HAPPY RELEASE DAY!
by Mary Balogh
In this poignant novel of longing and salvation, a hopeful widow and a resilient war hero discover the promise of love’s magic and new beginnings.
After surviving the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Benedict Harper is struggling to move on, his body and spirit in need of a healing touch. Never does Ben imagine that hope will come in the form of a beautiful woman who has seen her own share of suffering. After the lingering death of her husband, Samantha McKay is at the mercy of her oppressive in-laws—until she plots an escape to distant Wales to claim a house she has inherited. Being a gentleman, Ben insists that he escort her on the fateful journey.
Ben wants Samantha as much as she wants him, but he is cautious. What can a wounded soul offer any woman? Samantha is ready to go where fate takes her, to leave behind polite society and even propriety in her desire for this handsome, honorable soldier. But dare she offer her bruised heart as well as her body? The answers to both their questions may be found in an unlikely place: in each other’s arms.
Includes Mary Balogh’s charming short story, “The Suitor.”
I haven't read the first books in this series. I was quite impressed that Ms. Balogh got us all caught up without doing a huge info dump on us. The back story was incorporated very naturally at the beginning of the book.
Sir Benedict is at a loss. He doesn't feel at ease at the estate that his younger brother is managing (quite well) without him. He wasn't supposed to inherit it anyway. That honor was to go to his elder brother. But when that brother died, then Ben was so badly hurt during the war, the estate just doesn't feel like home. Now that he's walking, although with two canes, decides it is time to take back the reins. But decides he might as well meander just a bit longer. Why, yes, he is procrastinating! He's not sure how to go about ousting his brother and family.
During his stop with his older sister, Ben jumps a hedge. First time he's jumped since the accident that broke a lot of his body. He nearly jumps on top of a woman in widow's weeds...and her large, unruly dog. The scare causes him to rail at her. And, to his surprise, she rails back.
Samantha McKay was stealing a small measure of time for herself. She's been chained to her husband's sick room for five years, and though he's been dead now for a few months, her martinet of a sister-in-law doesn't allow for any joy during their mourning period. That includes walks.
This noisy first meeting leads the way to him apologizing to her. And their relationship is softly underway.
Just as Ms. Balogh eased us into the back story of the Survivors' Club, she leads us into this romance.
Samantha is coming back to life after her husband's death, and Ben feels that it's time to find himself. It has been six years since he was injured.
There is a small amount of angst here. The book is quite long, but it's a sweet, gentle journey to happiness. I enjoyed it very much.
Then there's a treat at the end. One of the other Survivors, Vincent, who is blind, has a young woman paraded before him as a prospective bride. Too bad her heart is already engaged elsewhere. While we don't know where he hares off to in this novella, we already know where he ends up as his future is told at the end of The Escape. Vincent's story is told in Book #2, The Arrangement. I will have to get a copy of that, for sure!
I especially enjoyed that many of the Survivors' stories overlap.
Will have to make sure I read all of the Survivor Books!
*Thank you, NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell, for the opportunity to read The Escape.
Connect with Mary Balogh: