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From one of America’s most beloved storytellers comes a classic love story—the breathtaking tale of a man and a woman caught in a web of temptation and seductionAll she wanted was to escape the hot crowded London ballroom But moments after stepping into the bitterly cold night she is seized by a pair of strong hands and spirited away Fully expecting to be ravished sheltered Alexandra Purnell instead finds herself at the mercy of the man who saved her from certain scandal Edmund Earl of Amberley is bold and sensual tempting Alexandra to be reckless for the first time in her life But as passion ignites Edmund’s offer of marriage takes Alexandra completely by surprise Now a woman who craves her freedom above all else is about to discover how far one man will go to protect and possess the woman he loves

10 thoughts on “The Gilded Web

  1. says:

    The Gilded Web is a very thoughtful character driven romantic story As typical for Mary Balogh she turns a keen eye on the interpersonal relationships of the characters in this novel Although the main focus is on the unfolding relationship between Edmund and Alexandra she also delves into their relationships with their brothers and sister and how each one of these secondary characters relate to other people Alexandra is a very complex and sometimes unlikeable character Part of me really understood where she was coming from She'd been completely repressed by her overbearing domineering religious zealot of a father He had suppressed much of her personality to the point that she appeared robotic and blank to others including Edmund for a significant portion of this book The truth was she had a very profound stew of emotions that she didn't know how to deal with I really did sympathize with her but she started annoying me towards the end The message about woman having control over lives is an important one and a message that hits home with me However her decision to break the engagement and go out into the world on her own as a governess so that she could experience some nebulous idea of 'freedom' struck me as immensely foolhardy especially when Edmund was really the ideal man for her He was all about freedom and respect From the beginning he tried to make sure that she was happy and her needs were met She always interpreted his attempts to take care of her as some sort of control attempt on his part She was kind of clueless in that regard Had this book ended differently it probably would have been a wall banger for the behaviors that Alexandra insisted upon She had effectively made Edmund her punching bag instead of dealing with her father and being honest with him and standing strong I realize how hard that must be but transference upon Edmund who showed her nothing but caring acceptance and love was ridiculous In the end I was satisfied that she finally got a clue It almost took a frying pan knock to her thick skull though Frankly I don't think Alexandra's healing is done yet I feel that Alexandra needs to work through her issues and learn to find her way and establish herself within the framework that her society allows her She was naive about the world and she didn't realize that the world was a very scary place for women without the protection of their family and men even though that's a hard pill for a modern woman to swallow It truly was better to be in a loving marriage with a protective husband who was willing to give her as much freedom as she needed than to live a lonely unprotected life as a governess I think she'll come to realize how better off she will be as Edmund's wifeEdmund was a delightful character He is the kind of person who is self sacrificing to the extreme He put his own life on the backburner to take care of his family When his brother Dominic inadvertently ruins Alexandra he steps up to offer to marry her Every action he took showed with a good man he was I don't think a woman could ask for a better future spouse I do realize that he had to learn to make sure that his needs were met and to be honest about what he wanted Although Alexandra really annoyed me with her actions some good came out of in that he was able to open up and be less private and tell her how much she meant to himThe secondary stories were pretty interesting especially James Parnell and his complicated relationship with Madeline who is Edmund's sister Their story continues in The Devil's Web I confess I am very eager to read that one soon James is a very dark somewhat emotionally dangerous character He is so full of anger and rage His heart was broken by his father's actions and he is dead in some ways because of what he's lost My heart really connected to him I didn't like how cruel he was to Madeline though Madeline seems like a flighty shallow flirt but she wasn't really She was just a happy person who took being unconditionally loved for granted But with maturity it was clear that she'd put shallow tendencies behind her and become a deeper woman with a huge capacity for love It's pretty clear that these two will have an intense storyDominic Edmund's younger brother and his desire to join up with the army for the war against Napoleon contrasted with his tendency to fall in love every week was a lighter aspect of this story Sometimes I wanted to tell him to grow up but he's pretty young He had a good heart and I'm looking forward to seeing him as a mature manThe Gilded Web was a thought and emotion provoking read I felt some degree of frustration with Alexandra that made it less likely to be a favorite of mine But it shows the usual complex and not always comfortable intense emotional depths that I have come to associate with Mary Balogh's writing I think that readers who enjoy Regency romance along the lines of Jane Austen would enjoy this story

  2. says:

    This might not be the light read that readers expect in the romance sectionKeeping in mind that this was originally published in 1989 in the early days of the hero's POV and when many authors began addressing serious issues like alcoholism and abuse this is a nuanced romance Alex and Edmund are complex characters thrust into a situation not of their making Many reviewers don't get Alex they think her bid for independence is childish or demanding in the face of Edmund's love but I think they underestimate or fail to understand the way that religious fanatics can brainwash or control their subjects in the name of eternal salvation From personal experience and having read many memoirs about people escaping cult like situations Alex has very real reasons to fear she is being forced from the one controlling situation to another rahter than having any choice in the matter When you mix in the lack of independence for women in the time period I think Balogh did a fantastic job and put thought and time into having their relationship develop in a realistic way just not in the uick way we've come to expect from the romance genre

  3. says:

    The issues the heroine had were unbelievable in general especially so given the historical setting She goes from being completely submissive to an ogre of a father to rejecting marraige to someone she loves because she wants to assert herself and be free The pacing dialogue and character development were also 2 star worthy in my opinion I read that this is early work of this recommended author so maybe I will still try some of her later works even though I was underwhelmed by this story

  4. says:

    I liked all the characters in the book with the exception of the heroine Alexandra and her father Alexandra was so wishy washy that I wanted to smack her She had it made and still kept whining

  5. says:

    Ugh A very unsatisfying Mary Balogh book I alternated between feeling sorry for the heroine whose religious fanatic father was unloving and downright abusive and feeling completely out of patience with her To an extent I could understand her overwhelming desire for freedom even though that was a virtually unachievable situation for women of her day It was completely incredible though that she would prefer to run off and be a governess over marrying this rich handsome kind and openminded earl But she's determined to be free until in the last twenty pages or so she decides she'd like to have sex with him before parting This from a woman who was truly shocked and offended when he had chastely kissed her after their betrothal and who had been so sheltered that she would have had absolutely no idea what sex actually involved But never mind there's always a guaranteed orgasm in HR world And then when she virtually forces him to confess that he loves her and will be brokenhearted when she's gone she decides oh no what I really wanted was to be needed At this point I wouldn't have blamed Edmund if he threw her over the cliffI generally love Mary Balogh's books but the entire Web trilogy is way below the uality of her recent series such as the Bedwyns and Simply So glad that I got the Web trilogy from my public library and didn't spend any money on them

  6. says:

    FrustratingRepetitiveConfusingThe primary complaint was just how slowly this story moved There were far too many repetitive and unnecessary scenes and could have just been omitted entirely The characters in uestion must have gone walking on the cliffs a dozen times and gone to half a dozen parties all settings that led to really nothing Of course the overriding frustration of this whole story is the heroine and her incomprehensible reluctance to marry the hero Does she refuse to marry him because she doesn't love him? That can't be it She was than prepared to marry a brutal task master twice her age who didn't love her Is it because she finds the hero repulsive or doesn't like him? uite the contrary; she loves him Is is because she wants to be free? That doesn't make any sense She won't be free If she doesn't marry him she will either be under the harsh thumb of her father or under the rule of some male employer if she chooses to become a Governess The woman is infuriating and as the hero states appears to see the entire male sex as her enemy She is punishing him for the frustration she feels at the male dominated world despite his being the most forward thinking indulgent man imaginable who would NEVER hinder her freedoms WTH? The heroine reminds me of a spoiled college protester or some other kind of mindless person who rails against society by punishing individuals who have no control over society than she does She is brainless stubborn andnot to be too harsh about itdownright stupid

  7. says:

    Book 1 in the Web Trilogy This was a frustrating book on so many levels First of all it was slow which I actually don’t mind for a HR but when the characters start talking in circles about the same thing they have been talking about for 100 200 pages it really gets tiring Second I am very sorry to say this of any character but I hated the heroine Alexandra Purnell She is frigid and bitter and she doesn’t change until about the last 5 pages of the book and it’s a long HR about 450 pages give or take depending on the edition you are reading The hero Edmund Earl of Amberley is slightly tolerable but not by much For my third reason I have to state that Edmund and Alexandra are engaged at almost the very beginning of the book because of a misunderstanding involving Edmund’s brother and sister who happen to be twins Dominic Lord Eden and Madeline however in the whole of the book they don’t get married It was beyond frustrating I thought they would be married by page 200 at the latest However unfortunately the marriage takes place sometime after the book endsI was very intrigued however by the secondary characters of Dominic Madeline and James Purnell Alex’s brother Especially by the interaction between James and Madeline whose book is the last in the trilogy The Devil’s Web So even though I disliked this book I am looking forward to reading the next two books in this trilogy

  8. says:

    Alexandra drove me bananas and I thought Edmund would be better off without her That's the only reason I gave this book a bad rating

  9. says:

    What a great startwhat terrible drag The heroine simply pissed me off She made no sense whatsoever

  10. says:

    I am a huge fan of Mary Balogh and I can safely say that she’s one of my all time favorite authors She just has this incredible talent of sucking me into the story so deeply that I have a hard time coming up for airThe Web series had been published awhile back and it has been on my TBR forever so it was time I dived inAfter many stories that featured funny likeable and charming characters that I enjoy reading about I was ready for some uniue intriguing and complex heroes and heroines to sink my teeth into and let me tell you Mary Balogh delivers on all the above in spadesThe first story is Edmunds who is the Earl of Amberley; second one is one of the twins’ Lord Eden’s and the third is Lady Madeline’sAs the eldest and the head of the family Edmund shoulders a lot and has been since he inherited the title at nineteen after his father’s unexpected death He is wise loving and patient as well as respectful and caring son and brother He is brought up in a loving home by caring parents who were not afraid to foster love in their children as well as free thinkinguite by accident and brought on by his brother who had best intentions and yet the worst timing Edmund finds himself in the inconvenient circumstances that reuire him to offer marriage to our heroine This story is without a doubt character driven and I loved itTo watch the heroine as she slowly and I mean very slowly comes to think for herself and not blindly trust and follow her pious and domineering father was something to behold I know that many might not have enjoyed her character much just because of that but I thought it fascinating The confusion the battle within this woman of what her deep inner self desires and the love for her parents despite their lack of the same for her was heartbreaking and painful to go through with herIf you like conflict and struggle of any kind in your love stories this is a book that will give it to you It is not a book for the faint of heart impatient and those that need a uick fix of ‘sugar spice and everything nice’I have deep respect and appreciation for all authors who take the risk and put their characters through an extreme just to see how they’ll come out of it Well played Ms Balogh well playedMelanie for b2b