I have been such a fan of this series and I am a little sad there is only one book left before it’s over. That being said, this installment was fairly good, though not my favorite. It centers on Imogen, the only female member of the Survivor’s Club. It moved a little slowly at times and I felt like I had to do a lot of waiting for things to happen and her secrets to be revealed.
Imogen lives in the dowager house of her late husband’s family estate, even though her father-in-law passed away two years ago. The new earl has never set foot on the property. Until now. Percival Hayes has everything a young man could want. He is good looking. He’s rich. He’s titled. And he is completely bored. As his 30th birthday comes and goes, he decides to take a trip to Hardford Hall in hopes of shaking his life up and finding an interesting diversion.
For some reason, when he first spies Imogen, all of the charm and poise he shows the world goes out the window. He demands to know who she is, starting their relationship off on the wrong foot. He slowly takes in the distantly related aunts and menagerie of stray animals living on his property. He manages to be smooth and polished, as he picks up the reins of leadership, but the strain between him and Imogen remains.
Of course, it doesn’t stay that way. The fire between them flares as passion and they go from enemies to lovers. But Imogen won’t really let herself be happy and Percy can’t understand why. The book follows their unlikely romance and Percival’s efforts to uncover the secrets Imogen is hiding about her past.
I liked Imogen and the way that she soldiered on despite the crushing weight of what happened with her husband. I liked that she kept her spine and that she thought of others and tried to make their lives better even when hers was shattered. Percy was a little less sympathetic. The worst thing he had going on was the ennui of the overindulged. It’s hard to empathize with a man who has everything –and he really does. He is a prig to Imogen for no reason other than her refusal to swoon for him. And while that abates over time, it did not make the best initial impression. The sexual tension is ok –as are the love scenes.
But as I said, the pacing is uneven. There were times I felt like I was wading through too much narrative to get to the good parts. The big secret of Imogen’s past hangs like a cloud over the story for too long. It is a great reveal when it finally comes out, but by then the book is almost over.
Again, it’s not bad. Nothing I’ve read from Mary Balogh is. I think it would have been better though had it been cut down a bit and if Percy had something to make him more interesting. I will definitely read the next book, though. I’m interested to see who George’s heroine will be.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
Only a Kiss
by Mary Balogh
Release Date: September 1, 2015