One of my favorite romance novel families is that of the Malorys, Johanna Lindsey’s aristocrat family from Regency England. I’ve been a rabid fan since I first read Gentle Rogue in 1991. Throughout the years they have become like old friends to whose stories I return when I need comfort. In this vein, I was both delighted and horrified when I learned that Lindsey’s next book, Stormy Persuasion (out June 10, 2014) would feature a Malory. Delighted because it features a Malory and takes place on the open seas, much like Gentle Rogue, but horrified because enough years have passed that Lindsey is writing about the next generation.
The heroine of Stormy Persuasion is Judith Malory, the daughter of Tony and Roslynn from the second book in the series, Tender Rebel (1988). Am I really that old? The answer is yes as I read both James and Tony’s stories when they were first published. I certainly don’t want to believe that either one has children old enough to marry. But it is so.
In honor of this momentous (and painful) occasion, I’d like to share my favorite Malory characters and books. These are all classic romances that hold a special place in my reading heart.
Gentle Rogue (book 3, 1991): This was my first book with a gentleman pirate hero. James Malory, Viscount Ryding, is the black sheep of the Malory clan, having been disavowed for his antics on the high seas as the pirate Captain Hawke. Ready to give up his unlawful life and return to the bosom of his family, he takes his ship, the Maiden Anne, for a last voyage. But he has a stowaway onboard—the lovely Georgina Anderson who masquerades as a male cabin boy. James soon sees through her guise but continues to torment her throughout the voyage. As a result, James always calls his love George, aggravating her family for years to come. Also, this romance has one of the best shotgun weddings scenes ever.
The Magic of You (book 4, 1993): Amy Malory has learned from the best, her uncles Tony and James. She knows exactly what she wants out of life—and what she wants most is Warren Anderson, Georgina Anderson/Malory’s crotchety older brother. She is relentless in her pursuit of Warren who attempts to resist her wiles with everything he has. Yet when the two are kidnapped, Amy is able to wear down his resistance. The bickering between the Malorys, particularly Tony and James, and the Andersons, is one of my favorite parts of this series.
Tender Rebel (book 2, 1988): Sir Anthony Malory is a rake of the first order, a “connoisseur of women,” (as noted by Lady Regina Ashton from Love Only Once) but he can’t resist the charms of Roslynn Chadwick, a lady in some serious distress. Much of Tender Rebel and Gentle Rogue take place at the same time, and it is fascinating to watch these two rogue brothers meet their matches and reform for love. There is a rather memorable sex scene in this book that involves the hero, the heroine (of course) and a chair. I can still remember it twenty-five years later. It rivals the sex on a horse scene from Lindsey’s Savage Thunder.
Love Only Once (book 1, 1986): Lady Regina Ashton, always referred to as Regan by Uncle James, is a beloved Malory niece who is mistakenly abducted and therefore ruined by Nicholas Eden, a man out to teach his mistress a lesson. In a hilarious turn of events, Nicholas runs afoul of Captain Hawke—Regina’s uncle—setting the stage for a lifetime of familial battles. While I adore Regina and fell in love with both Tony and James in this book, parts of this one were tough to read. Nicholas abandons Regina directly after their wedding and does indeed qualify for alphahole status. But this is the book that started it all.
More to come about Stormy Persuasion, which did fill me with warm and fuzzies despite my misgivings.
What's your favorite Malory book?