Only a Promise
A Survivors’ Club, Book# 5
By Mary Balogh
Author’s website: www.marybalogh.com
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Una
The Survivors’ Club: Six men and one woman, all wounded in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendship forged during their recovery at Penderris Hall in Cornwall. Now, for one of them, striking a most unusual bargain will change his life forever…
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 so as 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 an outrageous suggestion: 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.
Mary Balogh confirmed again while I enjoy the historical romance. Again her characters are complex and interesting and keep the reader engaged from beginning to end.
Chloe in the beginning has chosen to live with her mother’s godmother and husband as an unpaid companion as she cannot see marriage in her future after her disastrous London season. With the Duke failing in health his grandson is called upon. Ralph arrives and is stunned when Chloe gives him a proposition of marriage. To her it is a win- win situation for both of them. She will have the stability of a marriage and children and he will have heirs without the bother of having to get a suitable wife. After a very quick marriage attended only by the grandparents his grandfather dies allowing Ralph to see the strength that Chloe brings to the marriage. The only request Chloe has made of Ralph is that they do not have to go to London however as the newly appointed Duke Ralph knows that it will be expected of him to be presented at court and so Chloe finds herself again amongst the Ton that has tormented her.
Both Chloe and Ralph have pasts that haunt them and both must learn to face up and confront their pasts. What they learn is that if they face things together they can conquer the fears that have crippled them. In doing so they realize that they have both fallen in love with each other and the future looks bright.
I love how the book can stand alone , however if you have read the other survivor books the characters flow from one book to the other, I know I for one can’t wait for Only A Kiss to come out this summer.