Review: Only Beloved by Mary Balogh

only belovedReviewed by Jen

I have been a fan of this series since the very first, but I have to say that this final installment is easily my favorite. This is the Duke of Stanbrook’s story. He is the man who brought all the members of the Survivor’s Club together. He was like a father figure to many, older than the rest, and mourning the death of his wife and son. And at 48, George is definitely not the age of most romance heroes, but he was a fantastic one nonetheless.

This book begins right on the heels of the last one. Imogen has just married and now George has decided that he would like the same happiness that all of the other survivors have found in marriage. He wastes no time in seeking out Dora, sister to Flavian’s wife, Agnes. She is the talent music teacher who raised Agnes when their mother abandoned them. George essentially shows up on her front door unannounced and proposes. Dora has always had a soft spot for the duke, and though she never expected his interest, she doesn’t hesitate to say yes.

There are so many things I liked about this book. The first is the utter lack of artifice between these two characters. They are simple and earnest in how they treat each other. They are old enough that they see the world as it is, and they recognize the gifts that they are to each other. What starts as mutual esteem grows with their time together, and it’s really quite lovely to see these two get the happiness that has so long been denied them both.

George has always been the person there to help others –to make them happy. But no one has ever shared his burden. Honestly, no one even knew the true nature of it. It’s over the course of the book that big mystery unfolds, both to Dora and the readers alike.

I adored both of these characters. I loved watching them fall in love. I loved how they were mature enough to really appreciate each other. By their own admission, it’s not a grand passionate affair. But it’s better. It feels real.

The mystery is good. I definitely didn’t figure it out ahead of time. Another thing I really liked: it felt like this book brought the series full circle. All of our survivors come back. We get to see inside their HEAs. And we experience again what they all mean to each other. I’m sad to see the series end, but it goes out on a high note.

This book satisfies in every way.

Rating: A-/B+

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Only Beloved
by Mary Balogh
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Signet

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