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Silent Melody by Mary Balogh
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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 |
First off, this book is Georgian, not Regency, but I'm including it here because Mary Balogh is, for the most part, a Regency writer. This book is also the sequel to "Heartless." I truly enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure at first whether having a deaf-mute heroine would even work - it sounds difficult to transfer facial expressions, etc, into words in a book, but Mary Balogh succeeds in doing so, and in making Emily a warm and complex character. Ashley, on the other hand, is a tortured and hurting man, filled with guilt over the accidental deaths of his wife and son in India. In Emily he finds the comfort of a long friendship, and with the realization that she is a woman, and not a little girl, he finds the hope of a great deal more. This book has more of a plot than many of Mary Balogh's books, and it's a good plot that unravels at a reasonable pace - it's not thrown at you, but it doesn't slow down the book either. Truly an enjoyable work! ( )
  Anniik | Feb 6, 2008 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:58 -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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