Monday, January 15, 2024

Review & Giveaway - - Always Remember

Always Remember: Ben's Story
by Mary Balogh
A Ravenswood Novel - Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 16, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

Left unable to walk by a childhood illness, Lady Jennifer, sister of the Duke of Wilby, has grown up to make a happy place for herself in society. Outgoing and cheerful, she has many friends and enjoys the pleasures of high society—even if she cannot dance at balls or stroll in Hyde Park. She is blessed with a large, loving, and protective family. But she secretly dreams of marriage and children, and of walking—and dancing.

When Ben Ellis comes across Lady Jennifer as she struggles to walk with the aid of primitive crutches, he instantly understands her yearning. He is a fixer. It is often said of him that he never saw a practical problem he did not have to solve. He wants to help her discover independence and motion—driving a carriage, swimming, even walking a different way. But he must be careful. He is the bastard son of the late Earl of Stratton. Though he was raised with the earl’s family, he knows he does not really belong in the world of the 

Jennifer is shocked—and intrigued—by Ben’s ideas, and both families are alarmed by the growing friendship and perhaps more that they sense developing between the two. A duke’s sister certainly cannot marry the bastard son of an earl. Except sometimes, love can find a way.

PJ's Thoughts:  

One of my favorite childhood memories is sitting around a campfire on a warm summer's night listening to the melodic cadence and mellow voice of a storyteller weaving a captivating tale. That's the feeling Balogh brings to this newest book in her Ravenswood series. I snuggled under a warm blanket and lost myself in the feelings of a heartwarming journey of both romance and family featuring characters still living in my head more than three weeks after reading their story...the first time. ;-)

I love the emotional layers within both Ben and Jenny, how each of them evolves over the course of their journey. And, as family is a primary focus of this series, I also enjoyed their inter-connecting relationships within not only their own family but each other's. Ben is such a nurturer. I love what a good dad he is, how he's always looking for ways to help others. But he always puts himself last. It's heartwarming to watch him finally place importance on his own needs and happiness and how that impacts not only his gradually deepening friendship with Jenny but also his relationships with members of his family, especially his half-brother, Devlin (Remember Love). For her part, Jenny is finally breaking out of the protective cocoon in which she has lived since her childhood illness thanks to the encouragement of Ben and the love of his young daughter. It's satisfying to watch her spread her wings, embrace the freedom of enhanced independence, and take control of her own life while facing head on the changes - and challenges - that brings to the dynamics within her own family. And I haven't even touched on the challenges a cross-class, legitimate-illegitimate pairing causes among all the dukes, earls, lords, and ladies of the families. 

One of the things I love about this book is the plethora of family and community members who are all highly visible and intrinsic to the story being told. They add a rich variety of texture, potential conflict, and heartwarming tenderness to Ben's and Jenny's journey. However, if you haven't read the first two books of the series, the sheer number of secondary characters and their inter-connecting relationships - and shared history - might be a bit overwhelming. For that reason, I would probably recommend reading the books in order. They are, in order: Remember Love, Remember Me, and Always Remember 

Have you read any Mary Balogh books? Do you have a favorite book or series?

Are you reading the Ravenswood series?

Do you enjoy books with a large ensemble of characters?

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, January 16 will receive a hardcover copy of Always Remember.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18


  1. I have nearly every book Ms Balogh has written. I will be moving, and moving my books is a giant undertaking. I have loved many of Ms Balogh's stories. I think the Westcott family books are some of my favorites. I also liked most of the Bedwyn's family stories. Both of those series have a lot of characters, and I enjoyed the sense of large families. I came from a large family. And I must admit, that my large family was not all perfectly happy with one another the way these fictional families are, but maybe that is cause my family was not fictional. Thanks for the review. And the reminder of what I love about Ms Balogh's writing.

  2. I have been reading Mary Balogh novels which are memorable and unforgettable. This has been enjoyable for years and will continue. The Ravenswood series is my favorite and wonderful. I enjoy many characters which makes the story captivating and come alive.

  3. I love Mary Balogh's books! I haven't started reading The Ravenswood series, but I've started collecting the books!

  4. I also haven't started The Ravenswood series, but I've been reading and enjoying Mary Balogh's books for years. The Survivor's Club series was sometimes painful to read, but is most memorable.

  5. I am really enjoying this series. I just finished the second book, Remember Me last week. I look forward to reading this one, as well. I love all her books but my favorite series is the Slightly series featuring the Bedwyn family. I was tickled to see them mentioned in Remember Me.

  6. Yes I love Mary's books. I have read the first 2 books in the Ravenwood series. I can't wait to read the next one. I have read most of her books, but not all of them.

  7. I enjoy her stories, I have not started this series yet but love this cover. If her series I like The Survivors' Club & The Bedwyn Saga ~ Glory

  8. I've read some Mary Balogh books. One that comes to mind is A Matter of Class, which I believe is a novella. I like books with an ensemble, but I agree with you that the series books should be read in order. (and without distraction!) I've not yet read any Ravenswood books. Thanks, PJ!

  9. Mary Balogh is one of my bucket list authors to read all her books - every once in a while I find one of her early books in a book sale or thrift story (that's a good day) - I haven't started Ravenswood yet. My favorite series may be her Survivors Club series.

  10. I have read some of Mary Balogh's books in the past and I do enjoy her writing. I don't have a particular favorite series. Most of the books I read have been some of her early books from when she first started. Haven't read any of the Ravenswood books but I do enjoy a large ensemble of characters so I guess I should remedy that.

  11. I do enjoy Mary Balogh's books. No favorites, I have enjoyed every one of her books I have read.
    I haven't yet started the Ravenswood series. As for many characters, if they are important, they need to be fairly well developed so I can keep track of them. A series is usually a good way to do that, giving more "body" to each one in each succeeding book. A good number of ensemble characters adds to the depth of the story.

  12. I count Mary Balogh among my top favorite authors, and I return to her books time and time again when life gets me down. "Longing" and "Beyond the Sunrise" have a permanent home on my bedside shelf. I haven't started the Ravenswood series yet - I keep Mary's books as sort of an "Open in case of an Emergency" category -- so I'm pretty sure I'll get to them sometime this year!!

  13. I’ve really enjoyed many of Mary Balogh books, but I haven’t read her Ravenswood series yet. I love books with a large ensemble of characters, particularly when you get to see them in different scenarios across a series.

  14. I haven't read Ms Balogh's Ravenswood series yet, but this sounds like a good one! I do love ensemble casts, and she seems to write them well!