Two older lovers

Only Beloved (A Survivors' Club Novel) - Mary Balogh

This is the last of the Survivors’ Club novels, and the weakest. The story itself is a good one: about two older people (the hero is 48; the heroine is 39) falling in love and building a family despite their troubled past. The sex is mild, the way I like it, and the low-key romance feels good. Unfortunately, the story only takes about half the book. The first 100 pages are given to rehashing six previous novels of the series, with the hero reminiscing about his friends and their travails. The last couple of chapters are also not necessary, comprising one over-long epilogue. The plot is already over, the denouement has been reached and marched past, and all the author wants now is to tell us what the future holds for all her beloved characters. It’s faintly boring, and I skimmed through those pages, just as I skimmed through the first 100.

Overall – somewhat disappointing. And I guessed the hero’s big and horrible secret long before it was revealed to the heroine and to the readers.

Whenever I read about horrible secrets—it’s unfortunate how often this fiction device crops up—I can’t help thinking: secrets are toxic, people, don’t keep them, especially not from the folks you love. Secrets have a tendency to turn around and bite one in the ass at the most inappropriate moment and in the most spectacular fashion. Don’t keep secrets!