Reviewed by Sarah Brew
Flavian 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 the nearest 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...
I love reading books in a series, where you get to know the characters better one at a time and previous characters pop into the story as well, giving a sense of continuity. Mary Balogh’s Survivors' Club is a perfect example: six men and one woman, wounded during the Napoleonic Wars, meet during their convalescence at Penderris Hall in Cornwall. Each year, the survivors return to Penderris Hall for a few weeks to gain strength from each other and this element of support makes a great background to and link between the novels.
Book 4 in the series tells the story of Flavian Arnott, Viscount Ponsonby, who suffered a head injury and loss of memory. Flavian’s fiancée abandoned him after his return from the war, yet when she returns, everyone expects to find him back in her arms. He thinks differently and marries a woman he danced with at a ball and then re-encountered a few months later. Agnes, a widow, felt that romantic love is not for her – a view entrenched by her past experiences; when she meets Flavian, her feelings are thrown into turmoil and she fights them. When Flavian proposes, she agrees to marry him – only to wonder later whether he married her for love or to escape the clutches of his former fiancée.
Given Agnes’ view of love, this thought takes root and leads to upset in their relationship. There are secrets in the backgrounds of both key players and, as the story plays out, we learn how these affect their behaviour. It all comes together well and the two eminently likeable lead characters are well explained. A good example of the genre and I look forward to the next in the series.
I'd like to thank Clara at Little Brown for sending this book to review and Sarah for her fab review.