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Silent Melody by Mary Balogh
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Mary Balogh's back catalog is now becoming ebooks and that's both a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because I love her books, but it's bad because some of the older books are not the quality of writing I usually get from her.
The premise of this story is fine. Emmy is deaf-mute from a childhood illness. Ash is the brother of Emmy's brother-in-law, Luke. As the brother of a Duke, Ash wants to make his own way and joins the East India Company and goes to India to make his fortune, leaving a heartbroken Emmy behind.
Seven years later Ash returns just as Emmy is ready to move on with her life. Ash has dark secrets, but he has never forgotten his attraction to little Emmy. He finds the grown-up Emmy dangerously alluring, but he feels he has too much baggage to act on that desire.
The language here was a bit overblown and the plot was not very believable. But the characters are engaging and made me want to read more. Emmy is a strong woman and intriguing in the manner in which she rised above both the handicap of deafness and of being a woman in that period of England. Ash's character is a bit more muddled. It takes him longer to grown up, but he becomes a fine man and a good match to Emmy.
I'd say this book is a strong 3 1/2 stars. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Nov 2, 2015 |
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I thought the hero was a selfish bastard although I did understand why the heroine was attracted to him. I appreciated the heroine's struggle to be true to the uniqueness of her world as a deaf person but her desire to fit in so that she could get married and start her own family. So I ended up reading the bits I liked and skipping those that featured the hero at his worst. It's a good read if you are willing to handle a hero that is very unattractive at times. ( )
  mlorio | Aug 26, 2015 |
An awful lot of people to keep track of the in beginning, but they were all part of the later story. Early regency England. Emily is deaf, but can read lips well. After her childhood love, Ashley, moves to India and marries, she's determined to learn how to be a proper lady and marry. Then Ashley returns to England, a broken widowed man. Ashley is the only one who really understood her spirit and could communicate with her, despite her inability to speak. They each believe they are wrong for each other, but the various members of the families keep coming up with ways to keep shoving them together until they realize that they really belong together. ( )
  nancynova | Jun 22, 2014 |
Emily fell in love with her brother-in-law, Ashley, as a teenager, when he cared enough communicate with her although she was deaf and mute. Then he left for India for seven years, and returns a bitter and haunted man after the deaths of his wife and son in a fire. Emily is being courted by a man who would be a good match, although he is revealing himself as pompous and controlling. Emily gives herself to Ashley to comfort him, but then refuses his assumption that he will marry her. He only sees her as a sister, and he is horrified that he took advantage of Emily and corrupted the one sweet and innocent person in his life. The whole family finds out, and an aunt offers to take Emily to London for the Season. Ashley goes to the estate that he inherited through his wife.
Since Ashley is part of the family, they can't stay apart, and Emily visits his estate with her sister Anna and her husband (Ashley's brother). Ashley reveals to Emily that his wife hated him and cheated on him, and the child was not his although he loved him. The night they died Ashley was committing adultery, for the first time and encouraged there by a good friend, so he blames himself even more for their deaths. The old friend shows up and it turns out that he had been plotting for years to get rid of Ashley's wife so that he could buy the estate, and marry the woman with whom he was obsessed, the mother of the illegitimate son who should have inherited.
This is a poignant and beautiful story of two people discovering love based on friendship, despite a handicap which would never be featured in most romance books. ( )
  dolphari | Sep 25, 2013 |
Quite often, in a romance novel, one of the main couple will get married and then return. This provides a lot of conflict, which is nice, and then something has to happen to remove the wife or husband that is in the way. Usually gives you lots of delicious angst to work with.

So in this book, the Hero Ashley leaves the Heroine Emily, when she is a young girl in love with him and goes to India. He gets married, has a kid, and comes back.
Oh, but of course, the wife and child are dead. A usual conceit to provide the needed angst. Oh but of course the wife never truly loved him and his love for her died quickly. Another usual conceit, but to have them both??? BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!
He only had sex with his wife ONCE! She wasn't a virgin when they married! And the kid's not his! And his wife is still majorly in love with someone from her childhood! BTW that love was her BROTHER! Who she had incestuous sex with! And then murdered! And she married Ashley because they vaguely look alike! And she cheated on him constantly!

Could she have been any more of a one dimensional villain character? OF COURSE he falls for sweet Emily who is desperately in love with him!

I had many more problems with the book, including the depiction of Emmy, Ashley's desire to have Emily be the girl he wants her to be instead of the girl she is (only slightly resolved), and the DRAMATICS that seemed unnecessary to me. ( )
  LarsTheLibrarian | Mar 10, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0425158624, Mass Market Paperback)

Once again Mary Balogh has written a poignant romance that will be long remembered for its originality and great beauty. In this unusual story, Lady Emily has been deaf and mute since early childhood. She has been cared for and is well loved by a family who nurtures her independence and doesn't make her feel inadequate because of her disability. Because Emmy's sister and brother-in-law want her to experience life to its fullest, they assist her in finding a good marriage partner. But Emmy wants to marry for love; she doesn't want to be a beautiful silent partner to a man who doesn't care to know who she really is. Unfortunately, the man Emmy loves married another woman long ago. When Ashley arrives from India after eight years as a widow, Emmy finds she loves him too much to accept his proposal. She wants him to marry her for love--not because he feels a sense of responsibility for her.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:03 -0400)

Retired D.C. homicide detective Eddie Nickles is offered a lot of money to find the street person who may be responsible for a double murder, but what he finds is a tangled web of international intrigue.

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