Only Enchanting

I love romance and this book has it in spades, do not think it is all flowery language and no substance though, it is a fantastic book and I cannot recommend it enough – the best of the series so far.

 Flavian, Viscount Ponsenby, was devastated by his fiancee’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back- and everyone is eager that they revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who in a panic, runs straight into the arms of the nearest 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.

But what will happen when she discovers the real reason he married her?

This is the next instalment of the fabulous “Survivors Club” by Mary Balogh and this offering does not disappoint. Flavian, with his stutter and gaps in his memory, is definitely an easy man to fall in love with and I would happily have taken him home myself! His memories are locked away, what he does remember doesn’t make sense but with Agnes he feels safe and that is exactly what he said to her when proposing “because I want to be safe with you.”

Agnes is a widow who suddenly finds herself dealing with feelings she never knew existed with a man she does not fully understand. At sixes and sevens, she gets more confused when they go to London but that is where the fun begins. It soon becomes clear that Agnes is not going to go down quietly. I love her and her compassion, as well as the fact she refuses to be cowed by society.

A large part of the story takes part during the annual survivors club gathering so we were able to catch up with previous characters – always something I love. As with the other stories in this series the writing is very powerful and emotive, and I feel Mary Balogh’s writing really captures how I would imagine the characters to be feeling, so it is very easy to get pulled into the story.

I love romance and this book has it in spades, do not think it is all flowery language and no substance though, it is a fantastic book and I cannot recommend it enough – the best of the series so far. You do not need to read the others in the set first but I am sure once you read this one you will want to.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Series: Survivors Club (4)
  • Format: Paperback
  • Publisher: Piatkus
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

The Arrangement

 Blinded by a cannon blast on the Napoleonic battlefields. Vincent Hunt, Lord Darleigh, needs to escape the well-meaning, meddling – and matchmaking – of his family. Luckily, he is saved by a stranger, a lady with a captivating voice. When Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, there seems only one solution…

This is the second book in the Survivors Club series but can easily be read as a stand alone. Vincent is so young compared to the usual heroes from this period yet seems so much older than his years due to what he had to endure. He is very much wounded on the outside and Sophia, in her own way, is wounded on the inside.

Circumstances throw them together and this story is about their developing relationship rather than any major angst, murder or mayhem. It is all about the romance. Yes there are misunderstandings, but nothing that made me throw my hands up in frustration! Ms. Balogh manages to weave a story that holds the attention without the dramatics.

Despite being blind Vincent is confident in himself (well mostly anyway), while Sophia in complete contrast is suffering from a severe lack of self esteem. Together they manage to bring out the best in each other and the character development is a key part of the story. I love the romance of the story and the characters are perfect for each other.

In summary, a very well written story that focuses on the characters and the way they evolve and develop as they heal each other. A great romantic read.

Book Information
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Series: Survivor's Club (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

The Proposal by Mary Balogh

A reluctant war hero, Hugo comes from a wealthy middle class family becoming a Lord by virtue of heroic acts in the Napoleonic Wars. He has a chip on his shoulder the size of a mountain, particularly towards the upper class members of society – excluding his best friends of course. They call themselves the Survivors Club and look forward to their reunion once a year where they can reflect and renew friendships.

Lady Gwendoline Muir lost her husband to a freak accident and has a permanent limp from a riding accident. She has had no desire to remarry, being content with her life and her extended family. While visiting an acquaintance, circumstances conspire to have her at the house where Hugo and his friends are staying.

Tracey’s review

What a fantastic book, this is historical romance at its very best in my opinion.

Hugo is  a scowling hero, he rarely smiles in the book but when he did it made my heart go a-flutter – it probably wouldn’t have happened if he scowled less and smiled more and the author describes him so well I could see it very clearly. I really enjoyed the fact that Hugo came from a different background to the usual in these books and I so wanted to give him a big hug and make it all better. I do feel at times he could have been a bit more masterful and less ‘woe is me’ and there was one instance when I wanted him to turn round and hit someone. At the end of the day though it did all fit in with his uneasiness at not being being part of the ton by birth and his survivor’s guilt.

As a widow in her 30’s Gwendoline knows her own mind and has been around the ton long enough to be able to steer Hugo and his sister as appropriate. It was interesting to see the heroine being a sponsor at a ton ball instead of the one being swept off her feet. It makes a change for the female to be the self assured one and not the male.

This book is very romantic, but at no point did the story become boring or too mushy. The descriptions were excellent and it was good to see how the other half live in the regency period, not just the ton. The love affair was not all plain sailing of course – it never is, but the difficulties and problems seemed very real and true to the period in history. Unlike a lot of similar books the relationship was a  slow burn rather than from hello to sex in no time at all! At the end of the book I had that satisfying warm fuzzy feeling I so love.

The prose, description and sheer romance of this book are fantastic and I look forward to more books about the ‘Survivors Club’.

This is only the second book by this author I have read but I am definitely looking forward to more and I think I have a large back catalogue to catch up on!

Grete’s Review

I’m a relative newcomer to historical or regency romance, having been persuaded to try it by Tracey.  I’ve loved the authors I’ve tried so far and this is the first book by Mary Balogh I’ve read.  It had a bit more of a formal tone to the writing than I expected but it’s not a bad thing, just different from some of the other authors.  It did take me a little while to get into it but once I’d warmed to the characters, I was hooked and couldn’t put it down.

Like Tracey, I loved seeing two sides of the regency period, both upper and middle class, and how they stay separate and view each other and then what happens when they mix.  The catalyst for the successful blend is definitely Gwen who is a wonderful character and as wounded in her heart as the members of the Survivors Club.  I love that it didn’t make her bitter and resentful, instead she was sweet and generous with a brilliant touch of humour.

Hugo, poor man has been to hell and back and again, I can only agree with Tracey on his rare smiles.  They were used to brilliant effect by Mary Balogh and had a lot of impact when they appeared.

I liked the build up of the romance, that first passionate encounter was really well timed and the following ‘will they, won’t they’ added a lot of tension but wasn’t frustrating in the least.

This is definitely not a book filled with clever plot twists and turns and in all honesty, it would have ruined it, had it been.  It is simply pure passionate and wonderful romance at its best.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)