Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Apr 06, Jessica's Totally Over The Top Book Obsession rated it liked it Shelves: historical-romance , liked-audiobook-version , listened-to-on-audio , meh-reads , own-book , read-in The first half went very slow. I found myself very bored at times. The second half was much better, but still kinda slow.
I really liked Gwen. I found her to be sweet, smart, and loyal. Hugo on the other hand was hard to warm up to. He was wishy washy, very dull, and at times flat. I think the author meant for him to be broody, damaged, and deep. Instead he came off one dimensional. Hugo drove me nuts with his Yes I will court her! I love her. No I will not court her she is upper class and I am middle class it will never work! I want a hero that knows what he wants and goes for it.
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Mary Balogh had a very old world writing style that reminded me of Jane Austen which I loved. However she was very long winded and wordy. At times she would have both Gwen and Hugo relive the same scene making it redundant. Still there was enjoyable moments to the book.
So I gave it a middle of the road 3 stars. The second half really helped save this book for me. View all 18 comments. Mar 07, Diane rated it liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , love-stories. I reached for this novel the same way a drowning man reaches for a life preserver. After a difficult month, it was a relief to lose myself in a charming historical romance.
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We meet the brave and scowling Lord Trentham, who fought in the Napoleonic wars and feels guilty about all of the men who died under his command, and the lovely widow Lady Muir, who is nursing her own emotional wounds after a difficult marriage. Trentham feels pressure to marry, but Lady Muir has vowed never to marry again. O I reached for this novel the same way a drowning man reaches for a life preserver.
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Oh no! And yet, they seem perfect for each other. If only those two got together maybe they could help each other heal This is the first of a new series for Mary Balogh, and it's delightful. I had previously loved her Bedwyn Saga and her Simply Quartet, and based on this first volume, her new Survivors' Club is very promising.
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I am in a bit of awe for how well-develped Balogh's characters are. Each novel references other families and back stories from different books, and I wish I could peek at her notes to know how she keeps it all organized. In my opinion, she is a queen of historical romance. View 1 comment. Dec 22, Wollstonecrafthomegirl rated it really liked it. It's been a long while since I read a Balogh and, oh boy, this one hit a serious sweet spot for me.
This, to me, is everything that's good about historical romance. Two well drawn characters, not too much drama for the sake of drama, lovely dialogue and the close examination of a growing romance. It's grown up, in the best way possible. I'll start with Hugo because he was great. I love that he spoke his mind and shocked Gwen so completely with it.
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His bluntness made me smile, even a passing comm It's been a long while since I read a Balogh and, oh boy, this one hit a serious sweet spot for me. His bluntness made me smile, even a passing comment about why Gwen would shorten her name when Gwendoline was such a lovely name, was just so unexpectedly honest. When he stripped off and went swimming in front of her, that was brilliant. That scene in a lot of ways captures the essence of this book, there's sometimes a paucity of words between these two characters but often it's what is not being said which is really important.
Particularly for Hugo who covers his emotions and his inadequacies by not revealing his feelings - for example, agreeing with Gwen that she looked like a drowned rat and then later thinking to himself that she was beautiful no matter what the state of her clothing, or handing her into a carriage and just saying 'have a good trip' despite all that had passed between them at that point numerous kisses and passionate sex. It might seem as though there's a lack of passion there or love or romance but I think Balogh does a good job of conveying that his feelings and emotions towards Gwen are taking place in between all this plain speaking it's a Knightley thing - "if I loved you less perhaps I could express it more" [Austen is rolling over in her grave, that's not the exact quote, but you get what I'm saying].
Then there's Gwen who tumbles into an affair and then love with this unlikely man despite swearing off marriage altogether. She's a little less strong as a character but I liked her very much. The sex is really, really great typical Balogh not too explicit and there's not too much of it, but what there was worked for me because I really like the characters. There's no dirty talk as such in this book but Hugo's desire for 'lusty sex' and his willingness to talk about that fact "The next time" he said, "if there is a next time, I want you naked.
There was one thing which keeps this from being a five star for me and it's only a hairs breadth away, in reality. I think the class differences point was hit a little bit too hard and could've been handled in a slightly subtler manner. Sometimes Hugo was overly judgmental of Gwen even when she'd proved herself not to be a snob or someone who would shy away from the confrontations he experiences because of his actions during the war, some of the inner monologue on this point could've been edited out without the book losing anything at all.
This is me being picky though, Balogh is a genius of the genre and I suspect she can take it. I still recommend this book wholeheartedly, it's wonderful. View 2 comments. Jul 11, Dorothea rated it it was ok Shelves: romance. I went into this book with fairly low expectations. Here's why: 1 This is the first of a new series, involving the members of a group called "The Survivors' Club".
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Here is Mary Balogh's description of that club, taken from her website : The seven members of the club, six men and one woman, are survivors of the Napoleonic Wars, five of them former military officers. All seven were variously wounded during the wars and ended up spending several years at Penderris Hall, the Cornish estate of the Duk I went into this book with fairly low expectations.
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All seven were variously wounded during the wars and ended up spending several years at Penderris Hall, the Cornish estate of the Duke of Stanbrook, healing and recuperating. The duke was not an active participant in the wars, but his only son was. He died in the Peninsula. The one woman is the widow of a reconnaissance officer, who was captured as a spy in the Peninsula and tortured by the French. She was present during part of the torture and the death of her husband. The seven are all nominally healed, but they return to Penderris for a few weeks each year to spend time with one another, to draw strength from one another and help with any problem that might have arisen.
What worried me here is that this setup seems like it will give Balogh a lot of opportunities to write about characters with disabilities. She's often done so before and while she could usually have done it a great deal worse , she could have done better too. A recurring theme, especially among male characters who became physically disabled in an accident or war, is independent stoicism as a virtue -- these characters show that they're not crushed in spirit by viewing their disability as a challenge to overcome, e.
Female characters with disabilities tend to be very sweet and compassionate to others. Nobody complains or expects that others should make accommodations for them or if they do it's a sign of bad character. Also, I can't think of any of her disabled characters who know anybody else with a similar disability -- they're all kind of isolated. The excellent blog Diary of a Goldfish has two recent posts on "10 Things Fiction Writers Need to Remember About Disability" , -- some of these tips would really improve Balogh's -- and other authors' of course -- writing!