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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 1999
The star-crossed lovers in Balogh's last Regency were separated by lies and greed ten years before the story opens. Now the heroine's nasty husband (a pious "Christian" who was in reality a brutal wife and child beater) has died, and his cousin, whose love for her was thwarted, has inherited his vast estate. Since then, he's also become a wealthy (self-made) man in the Canadian fur trade. Now he's in England looking over his inheritance and wondering if he should be looking for a bride. The cold reception he receives from his former love doesn't deter him. He decides to stay and invite a houseful of Christmas guests. Balogh does star-crossed lovers well, she does children well, and she also does Christmas well (some of her most marvelous stories have been set at that forgiving season of the year). The combination is unbeatable! A warm and winning story to cherish and re-read. True love doesn't die, and Balogh will make you believe in its power all over again.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 1999
No, this book isn't Mary Balogh's best, though it's hugely better than books from the vast majority of other Regency authors. It is much more low-key than her other books, and as such there isn't much to get excited or sad about. It's not a tear-jerker, although there is no doubt that the heroine has had a tough life.
I would have liked to find out more of Christina's and Gerard's background sooner; the information came in dribs and drabs and it was a little frustrating waiting to find out *why* she had married his cousin instead, and what the issue was with her father. The book also ended very abruptly; Balogh could have brought the characters together a little sooner and thus spent more time on the resolution.
Still, it's worth buying and reading, even if I won't be re-reading it as often as some of my other Baloghs.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2000
I think this is the first Balogh book I've read which I was disappointed in. She's established a scenario in which her characters have met before and have reasons to dislike or distrust each other, but finding out where they met before, under what circumstances and what actually happened is like getting blood from a stone. Balogh does give us quite a bit of introspection, but instead of the usual technique of using the introspection as a means of filling her readers in on what happened in the past, she tries to combine this with a 'closed mystery' style, in which we only find out the full story at the same time as the hero and heroine. This makes the book very frustrating.
Even when all is finally resolved, the ending is unsatisfying because I feel she finishes the book too soon. I wanted more discussion about the past and what went wrong, and about the future. I wanted to *see* the characters reconciled - and I didn't get that.
So, while I'll keep this book as part of my Balogh collection, I won't be re-reading it much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2004
In true Mary Balogh style, the author has written another powerful romance. Several years ago, Lady Christina spurned the impoverished Gerard Percy and married his wealthy cousin, Gilbert, the Earl of Wanstead. The puritan and callous Gilbert made life miserable for Christina. However, fate intervened and the rejected Gerard Percy is now the Earl of Wanstead. Balogh opens the story with the new earl returning home to claim the Wanstead estate.

Mary Balogh writes this regency tale using her best poignancy pen. With timed precision, Mary Balogh permits flashes into Christina's deplorable marriage and the torment she endured. Fortunately for the reader, the author placed Christina's daughters into the pages, adding essential color to a dark story. Furthermore, Mary Balogh handles the inevitable marriage proposal extremely well. She uses her many writing skills to design a delightful uncommon approach.

The Last Waltz is a melancholy story but in true romantic fashion, Balogh turns love into the victor and the reader enjoys the conquest. Yes, Mary Balogh has written her usual page turner; although, it is a sad and dark story, Balogh makes it irresistible. Astutely, Mary Balogh uses a Christmas setting. The author entertains the reader with descriptive seasonal traditions from the regency period. Balogh allows the boisterous, festive crowd to pull the reader into the many celebrations enjoyed in the earlier part of the nineteenth century. However it is the entire melancholy feel which influenced the rating.

Another Signet Regency Romance book, no longer published, and available only through the secondhand market.

Grace Atkinson, Ontario - Canada.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This isn't my favorite of Balough's, which means I've only read it 2-3 times instead of 10-15. My main complaint is that the ending feels a bit rushed. Also, Christina was forced into a household with an abusive man who used religion as his excuse for condemnation and cruelty; I was raised in a similar household and it does, indeed warp you until you have a hard time recognizing goodness and happiness when it comes your way. That part I was willing to believe, however, Christina's abrupt reversion to carefree "reborn" woman in love was a bit hard to swallow. But the bulk of the book is very good.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 1999
I got so tired of the heroine only responding to the earl in one word answers. I thought the character development was a big zero. I usually love Balogh books but this one was a bore. There was virtual know passion between the two so called lovers. If you want passion and tension stay away from this regency from Balogh.
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