"First Comes Love" - Mary Balogh - 2009

Okay, here's the thing.  I've been sitting on this book since it first came out back in February of 2009.  That's two years in a crate beside my keeper shelf.  That's not unheard of, I'm sure that I have had other books in there longer, but I went out and paid full price for this one, and still it sat.  Once or twice I picked it up, but never made it past the prologue.  Until last week.  
Let's start with the major issues I had with this novel...

1) The heroine's name is Vanessa.

Vanessa Huxtable.  Yeah. 

Sure that's just her maiden name, but still, pop culture loving copy editor, where were you?  

2) The prologue introduces the reader to an interesting male character, 
who IS NOT the freaking hero.  

3) It's slow, and I mean it drags, and the H/H don't really even like each other.

4) The hero, Elliot, Viscount Something, is an uptight ass, and the heroine is like bottled sunshine or some shit - at least that's what we're supposed to think anyway.  I actually had high hopes, as Balogh has used this formula (i.e. Pride and Prejudice) well in two of my favorite novels, "Slightly Dangerous" and she reversed the gender roles but maintained the feeling for "A Summer to Remember" which features an uptight lady and a carefree hero.  Unfortunately, this book had none of the chemistry or charm of her past novels.

"First Comes Love" (pretty obviously) opens a new family series from Balogh, the author of the hit or miss "Slightly" series,  The inside cover preps you for the release of the sibling's stories in short order, and I've found them all secondhand in the two years since the "First Comes Love" release.  "First..." is all set up - to the point where you care about all the other characters more than the two you're supposed to care about.   I'll muddle through the rest just to get to Con's story, you know the interesting make on PAGE ONE of "First Comes Love" - better be worth waiting for!