Really enchanting

Only Enchanting - Mary Balogh

This is strange. In my files, this review is dated April 2015, but obviously I forgot to put up both on BL and GR, at least I don't see it on either site. I'm doing it now. I hope it's not a duplicate.


In this Regency romance, Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, meets a woman. That’s how all romance novels start, but Mary Balogh explores the topic from a different angle in her Survivors Club series. All the members of the Club were severely injured in the Napoleonic wars. It took them years to heal, but all of them still bear scars, mental and physical. Now, years later, all of them found inner strength to move on, to build a new life. To find love. Flavian is one of the Survivors.

He suffered head injuries in the war, and the brain damage he sustained on the battlefield affects his whole existence. Headaches, inexplicable urges for violence, and memory lapses plague him. His symptoms sometimes resemble the beginning of schizophrenia, and it wasn’t nice to read about his inner struggles. That’s why the first third of the book was unpleasant for me: I don’t like reading about mental illness. If some chapters were not written from the female protagonist’s POV, I’d probably have abandoned the book.

Agnes is a young widow, prim and quiet. She was fond of her husband while he lived but she didn’t love him. She doesn’t trust passion or love to bring happiness. In her experience, passions often breed disasters. She resists Flavian mad advances, but his suave manners and easy charm touch the hidden places in her heart, places she didn’t know about. His raw masculinity ignites her body. She can’t resist for long.

These two damaged people, drawn to each other through chance and circumstance, build a family together, and the deeper I immersed myself in their quiescent adventures the more I liked it. The last half of the book was almost perfect.