Three-Day Quote Challenge: Day One

Willaful from A Willful Woman nominated Miss Bates for this challenge and Miss Bates sends her heartfelt thanks. The idea is to post favourite quotations over three days and nominate three more bloggers to the challenge. Miss Bates is going to take her cue from LizMc2 from Something More and echo that she’s not sure she knows nine bloggers either.

Notorious_RakeMiss Bates will use the three-day quote challenge to write about, what else, her favourite genre, romance! And one of her literary obsessions, the opening line to a novel, especially a romance novel. Opening lines can make or break a novel for Miss Bates. The author has to grab her from the start. She’s giving a nod to the opening lines of some of her favourite romances. The first is from a much beloved romance author, Mary Balogh and her Notorious Rake:

The thunderstorm was entirely to blame.

That opening line is perfection. It draws the reader’s curiosity. Why was the thunderstorm entirely to blame? And what could we blame the storm for? It echoes another beloved romance, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, which opens with “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day,” eliciting in the reader the same curiosity, the same serial questioning. What prevented the walk? What was it about that day that made it special or important? The opening sentence can make a romance novel memorable, or it can sound clichéd, or it can be pat, or run-of-the-mill. In Balogh, however, is a gem. And wait until you find out for what we can blame the thunderstorm: it’s sublime. If you haven’t read this novel: run and do it now!

6 thoughts on “Three-Day Quote Challenge: Day One

  1. I have had this book on my Paperbackswap wish list since January 2011, and am still in 31st position. So, I finally broke down and bought a used copy from Amazon.

    I love her old Signet historicals, and have seen nothing but great reviews of this one. Thanks for the nudge into my finally getting this book.


    1. Oh, I’m so glad I nudged because it’s my favourite Balogh. It used to be The Secret Pearl, until I read Notorious Rake. The hero’s transformation is remarkable. Feel free to drop by and leave a comment when you do finally read. I’d love to hear what you thought. It’s sooooooo good!


      1. I set aside my Sunday afternoon for some guilt free reading in my comfy chair and a pot of tea to finally read this book. I can not believe it took me 23 years. So many things surprised me about it, which doesn’t often happen after reading umpteen thousand books.

        If I had read it newly published in 1992, I would have been shocked by the sex in the first chapter. In 2015 I was still surprised, I had thought that Signet regencies were of the closed door variety, but it set the rest of the story up so well. The heroine’s unfulfilled life, and the hero’s conception of himself. The compromises she thinks she has to make, his stark look at what he has become. I liked that we got a story from both of their point of views, in seeing both themselves and through each others eyes.

        Thank you for the nudge, it is going on my Keeper Shelf. Next up is a re-read of The Cinderella Deal.


        1. XD I am positively gleeful at having brought someone over to The Notorious Rake! Your comment is spot-on when you say “the heroine’s unfulfilled life … his stark look at what he has become.” The sex in the opening chapter is shocking. Balogh seems to love that opening; it’s the opening to another favourite Balogh, The Secret Pearl. I love that she employs sex as a catalyst to so much more about the characters: how they have to confront themselves, and their past, what brought them to where they are in the present, and how they have to change something about themselves, or their lives. It’s interesting how even the most crass and indifferent of sexual encounters become, in the romance genre, a kind of Rubicon of the heart, a test, a trial, which, if the hero and heroine survive will bring about the renewal of their hearts, spirits, and bodies. This view of the body and desire is as important, I think, to romance as the HEA. So glad you read Balogh’s Rake ’cause now MBRR has this great comment of yours!


  2. That is a spectacular first line.

    And I think I actually read this book on your recommendation. What’s more, I’m certain I loved it. (To be honest, I loved TSP, too, even though it does wacky, wacky things.)


    1. Isn’t it, though!? How brilliant, how smooth and elegant and totally immersive for the reader: you want to KNOW! What are we blaming the storm for?

      Of course you loved it! But I LOVE TSP too (don’t care about the whackadoodle).


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