Sometimes all we need is someone to listen

Oh, what a lovely and irresistible novel this is. I’ve always felt jittery when I was about to read a Mary Balogh novel, because of the emotions I would (probably) face when reading what Mary Balogh wrote. But alas, “More than a mistress” (Vietnamese title: Believe in me and love you) is really lovely, and has to be said, Balogh’s lightest novel I have ever read. I love Jocelyn, Duke of Tresham, for his warmth, for his noble character, for his courage and for the emotion that filled his heart. I love the way Jane gradually “touches” the real Jocelyn. Yes, Jocelyn, I will not call you Tresham or any other name, you are Jocelyn with the soul of an artist imprisoned in the harsh upbringing he received from his father and grandfather, he is Jocelyn of Jane, he was the one who played the music that seemed to reveal his heart, he was the one who painted the precious picture of Jane – the picture that revealed the light, the core beauty of him. It wasn’t easy for Jocelyn to admit his love, to face herself honestly, but thanks to Jane, he was free of his chains. Jocelyn finally accepted that he was not his father and grandfather. Jane taught him that. Not only did she teach him about love, she taught him more than that.
Ever since Jane stopped his duel, she’d come into Jocelyn’s life. She was a good listener, and she provided Jocelyn with a home, a family, love and companionship that the haughty duke had never known. She is Jocelyn’s Jane. She taught him that love is not weakness, but a strength greater than anything. She brought Jocelyn out of his nightmares and brought him back to the childhood home he had always loved, but hadn’t noticed. She taught Jocelyn his own worth, believing in his worth simply by believing absolutely in her own worth.
I like the author’s concept of “we”, “you” and “we” very much. Although the concept of self is one of the most difficult concepts to express in philosophy, Mary Balogh really does a great job at expressing those abstract concepts in such a simple way.
Mary Balogh’s way of building characters, leading the plot and developing the character’s personality is really ingenious, delicate to every little detail.
The only thing I didn’t feel very satisfied with in the story was the sudden appearance of Jane’s friend Charles and insistence on her marrying him. I wish Jane had been tougher, I wish the author had written more about the humiliation of that obnoxious Charles (though I have to admit it’s a bit callous of a wish), but there really aren’t any supporting characters I love. hate like this guy, even Jane’s uncle or his runaway son.
And to my surprise, I stopped fidgeting with Mary Balogh’s novel after I finished reading it.
“Yes,” she put her hand on the side of his cheek. “Yes, Jocelyn. I want to be part of his name, part of the person with that name, part of his soul. I want to become one with you.”
“You, me, us.” He leaned down and whispered beside her mouth. “Let’s create a new pronoun, Jane. The single ‘ta’ and the compound ‘we’ combine to form an endless new word for Jane and Jocelyn.”
She parted her lips under his, suddenly hungry and shocked at the words they had said and the words they hadn’t said. This is not the way she expected. These are not men and lovers. Here are two people in love.
It wasn’t in the agreement, either on her side or — certainly — on his side.
But that’s what’s going on.

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