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Alistair Munro the Duke of Bridgwater is looking for love outside the bounds of polite society And that’s what he expects to receive when he rescues a seemingly disreputable girl in a colorful bonnet off the side of the road Yet Stephanie Gray a former governess has recently come into money and is eager for a proper match with a well born man Sure that he’s sullied her name Alistair offers marriage to make amends And in this unlikely union Stephanie and Alistair make a welcome discovery—that sometimes it’s possible to marry first then fall in love

10 thoughts on “The Plumed Bonnet

  1. says:

    A lot of this story was people talking past each other And that usually drives me up a wall It didn't here and that's a tribute to Balogh being able to present her characters so strongly that you understand and sympathize even when you want them to behave differently ie out of character The thing is that Alistair and Stephanie are not only fundamentally different but have fundamentally different backgrounds and expectations Add initial experiences that they interpret differently and you have a world of mixed signals and bad assumptions to get pastHelping me along was how very much I loved Alistair His actions in the beginning that get him into the mess are ignoble but not unkind and he does the right thing in the end And I so feel his frustration in trying to understand Stephanie when he simply doesn't have the framework to do so This is cemented in the last chapters when he has the unmitigated courage to open himself up completely to her review and judgement and does so without reservation—putting ultimate power over his fate in her hands For a Duke and fundamentally reserved person to start with this is an incredibly brave thing to do and I found that powerful And that he does it solely to save his marriage and the potential for respect and affection with no promises or guarantees just won my heart completelyAnd I loved Stephanie from the beginning too She's so sincere and determined to do the right thing I was engaged by her feeling so obliged to Alistair that she lets that bind her to twisting herself into the image of what she thinks she has to be Her determination to become the perfect duchess provides a lot of the conflict for the story And a lot of the heartbreak headed for the couple That imbalance of her changing herself to meet her idea of his expectations persists for a long time and could have become tedious beyond all reason I admit I clung rather desperately to the genre expectations of a happy ending because it got a bit bleak with both of them misunderstanding each other and perfectly reasonably so I wondered how Balogh would reconcile it and I really enjoyed seeing how it played outI have to admit that the five stars comes on the strength of the last chapters once they are married and Alistair and Stephanie finally start moving towards emotional reconciliation It was painful getting there but the payoff was heartrendingly pure and I was absolutely delighted to see them coming together finally Emotional vulnerability and reconciling expectations and freedom and compromise and joining to be than you are apart all resonated deeply with me and provided a happily ever after I could believe would last and provide both characters deep satisfaction the rest of their lives Man I loved thatA note about Steamy There are two full blown explicit sex scenes and a few passingly described putting this in the middle of my steam tolerance I particularly liked how Balogh handled sexual intimacy actually and how it was a factor but only a minor one for two people who had so much ground to make up I liked that sex didn't heal all but also that it was nevertheless a factor in their coming together if that makes sense

  2. says:

    Alistair Munro the Duke of Bridgwater was bored with his life All of his friends along with his sisters and brother had married in recent years and had children At thirty four years of age he had his title wealth and possessions but little else He was returning to London after being entertained by those same friends when he saw a young woman walking on the side of the road Though her clothes were very plain THE PLUMED BONNET she wore was garish Because of the disinterest he was feeling he had his coachmen stop and he offered her a rideMiss Stephanie Gray knew it was wrong But she had little money and was hungry She could not afford to stay at an inn and she was very tired She had nervously slept last night for only a few minutes at a time on the side of the road So she accepted the gentleman's offer to take her to the next villageWhen they first met little did Bridgwater and Miss Gray know how their lives would come together He was entertained while he listened to her talk After his initial kindness he thought she had formed a ruse and was going to offer her his protection as his mistress But she proved him to be out of line and so instead he asked her to become his wifeMiss Gray knew that it was wrong but circumstances forced her to accept his offer The newness of their relationship the gap in how they were raised and what each was expected to bring to the marriage caused issues with communication At times it was heart wrenching The weeks before the wedding were filled with angst and minor misunderstandings The time afterward was bittersweet Alistair wanted no needed Stephanie to love him but he had never been taught how to show affection How to reveal his feelings For Stephanie's sake he was willing to learn But was it too late?

  3. says:

    The Plumed Bonnet is part of a series that starts with Dark Angel I have read the previous books some time ago and I never wrote the reviews but reading this one actually made me want to go back and revisit those soon In the beginning of this story we find Stephanie Gray walking along the road in a very colourful hat and destitute When the Duke of Bridgewater's carriage comes along he sees a lady of easy virtue who might help him pass a few comfortable hours and he offers her a ride Stephanie is naturally grateful and tells him the story of how she ended up like that and who she is The story sounds so fantastic that Bridgewater believes it to be made up just to gain his interest Amused he plays along and they both spend a night in an Inn albeit in separate rooms When Bridgewater realises she was telling the truth he feels duty bound to offer for her because he knows he has compromised her Stephanie accepts as she feels she has no option she has to marry to receive her inheritance and she does admire the Duke very much for what she feels was a good deed towards her But the easy communication between the two is now at an end Stephanie feels like a country bumpkin next to Bridgewater's family and despite being coached in her new duties by the dowager Duchess she feels she may never be sophisticated enough to fulfill her new duties and Bridgewater realises he wants a true marriage between them but seems unable to express his feelings in a way she understands them On their wedding day he decides to be truthful and tell her what he really thought about her when they met This makes Stephanie realise that he also has flaws; the man she thought had been so kind to her simply thought she was a trollop While this causes her some pain it was also a much needed conversation to clear the air between them After the initial big misunderstanding which I usually don't like that was uite funny and then the smaller ones that contributed to make this a very angsty read during their engagement Bridgewater and Stephanie will have to build their relationship on who they really are I found this a lovely entertaining story with very funny moments in the first half and then some poignant ones in the second It covers the dangers to women alone on the road the insecurity of meeting one's in laws and how difficult it is sometimes to understand others be it words or looks when you don't actually know them Another winnerGrade 455

  4. says:

    First off Alistair was a sweetheart I’m glad so much of the tale is told from his perspective The comedy of errorsmistaken identity at the beginning was amusing and handled with a deft hand by the author A knotty tangle that could have easily gone either wayFours stars upped to five because of some memorable lines scattered throughout the book and due to how wonderfully the issues of consent were handled by the author particularly for a book written so long ago and in an area Balogh has often been a bit dicey on in the past She did a great job here though I don’t think I have ever read a historical where the hero asked so often “may I kiss you” in a way that somehow didn’t even break the mood rather than obnoxiously mauling the woman Even Balogh’s trademark depressing lay back and think of England sex scenes were actually plot appropriate where used here I also appreciated the agency he gave her after they were married it was touching I am glad the whole secret keeping stuff was not carried on too long and I enjoyed the depiction of the first month of their marriage To many of the forced marriage plots don't bother to show us the everyday married life growing closer part which I love when authors explore I like also that his family was kind helpful and not overly high in the instep Lines I Liked “A life without dreams he said so uietly that it seemed he was talking to himself than to her Ah yes it is a lesson one learns with the experience of years is it not? Have all your dreams been destroyed Miss Gray?If they have she said I have not allowed their destruction also to destroy me sir There is always some satisfaction to be drawn from life And there is always the future and always hope even if there are not dreams”

  5. says:

    This is classic Mary Balogh character based romance no silly spy subplots or any of those kinds of devices to artificially establish conflict and suspense Just adult and human interaction This one deals with the painful side of the Cinderella story sensitively and thoughtfully exploring what it would be like to be raised in status from ordinary mortal to the highest level of aristocracy It's not the most dramatic romance I've ever read but I finished it satisfied and moved

  6. says:

    Read as part of an ebook set The Famous Heroine The Plumed BonnetEarly Balogh is not as good as later but even so these are sweet enjoyable stories As I understand it the Dark Angel series no idea what that name is supposed to imply is about four friends who embark upon forced or nearly forced marriages to women they don't love or who don't love them Naturally they all end up happy The Plumed Bonnet is about the Duke of Bridgwater Lord Francis's friend from the previous story and his marriage to a governess turned heiress Stephanie Gray He literally picks up Stephanie on a country road when she is wearing a fuchsia cape and a pink bonnet with three feathers He thinks she's an actress or a ladybird and invites her into his carriage mostly because he's bored and she has concocted a far fetched story about being robbed on the way to claim her vast inheritance at her grandfather's estate in Hampshire After they have traveled three days together and arrived at the estate he is shocked to learn that her story is true He insists that she marry him partly to assuage his honor and partly because she will otherwise be forced to marry a creepy relative in order to keep her inheritance The will is one of those where she has to marry within six months to get the money Did people really do that back then? She accepts and they go to London where the dowager duchess the grateful grandmother from the previous story trains her to be a proper duchess Indeed she becomes so proper that her own personality disappears but she is so grateful to the duke for rescuing her and treating her with respect that she is determined to be the wife he should have After they're married he confesses what he first thought about her and offers her her freedom I think we all know what happens next

  7. says:

    I enjoyed how the truth slowly unravels and the hero is hoisted with his own petard Heroine was sweet and I appreciated that once she knew his true motives she needed space to decide what was right for her She did lead him a merry dance which IMHO was well deserved

  8. says:

    I think it was a novella thought it didn't feel like one It dragged a little bit Nevertheless I really enjoyed it as it had a theme of my favorite marriage of convenience Yes Hero was a prime jerk at the beginning Heroine was definitely TSTL for getting with him into a carriage unchaperoned not to mention running away from her previous employers without giving a notice Plain stupid I wish they weren't both so racked with guilt over supposed maneuvering the other into unhappy marriage I read couple of Balogh's books these last two years so I noticed she repeated some plots I saw in her other stories but I guess it's inevitable when you are such a prolific author

  9. says:

    Maybe an A rather than A but the duke who finally finds his heart's desire is terrific Humour honesty a heroine who regains her childhood serenity Plus all the characters from the earlier books that's a treat

  10. says:

    It has been a while since I read for Mary Balogh and she rarely disappoint I enjoyed this book a lot