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Thursday, June 9, 2016

REVIEW: "Only a Promise" by Mary Balogh


Only a Promise (The Survivors' Club, #5)
(Survivors' Club #5)

Historical Romance (Regency England)
Signet -- June 9, 2015
Ebook, 400 pages
Read in May 2016
Library

Goodreads -- Author Website

RATING: 4.25 STARS

SUMMARY
Ralph Stockwood prides himself on being a leader, but when he convinced his friends to fight in the Napoleonic Wars, he never envisioned being the sole survivor. Racked with guilt over their deaths, Ralph must move on . . . and find a wife to secure an heir to his family's title and fortune.

Since her Seasons in London ended in disaster, Chloe Muirhead is resigned to spinsterhood. Driven by the need to escape her family, she takes refuge at the home of her mother's godmother, where she meets Ralph. He needs a wife. She wants a husband. So Chloe makes the outrageous suggestion to strike a bargain and get married. One condition: Ralph has to promise that he will never take her back to London. But circumstances change. And to Ralph, it was only a promise.

THEMES & TROPES
Returning Military, Beta Hero, Lady's Companion, Marriage of Convenience

MY THOUGHTS 
I have been thoroughly enjoying my jaunt through Mary Balogh's Survivors Club series and Only a Promise is my favorite so far.  I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this installment especially since Ralph was not a character that grabbed my attention in his earlier appearances.  But, I loved him and Chloe in this book and was rooting for them to get their happy ending.

Like the other Survivors, Ralph spent three years at the home of the Duke of Stanbrook in Cornwall as he recovered from severe physical injuries.  He also has to deal with major survivor's guilt because he believes he was the reason his friends went to war and none of them made it home, but him.  Despite his mental scars, Ralph knows that he needs to marry due to the fact that he is the heir to a dukedom.  He meets Chloe at his grandmother's house where she lives as an unpaid companion and, more than anything, wants to avoid London due to two scandalous Seasons in her past.  After their initial meeting, they come to an understanding and embark on a marriage of convenience that quickly turns into something much more.

I love marriage of convenience stories and Mary Balogh is one of the best at them.  She thrives on developing characters and relationships at the same time which is not easy to do.  Ralph and Chloe are both super likable characters who have their own issues to get through in order to achieve a happy marriage.  I appreciated the way that they grew together as a couple even though their situation became drastically different shortly after their wedding.  I love it when nice people find happiness and these two definitely deserved it.

Only a Promise has a more somber tone than the other books in the series, but it still retains Balogh's gentle, slow-burning style.  It can easily be read as a stand-alone though there are some fun appearances of other Survivors' Club series regulars that might not make as much sense.  I can't recommend this series or most of this author's backlist to anyone who enjoys sweet, but poignant historical romances with highly complex characters.  


FAVORITE QUOTE
“The trouble with running away is that you must always take yourself with you.”
READING CHALLENGES
2016 Historical Romance Reading Challenge

BOOKS IN THE SERIES


The Proposal (The Survivors' Club #1) The Suitor (The Survivors' Club, #1.5) The Arrangement (The Survivors' Club #2) The Escape (The Survivors' Club #3) Only Enchanting (The Survivors' Club, #4) Only a Promise (The Survivors' Club, #5) Only a Kiss (The Survivors' Club, #6) Only Beloved (The Survivors' Club, #7)

3 comments:

  1. I just love the covers of these books. They are so pretty and soft. I have read The Arrangement and I did like it. I should read more of this series. I'm so glad you loved this one. It's fun when a character who previously didn't stand out to you turns out to be amazing.

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  2. Great review! I've read books 1-4 in this series and really liked them so I can't wait to read this one!

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  3. oh now you have me super excited to pick this one up!! Once I finish with her other series...I am picking this one up!! Lovely review hun.

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