In Mary Balogh’s engaging and seductive new novel of drama and romance, a woman comfortable in her solitude allows temptation to free her heart, when a daring war hero shows her how truly extraordinary she is.
THE PROPOSAL – Mary Balogh
The Survivors’ Club Septet, Book 1
ISBN: 978-0-385-34332-9; eBook ISBN: 978-0-345-53357-9
A special review from Jane Bowers, visit Jane at her blog site: Romance Reviews Today
England after the Napoleonic Wars
The Duke of Stanbrook lost his son in the wars and generously opened Penderris Hall, his estate in Cornwall, as a place for other officers to recuperate. The duke, five officers and the widow of another shared their traumas and became fast friends as a result. So close did they become that they dubbed themselves the Survivor’s Club and agreed to gather for a few weeks each year. They all carry scars of some sort, either visible or hidden.
Hugo Emes, former major and newly made Lord Trentham, is the only one—other than Lady Barclay, of course—who was not born a gentleman. He’s the son of a wealthy merchant whose death a year ago kept him away from the last reunion. Having promised his father to take over the family business and to pass it on to a son of his own, and to look after his young sister, he’s now in need of a wife. Though Hugo was elevated to the peerage for his heroism on the Peninsula, he prefers a simple life in the country, but he’s prepared to do his duty. His announcement to the others of his need for a practical wife of his own sort leads to much good-humored teasing by his friends.
Gwendolyn, Lady Muir came to Cornwall in answer to a plea from a newly widowed casual friend from their mutual come-out days. It wasn’t long before she realized her mistake. After a quarrelsome display from her hostess, Gwen takes a walk by the rocky shore. Gwen has a weak limb and a limp from a youthful, poorly set break, and when she steps on a loose stone becomes stranded on a hillside with a badly strained ankle. She’s rescued by Hugo and carried to Penderris Hall where a doctor tells her to stay off her feet for a week. She’s given a warm welcome from the duke and others.
One can hardly imagine a more mismatched pair than Hugo and Gwen. He’s large, grim, thoroughly middle class, and—except for the six other survivors—deeply dislikes the upper class. Since widowed after a troubled marriage six years ago, Gwen wants nothing to do with the institution. But sometimes our bodies feel things contrary to our minds…
Ms. Balogh excels in plumbing her characters’ depth for all to see. She writes with wit and wisdom as she shows their own development and their interaction with others. THE PROPOSAL is both moving and entertaining and the beginning of what promises to be an outstanding series.
Here is a hint of things to come: George, Duke of Stanbrook mourns the loss of his son and heir. Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby’s wound is hard to see, other than a slight, occasional stammer. Ralph, the Earl of Berwick’s face carries a prominent scar. Sir Benedict Harper struggles to walk after having his legs crushed so badly the doctors wanted to amputate. Imogen, Lady Barclay was with her husband on the Peninsula when he was tortured and murdered. And the youngest of them all, Vincent, Lord Darleigh owns a pair of beautiful blue eyes that see no more.
Some minor characters will be familiar to readers of Ms. Balogh’s earlier works. In fact Gwen herself has appeared before in ONE NIGHT FOR LOVE, her brother’s tale. Ms. Balogh creates intersecting lives in a realistic world that hangs together beautifully. Once you enter it, you’re guaranteed to become deeply and happily involved.
Book Copy –
Gwendoline, Lady Muir, has seen her share of tragedy, especially since a freak accident took her husband much too soon. Content in a quiet life with friends and family, the young widow has no desire to marry again. But when Hugo, Lord Trentham, scoops her up in his arms after a fall, she feels a sensation that both shocks and emboldens her.
Hugo never intends to kiss Lady Muir, and frankly, he judges her to be a spoiled, frivolous—if beautiful—aristocrat. He is a gentleman in name only: a soldier whose bravery earned him a title; a merchant’s son who inherited his wealth. He is happiest when working the land, but duty and title now demand that he finds a wife. He doesn’t wish to court Lady Muir, nor have any role in the society games her kind thrives upon. Yet Hugo has never craved a woman more; Gwen’s guileless manner, infectious laugh, and lovely face have ruined him for any other woman. He wants her, but will she have him?
The hard, dour ex-military officer who so gently carried Gwen to safety is a man who needs a lesson in winning a woman’s heart. Despite her cautious nature, Gwen cannot ignore the attraction. As their two vastly different worlds come together, both will be challenged in unforeseen ways. But through courtship and seduction, Gwen soon finds that with each kiss, and with every caress, she cannot resist Hugo’s devotion, his desire, his love, and the promise of forever. Buy Here –