Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Mary Balogh - Only Enchanting

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.

Comment:  This is the 4th installment in the Survivor’s Club series by Mary Balogh. As it has happened with all the previous series by her I have followed and read, so does this one feels easier to appreciate it it’s read in spaced months.

In this book we have the story of Flavian, viscount Ponsonby, who, along with his friends from the Survivor’s Club, has obviously survived the war and recovered for a while at the Duke of Stanbrook’s estate.  The members all became friends and have discovered that sharing their experiences and difficulties makes it easier to find a way to go on.
The annual meeting they have to enjoy their collective company is taking place at a different place for the wife of one of the members’ has recently giving birth. This is how Flavian reconnects with Agnes Keeping, a friend of the recent mother, and how they start to develop a relationship for the three weeks the meeting is lasting. Will they be able to part ways when the time is up or will these days have more meaning than what they anticipated? How will their actions be received by those of their families?

If there is one thing that can be said of this author is that she is a dependable writer. I always know what I’ll get when I start one of her novels and this time it was no exception. This story was solid like a surface that won’t be moved by the simplest thing and it feels great to go into something that won’t spring any unpleasant surprises on you.
Sure, the romances could always develop a little more actively – some of them do feel slightly dull – but in general, I always end up happy with the way things progress and that happened in this book too,, I especially enjoyed how it all seemed to go in one direction but there was an interesting twist, which only becomes obvious at a certain point and I think this made this plot come alive in a very special way, although not that original.

The romance between Flavian and Agnes is interesting because they both have baggage and I think the fact they could find common issues made them become closer and their relationship has room to grow on those common subjects. For instance, they both still feel both guilt and anger on things that happened to their personal lives in the past. They start talking and have interactions until their marriage as if the only mattering thing between them is how much they want to be with someone for such a long time, considering the issues they still feel.

I think it was a good change in scenery when, after they marry, they must deal with another side of the other one they were not really expecting. I especially applauded how Agnes decided to listen to Flavian and think on what was happening and how Flavian himself decided to rust his wife instead of just being his apparent mocking and laid back self.

The plot had a few surprises, one or two things I didn’t see coming but they offered a welcome twist to what usually happens in these sorts of novels. I also really liked to see the interactions between all the members of the Club and those close to them, in fact, the best part of long series is precisely that, the joy in reading about friendship and family.

Perhaps this wasn’t the best book ever and it didn’t get to be my favorite by the author but it was a compelling read, I was eager to see how things would play out next and it has a HEA as one would hope, as well as emotional growth for the protagonists. A very solid read for certain.
Grade: 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment