Mary Balogh's "The Gilded Web" - #1 in the Web trilogy

The Gilded Web - Mary Balogh

This was the first book by Mary Balogh that I read, back in the fall of 2009. It started me off on a massive glom of Balogh's books and novellas that lasted almost 2 years ...

Just re-read this one for a third time. The first time I read it, I was completely caught up in the love story and raced through it, missing a lot of the nuances and changes that the main characters went through to get to their HEA. The second time I read it, I found Dominic and Madeline highly annoying with their machinations and immaturity and just wanted them out of the way, especially Dominic. The third time was the charm, though - since I already knew the basic story, I just enjoyed all the characters (except for Alex's parents, of course), and appreciated Balogh's depiction of Dominic and Madeline as "characters in progress", with a lot of maturing and living still to do. Alex's growing and opening up to the possibilites of love, not just freedom, is pure poetry, IMHO. And Edmund, the hero - oh, sigh ... Finally have to say that this book is masterfully, beautifully written and well worth any romance lover's time.