Monday, November 08, 2010

Dark Angel by Mary Balogh

Dark Angel by Mary BaloghSUMMARY (by the publisher): Jennifer Winwood arrives in London with her cousin, Samantha Newman, for their come-out Season. Jennifer is particularly excited because finally the marriage that has been arranged between her and Lionel, Viscount Kersey, will become a reality. It seems to her that she has loved him forever, and she assumes that he loves her. Gabriel, Earl of Thornhill, has just returned to England after a long stay in Europe, where he fled after a scandalous elopement with his father's pregnant wife. He is not in high favour with the ton, but when he sees that Lionel is also back in town, he is willing to risk further trouble for himself by causing harm to his old enemy in any way that presents itself...and Lionel has a new fiancée.


Dark Angel is a fairly short typical chick lit book. It is a light reading, but well written for this genre. Of course, a reader gets exactly what one should get from such a book: a predictable plot and, with one exception, plain characters.

The title of the book cleverly refers to both of the main male protagonists. We have the angelic, handsome, blonde, blue-eyed Viscount Kersey, who is a paragon of gentlemanly decency. On the opposite side there is the notorious, devilish enfant terrible of the ton, dark and badly behaved Earl of Thornhill. The good guy and the villain, but which is which? SPOILER: Naturally, the angel turns out to be the villain and the villain proves to be the good guy, which the reader learns right at the beginning. END OF SPOILER.

The main female protagonist is, logically, unaware of the fact that the things are not what they seem to be. She is a typical naïve, innocent, young countryside girl. She is also beautiful and smart, but her innocence and naivety prevent her to see the truth before it is almost too late. Due to her being inexperienced she, does not recognise love when she feels it. On the contrary, she forces herself to stay faithful to her immature girlish admiration of Kersey, the feeling she mistakenly confuses with love.

I really liked the portrayal of Earl of Thornhill, because his character is actually a complex one. He has a bad reputation, which is at first completely undeserved, but he almost earns it by his later actions, although unintentionally. Moreover, he is a vindictive personage, who intends to exploit Jennifer in order to carry out his vengeful agenda. Yet, in the course of putting his plan into action, he changes from a man who does not believe in love into someone who would do everything to protect the woman he loves. His character is typical of the genre, yet surprisingly well developed.

Another good side of Dark Angel is the portrayal of the ton. The author realistically describes the social norms and standards of acceptable behaviour of the time, as well as she manages to express a distinctive criticism of its hypocrisy, gloating joy, and double standards of morality between the lines.

RECOMMENDATION: This is a book for taking a recess and is the right one for someone who does not want to read something too corny. 

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I very much like your description of the Earl of Thornhill, he sounds like a very appealing character. I like a good historical romance and this is just my cup of tea. It's going on my wishlist.


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