Balogh, Mary. Indiscreet. 1997. New York: Signet Eclipse, 2016. ISBN-13: 978-0-451-47789-7. $15.00 USD.
MAJOR SPOILER WARNING! PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
With historical romance, it can often be a difficult balancing act trying to make stories feel relatable to modern readers while also not being too anachronistic. But when it comes to a heavier issue, like sexual assault, where our society has not fully progressed to the point where victims are believed, or at least given the benefit of the doubt (case in point: all the negative reactions to the people coming out about sexual assault in Hollywood), Indiscreet is both historically accurate and relevant to modern times, despite the fact that it was written twenty years ago looking at the unfairness of society two hundred years ago.
Balogh conveys the narrative of the victim beautifully through Catherine, showing how her past has led her to this point, only to be put at risk of ruination and ostracism once again. And even though the full circumstances of what happened to her are not revealed, it is understandable without it being explicitly stated that she is not who she has led people to believe she is.
And in turn, despite Rex not doing anything overtly offensive without her consent, I viewed him as something of a “Gaston-esque” character initially, who does not grasp that the object of his affections is trying her best to avoid getting involved with him. But I did love his growth over the course of the book, as he comes to a greater understanding of Catherine’s past and the link it has with his own.