First Comes Marriage (Mary Balogh, 2009) opens a new Regency romance series featuring a family of three sisters and a young brother who are raised from genteel poverty in an obscure village when the brother is discovered to be the heir to an earldom. Vanessa, the plain middle sister, ends up in a marriage of convenience with the neighboring lord who becomes her brother's guardian.
This book gets an interesting mix of reviews on Amazon, almost an even spread from one star right up to five. Some say it's Balogh's best work in years while others are saying she's finally jumped the shark. My opinion is somewhere in the middle, but on the positive side. It's not the most romantic romance ever, but I did believe the central couple would be happy together. But the real strength of the book for me was how three-dimensional the characters and setting felt. Balogh knows her history, and she makes her characters a fully imagined community.