by Mary Balogh
Series: Survivors’ Club series, Book 4
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by Signet
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: e-ARC (Release Date: Oct 28, 2014)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
Synopsis: The Survivors’ Club: Six men and one woman, all wounded in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendship forged during their recovery at Penderris Hall in Cornwall. Now, in the fourth novel of the Survivors’ Club series, Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, has left this refuge to find his own salvation—in the love of a most unsuspecting woman…
Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, was devastated by his fiancée’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back—and everyone is eager to revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of a most sensible yet enchanting young woman.
Agnes Keeping has never been in love—and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.
When Agnes discovers that the proposal is only to avenge his former love, she’s determined to flee. But Flavian has no intention of letting his new bride go, especially now that he too has fallen so passionately and so unexpectedly in love.
–I’m not adding any quotes (though I had lots of passages I highlighted), because I’m aware the e-ARC I read may have changes to wording and I wouldn’t want to quote something which isn’t in the final copy.
- I love this book and thank the publisher so much for sending the e-Arc to me so I was able to read and finish it the day before it’s published!
- Ms. Balogh’s characterizations are a hallmark of her writing. Her characters aren’t perfect, sometimes they’ve done things which seem unforgivable, sometimes they have to forgive someone else, sometimes forgive themselves.
- Her characters nearly always make a journey in her books–they’re often badly hurt people who find redemption in the right person. I think that’s a dream most of us have for our lives. We don’t always find that in our real life and that is why we read romances. I know I will get a “happily ever after,” but in the romances I like best the journey the couple must make is what makes the book special.
- All the characters in the Survivors’ Club are badly wounded and still suffer, but they support each other no matter what. The Survivors’ Club members are all present during part of this book. And we learn a little more about some of them!
- In the past three books in this series all we really know about Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby: he was wounded in battle, stammers and seems irreverent and cynical.
- Now we discover he nearly died and had a terrible head injury. He wasn’t expected to live or recover. Now his stammer is the outward sign of his injuries, but he still has terrible headaches and things he can’t remember. He isn’t even sure what he doesn’t remember. When he first came back to England after his wounding he couldn’t talk and had terrible rages.
- Before he was wounded he came back to England on leave when his brother was dying. He knows he didn’t stay the entire time with his brother. Instead he went to London where he was betrothed to Velma Frome a neighbor near Flavian’s country estate. Immediately after the betrothal he left to go back to the Peninsula and the war. His brother died the night after Flavian’s betrothal. He knows all this, but can’t come to terms with it. He loved his brother and is ashamed he left him alone to travel to London to celebrate his betrothal.
- After Flavian was so badly wounded his fiancée married his best friend. Now she is a widow just out of mourning. Flavian’s family lets him know Velma is back home again.
- Agnes Keeping is a widow and 26 years old. Her husband died three years before and though she didn’t love him she was content except for having no children. She now lives with her spinster sister who is 12 years older and more nearly a mother to Agnes. Agnes and her sister Dora are good friends with Sophia, Viscountess Darleigh. Sophia recently married Vincent Hunt, who is one of the Survivors’ Club members (The Arrangement). Agnes and Dora are invited to a ball at Middlebury Park where Vincent and Sophia live.
- Flavian is at this ball and Sophia asks him to dance with Agnes so she isn’t a wallflower. He dances with her twice–the last dance a waltz–and though they don’t speak during the dance he declares she’s “Not sensible…only enchanting.”
- Agnes and Flavian meet again about six months after their dance and within three weeks they are married…even though they know very little about each other. Flavian feels desire for Agnes though she isn’t young or beautiful, but he also declares he will be “safe” with her. Agnes has misgivings, but she marries Flavian anyway.
- I knew this was a recipe for disaster…LOL! However, Mary Balogh is expert at writing realistically about a relationship without great misunderstandings between the couple.
And a few thoughts . . .
- As I have mentioned several times I don’t read very much romance these days, but I make an exception for Mary Balogh’s books. I’ve been reading them for years and love her writing. When I finish one of her books I’m almost always smiling. She puts a lot of joy into her writing.
- I highly recommend this book. It’s not necessary to read the first three books in the Survivors’ Club series, but they are all very good.
Have you read this book? How did you like it?
- 2014 Goodreads Challenge (Hoping to read 100 books this year)