Publication date: October 28th 2014
My rating: 4.5 stars
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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, in the fourth novel of the Survivors' Club series, Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, has left this refuge to find his own salvation—in the love of a most unsuspecting woman…
Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, was devastated by his fiancée’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back—and everyone is eager to revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of a most sensible yet enchanting young woman.
Agnes Keeping has never been in love—and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.
When Agnes discovers that the proposal is only to avenge his former love, she’s determined to flee. But Flavian has no intention of letting his new bride go, especially now that he too has fallen so passionately and so unexpectedly in love.
Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby is one six friends that call themselves “The Survivors Club” after recovering together from grave injuries suffered during the Napoleonic War. It took Flavian some time to recover from being shot in the head, and still he suffers the effects of his injury. As if that wasn’t bad enough, when he finally became lucid he found out his betrothed, Velma, ended their engagement so she could marry his best friend, Len, after thinking Flavian would never fully recover. Now years later, Len dies leaving Velma a widow and the way open for them to be together. Both of their family’s pressure to put these two together again, but Flavian wants nothing to do that.
In the present, meeting the young widow Agnes Keeping and pursuing her is a pull Flavian can’t resist.
It’s not that Agnes is stunningly beautiful, but there’s something about her that becomes more enchanting every time they meet. It’s as if his unconscious mind knows exactly what he needs.
He wanted to claim her body for his own.
And he would be safe.
Strange thought—and it was not the first time that it had popped into his head like an alien thing.
Safe from whom?
And from what?
Agnes has avoided passion and falling in love since it brought hurt and ruin to her family. When she married Mr. Keeping it was for companionship and because he was a logical match, but she was hardly overcome with desire. Five short years later she was widowed at the age of twenty-three. Now Agnes lives with her beloved sister, contented in life even if she is a little lonely at times. When Viscount Ponsonby comes to Agnes’ little town to visit with his Survivors Club friends, her attempts at avoiding passion and love go out the window. After a whirlwind of stolen meetings and steamy encounters, Flavian proposes and Agnes, in spite of her hesitancy, can’t help herself and so they marry.
To outward appearances Flavian’s intention when he chose to marry Agnes was an avoidance tactic at best, and at worst a means of revenge on Velma for leaving him after his injuries all those years ago. At first this is what it seems to poor Agnes when she discovers the history, and it was a knife to her heart! I ached for her and wanted to smack Flavian for a bit! But things are not as they seem, and there is much more at play here that Flavian doesn’t immediately clue into because of holes in his memory. But all along his subconscious registered what his conscious mind didn’t recall. AND it becomes obvious that Flavian really cares for Agnes and he wanted to marry her just as she wanted to marry him.
I loved that even when the situation felt so very hurtful to Agnes she didn’t throw everything away by running, but rather she thought things through. She was a truly sensible, understanding and kind woman, perfect for an injured soul like Flavian. He more than redeems himself as the story plays out and my heart swelled with happiness for these two. They had an immediate attraction that was at first fueled by passion and longing, but then grew into a beautiful bond of love.
I don’t read many historical romances but I loved this story so much! I felt like I was transported into a time something like what’s portrayed in Sense and Sensibility, one of my all-time favorite period movies! Ms. Balogh’s compelling writing had me high on emotions ranging from despair and anger for Agnes and Flavian to joy and happiness over how it all turned out!
I definitely want to check out the rest of this series, and I hope there will be a romance written for Dora, Agnes’ sister. There were hints of one stirring.
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