by Mary BaloghOctober 28, 2014
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.
First, I love this cover. It's just so pretty and elegant.
Something you need to know about Ms. Balogh's books...they are really long! This one is 400 pages. This is not a quick read. But...it is a lovely one. She's an expert at the "slow burn" as her characters get to know one another. Time passes and hearts are won over.
While this is the 4th book in the Survivors' Club series, you don't have to read the others to make sense of what's happening here. The other Survivors are featured and all of the back stories are mentioned so you are in the loop.
Flavian had a head injury in the war. He has holes in his memory and is just now getting control over the violent outbursts that he had when he first awoke. Certain things cause him to become distressed, and it distresses him greatly when he can't figure out what the trigger is. He feels it may have something to do with those dratted holes.
Agnes is content, mostly, with her life. She has been married and is just out of mourning for her somber husband. They weren't a grand passionate match, but they were affectionate. There's something from her past that just won't let her allow herself to be a bit wild. Love is certainly not for her! Well, at least not until Flavian dances with her...twice. Love smacks her in the heart and she is not amused.
Time passes...six months...and she figures her heart has healed from that mess that is love. Then she sees him again. And all those feelings come flooding back, alas!
For his part, Flavian is having a hard time remembering her name (his head injury raises its ugly flag again) but he remembers that he thought she was "only enchanting". He is feeling quite stressed over the fact that his entire family is agog over the thought that his ex-fiancee, who jilted him after his injury, is now free. She had married his best friend who has been dead just over a year now. Something about this match that his family is totally pushing on him, worries him.
Agnes is shocked when he proposes. She felt that love really couldn't be for her, especially with him. She gives in to her heart...and accepts.
There are schemes and worries to deal with before an HEA can even be imagined. But one of the best things this author does is have her characters behave like adults! They talk! They listen! They don't use trite plot devices to stretch the story out. Ah, what a relief it is to read this kind of story. Thank you, Ms. Balogh!
Yes, it's long...but it needs to be. I didn't want to leave these characters, but I do look forward to the next one! And, pretty please, doesn't Dora (Agnes' sister) need a lovely Duke in her future?
*Thank you, NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW Signet, for the opportunity to read Only Enchanting
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