Thursday, August 13, 2015

REVIEW: Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh

Only Enchanting
by Mary Balogh

Publisher: Signet
Page Count: 400
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback

How got: personal library, bought @ Hastings

First attention getter: the series and author, was already following series and wanted to collect them all! :D

Synopsis:

From GoodReads:

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 fiancĂ©e’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.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 4

Another volume of the Survivor’s Club, this was the fourth of the series that I read. I enjoyed it as much as the others in terms of emotional content and the characters. However, there were some aspects that didn’t jib as well with me.

I really liked the leads of Agnes and Flavian. Agnes’ n-nonsense, practical approach synchs well with how I approach things. I liked how that pragmatic outlook on life actually makes her more vulnerable to be swept away by the pull of high passion and first real love. Having not experienced those high-rolling emotions before makes them all the more potent, I think. In the end, though, Agnes comes out all the better for them.

Flavian’s emotional response to life was a nice change of pace, too. He’s moved to tears more than once when faced with an emotionally charged encounter or situation. This is not the norm for a romantic hero, and I liked that difference. I like that his injury hasn’t made him your usual grim, brooding, mysterious male (though that’s not always a bad thing!). There is still some mystery and masks to him, but his passion for life and Agnes still comes through.

The main relationship made the book. Agnes and Flavian fill each other out so well that it feels like they were just meant to be. Their pairing illustrates that the old adage of “opposites attract” holds some truth. Agnes’ solid, steady persona and Flavian’s barely contained passionate nature caused occasional sparks to fly with a strong, gelled cohesion in the end.

The outside plotline of Flavian’s family situation and Agnes’ familial shame was enjoyable overall. I liked how Balogh wove in Flavian’s injures with these situations, giving it more weight later in the book. His lost memories became an important part of the story; not being able to immediately recall the past when it has so much baring on the present must have torn Flavian a part.

However, I do wish that more emphasis or weight could have been given to Flavian’s injures throughout the whole book, not just towards the end. His stutter, his lazy eyebrow, and his absence of memories almost seemed as more of a gimmick than anything else for the first half of the book. After seeing how the injuries of Vincent and Ben played such a leading role in the emotional journeys of the characters in books two and three, I was a bit disappointed to see Flavian’s sidelined until way into the story.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable installment to the Survivor’s Club series. Vibrant leads and a main relationship one can root for make for a strong romantic read. I liked the plot, though the diminishing of Flavian’s situation in the beginning was a disappointment. I’d still recommend this one to lovers of the series and author, though. The emotional pull is still there.

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