. This brings me to my review of A Matter of Class by New York Time best selling author Mary Balogh.

 

The story unfolds with Reginald Mason and his father discussing his future and the debts that he incurred. Although they are quite wealthy, their money came from working in the coalmines and was not considered worthy of upper echelon status.

How would you feel or react if you had no say in whom you were going to marry? How would you feel if the only reason the person was going to marry you was because of a deal struck with your parents? Is class and status really what makes a person? Is wealth the primary reason one person should be considered worthy of another? That is something you need to consider for yourself as you read this delightful and entertaining novel.

 

Lady Annabelle Ashton is the only daughter of the Earl of Havercroft whose family and Reginald’s have been at odds for many years. Lady Annabelle having disgraced herself by running off with her father’s coachman is now labeled or branded as damaged goods. The fact that nothing happened and it was relatively innocent did not change the way those of high society viewed her nor what her father was about to do.

 

Reginald’s father Bernard decided in order to raise his son’s social standing from merchant class, he would propose a match between his son and Lady Annabelle much to the chagrin of both parties involved.

 

When their fates are sealed and the marriage proposal is accepted you can feel the tension between the two of them and more. The author then flashes back to their youths and how they first met. As children they were told to ignore each other and not allowed to be friends. Meeting secretly without the knowledge of her nurse or his family they became friends. But, at that time social class, money and the station you were born into was more important than the person you were or could be. Even today there are many families who still believe that matchmaking their children with the right person whether for monetary reasons or religious. But, for Annabelle and Reginald their parent’s reasons were different. His parent’s reasons for joining them together was to raise his station in life and hers to repair her reputation and pay off her father’s debts.

 

What I love about this book is the banter between Annabelle and Reginald and the flashbacks to their childhood. Most children do not care whether you are rich or poor or how much money your father has in the bank. Most children just want to have friends and be accepted for who they are. Annabelle and Reginald have a secret friendship that begins when she is five and continues even into their early teens. But, what keep them apart are their family and their dislike for each other and more.

 

Annabelle’s father wanted her to marry and betrothed her to the Marquess of      Illingsworth but Annabelle had other thoughts in mind. Running away with her father’s coachman set a plan in action that might come back and haunt her if it was not carried out just the right way. As a result the Marquess withdrew his proposal and her family was embarrassed and forced to do, as we would put it today, damage control. But, sometimes what you see and hear is not always what is the truth. Annabelle and Reggie were like Romeo and Juliet: two star crossed lovers but will the outcome be the same?

 

 

Thirty years of waiting and thirty years where two families were set apart from each other by stubborn pride and one more thing: Social class and money. Will they wind up together? You have to read this story for yourself and find out.

 

 

Mary Balogh created a story filled with deceit, lies, trickery, hope and humor that will not only restore your faith in love, but will let you know just how clever a woman can be when she wants to get her man.

 

Money can buy material things and maybe even your way into social society but it cannot buy love, trust, loyalty and faith in another person. You need to read this heartwarming, humorous and refreshing and totally full of class novella by an author who will keep you guessing about the outcome until the very last page. This is a great book and the author has a new fan. I hope that I will have the honor of reviewing more of her books in the future.

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The Medallion: Book One the Prophesy: by Sunni Morris


The Medallion: Book One: The Prophesy

 

I am a specially carved Medallion within my carvings are special symbols that protect the wearer from harm. Before the person chosen to wear me is born, another has predetermined their destiny. In this case, the legacy of the person is a young girl named Anwen. She will receive this Medallion and promise never to remove it no matter what. Her future has been set and her life preordained by the ruler of the Isle of Tiernay de Ochern, Lady Glynis.

 

As our story begins Cathbad the storyteller gathers the young ones around and relates the tale of Anwen and Alana to a captive audience. Storytelling is how many tales; myths and legends got passed down through the ages. This is the story of two sisters, who were not separated at birth, or by their parents, but by circumstances beyond their control.

 

The story begins with their parents receiving a visit from a wizard who comes from the Sacred Isle of Tiernay de Ochern and bestows the Medallion with its beautifully engraved and carved symbols on it. The wizard explains that the ruler of the Isle saw a vision in special watering pool that foretold her of the destiny and future of one of their soon to be born daughters.

 

When Anwen is born the Medallion is placed around her neck and little does she or her parents know the hidden powers it holds within. But, before her parents learn the prophecy or legacy behind it, raiders that enter their village and pillage it until nothing is left kill them. Anwen escapes whether because she happens to be down at the pool getting water or just because of the powers of the Medallion. We do not know. Alana is not so fortunate and is captured and enslaved by the raiders and finally sold to a mean and dangerous man. Both sisters, determined to live and to find each other go on a never-ending quest to survive but not in the same way.

 

Anwen seeks out her Grand Mama and hopes she will take her in. Her Grand Mama, being a healer or their form of a medical person in the Middle Ages, is proud to have Anwen as an apprentice and she soon becomes an asset to her in her own right and a great healer as well. Alana is ravaged and tortured by this man named Black Jack and finally escapes and winds up in an inn owned by two very special and kind people. Taking her in as if she were their own daughter she is nursed back to health and decides to stay and help them. But, that safety net is short lived when raiders come to the inn and kill Gandolf the owner and his wife succumbs to illness.

 

Anwen loves working with Keelin her Grand Mama and Ifan the man she hopes to marry. But when she is summoned to the Isle by the ruler, everything in her life will change and her destiny is no longer her own. The meaning of the Medallion will be made clear and it will be up to her what her fate will be. Or so she thinks! Her Lady takes her on a tour of the Isle and shows her the many places that no one else knows about including the special pool where she can come and contemplate and see her visions for the people and for her future. But, that is only the beginning. She insists on going home and seeing her Grand Mama and Ifan and asking them to come and live with her on this Isle. But what happens will surprise you and the answers she gets will astound the reader. Just how loyal is Ifan to her and what will her Grand Mama’s fate be in all of this?

 

Alana, after the death of the two innkeepers, decides to run the Inn with the help of some travelers who show up at her door right after their deaths. Added to the mix is a girl named Nesta who is also a healer and has been, unknown to her, chosen to take Anwen’s place as the healer in Crichton Green. Could this be fate or could this be the way the sisters are finally reunited after many years of wonder and being apart? Each one with their lives set and each one with a different destiny. But, both determined, filled with inner strength and love and loyalty for those who have helped them survive.  Never realizing that she might find more than just her Grandmother, Alana decides to accompany Nesta while leaving the inn in the capable hands of Dylan and his family. Selia, Nesta’s apprentice, will become the new healer.

 

What happens when they arrive will keep you on the edge of your seat? What happens when the sister’s finally reunite and what unresolved issues are left hanging this reviewer will not divulge?

 

However, the reunion is short lived and the truth about Anwen’s fate is revealed? Will Ifan leave his family and live with Anwen on the island? Will her sister go back to her life in the inn or go to the Isle with Anwen?

 

But, who is Selia, the new apprentice to Nesta, and what are her hidden secrets that she is so readily willing to embark on a life as a healer with limited training? Who is the helpful Blacksmith named Brady who befriends her and is willing to make a bargain to learn more about Alana and Nesta at any cost?

 

What is the legacy and what is the meaning behind the Medallion? You will have to read this book to find out what happens next, when and if Anwen takes over as Lady of the Isle. Even this reviewer does not know and if I did I would never tell. What does the future hold for Alana and Anwen only Sunni Morris knows.  All of the answers to these and other questions will have to be answered when the author writes Book Two.

 

This book is not only about the two sisters and their different destinies in life. It is about courage, persistence, bravery and determination. The determination to survive, live and never give up on life, each other and having the faith in others too.

 

Only the Medallion, our author and I know the true destiny of all of these people. Only I hold their lives and destinies within my engravings and more. What will happen will be foretold when the storyteller resumes her tale in Book Two.

 

I give this book FIVE GOLD MEDALLIONS with Candor’s special safety symbols on them to keep our author and her characters safe from harm.

Haversham Hill by Sunni Morris


Haversham Hill

By Sunni Morris

Fear is something that others inflict on you or you inflict on yourself. But, when the fear comes from something unknown that you cannot see, understand or reason with, well that is called living in Haversham Hill, a stately mansion with secrets within its walls that will terrify the reader and those living there.

 

Within my very walls you will soon learn what real fear is and why you might not want to step inside. Within the boundaries of my stately mansion and the inner forest beyond, you will find the former residents of my home and their ghostly spirits. Some have been laid to rest and others have different ideas in mind. Those that lived here were truly witches that were part of a Coven of witches that were noted for their black magic and more. Within my walls lived a young girl named Carrie and her family whose lives were lost in a tragic car accident.

 

 

 

Carrie Haversham Freeman and her family were killed in a car accident five years ago and she is determined to take action and create a better future for herself and not as a ghost or a spirit. Do you believe that ghosts or spirits can enter the body of a human and take their form resuming their lives in the body of another? Would that person take on the persona and character of the person living within their body, or would that person become one and the same with them. That is something Carrie hopes to find out by instilling fear, anxiety and more on Amber O’Donnell the new residents of Haversham Hill and her family in order to take control of their fate and more.

 

 

 

 

Carrie is determined at any cost to get her human form back no matter what it takes. She feels with the help of her also deceased relatives, she might take over the body of a living person and be alive again preferably one of the twins.

I will let her speak:

“ I am Carrie and Haversham Hill is my home and I do not like having these strangers living here. I warned those two girls that if they did not play with me and made me mad the consequences would be severe and they did not listen. I will do anything to make them pay for not listening to me and playing with me. I will turn their rooms into shambles and I will wreak havoc throughout Haversham Hill. The shenanigans my family and I pull will not only terrify the occupants but will bring fear into their hearts, minds and eyes every time they enter the house. There is no stopping me from getting what I want.”

 

 

Haunted houses are defined as ones that are believed to be the center of supernatural or paranormal occurrences. A haunted house such as Haversham Hill has a family of ghosts and spirits living in it and in the woods that house their final resting places. Such houses are often seen by those living in them as inhabited by spirits of deceased people who lived there and were familiar with the house and the surrounding property. As with the family of ghosts residing here in Haversham Hill, supernatural activity inside the house is associated with a violent and tragic event, in this case a fatal accident.

 

 

 

Why did Amber O’Donnell buy this house without researching its history? What about the eerie feeling and chills that ran up and down her spine when she saw it for the first time? Is it the torrential rainstorm, the cold and unfriendly feeling that caused her to shiver when she entered it or the strange people she met in the town? What about the house and the darkness within it? What about the rumor that a witch lived in the house? Would you believe it? What if the only way to find out was to ask one? Would you? All she wanted was to escape life in the city and start anew after a messy divorce.

 

 

One evening after finally settling in their new home, Callie and Risa her twin daughters are awakened by the sound of a child crying and want to learn more and they do. Inquisitive, curious and determined to find out where the cries originated they come face to face with a young girl wearing a long white dress. The ghostly figure frightened them but not enough for them to cry for help. Claiming she only wanted to befriend the girls she insisted that they play with her.    Telling the girls that she would always be there even if they did not see her.  Also telling the girls it would be unwise to get her angry. They would soon learn the meaning of those words and much more. Carrie pretended to want to befriend them but we know she had other ideas in mind. Let the terror begin!

 

 

As Amber peers through the back window of this house she sees a plaque with something unusual written on it. It stated that there was a witch that once lived there and the plaque had the witches name and more engraved on it. Not only that but a black cat seems to linger close by in the back and it appears to converse with a raven. How strange is that? Or is there a much more sinister reason behind what everyone seems to think they are seeing? Just why is Dorsey the real estate agent so eager to rid herself of this listing? What are the secrets that Merrill Havershim never learned before selling this house and burying the last of his family?

 

Do you believe in haunted houses? Do you believe in ghosts and how would you feel if you met some living in your own home with you and your twin daughters? With the help of her boyfriend Gary who is supportive, caring and more she soon learns not only the true meaning of love, but trust too. For without him she and her two daughters might not have survived what Carrie and her family had in store for them. Each night noises, screams, destruction and more awakened them. Shivering where they stood and frightened beyond belief this family banned together in order to find out what was behind the nightly visits and the fear instilled in them by Carrie and her family.

As Amber, the two girls and her boyfriend Gary venture into town after a night of terror they visit, Sadie the owner of a Magick Store they hope will not only help but enlighten them. But, Amber is fearful of her methods and hesitates leaving the girls with her while she prepares a preparation to secure and bind the house from harm and more. But, the danger and the terror has yet to really begin and when they return home from Ravensdam what they see in their home would not only intimidate, shock and mystify them but convince Amber that buying the house was a mistake and endangering the safety of her family, herself and Gary was far more important than a house.

 

With Sadie’s help the twins and Gary learn about witchcraft and what they will need to protect themselves, the house and their belongings from any more harm. But the tincture that Sadie helps prepare to protect the house and the bindings that will prevent Carrie from doing them any more harm are destroyed before they can use them.

 

The devastation that Carrie, the cat, the raven and her family cause not only awaken Amber to the need to rid herself of the house, but causes her to enlist the help of the only person in town who could bring everyone to safety: Sadie. Learning that Sadie is truly a good friend and might even be a witch, and embark with the help of everyone in both families to leave Haversham Hill and never return.

 

Even ghosts sometimes learn their lessons the hard way. You might think that Carrie is devoid of anyone disciplining her and bringing her to task for her actions, think again. When the old matriarch of the family explains that her fate and plight are her own fault.

 

Family love, loyalty, trust and friendship and more to m are the primary themes of this book. It is not just about a family of ghosts and one little girl whose life was snuffed out before she had a chance to live and her hope to become human again. It is about a mother who would do anything to protect her family and a little girl named Carrie who wished she were apart of it too.

 

Sunni Morris has created a plot that not only engages the reader from the first page but also keeps you in suspense; wonder and captivated and spellbound making you feel as if you were living in that house too. The vivid descriptions of the house, what the ghosts did and the surrounding area in the back plus the rituals that the spirits engaged in, are so clearly depicted you can visualize the events as the happen. This is truly an interesting novel that certainly leaves room for a sequel. What will happen to the next family? Only our brilliant author knows for sure.

 

I never give books stars: I give this book five friendly ghosts and one beautiful house for Amber her children to live in.