Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh
Series: Survivor's Club #4
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
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;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.
Agnes is a widow who happens to be friends with a Viscountess. That Viscountess’s husband is a member of the Survivors’ Club – six men and one woman, all wounded in the Napoleonic Wars. When Agnes attends her friend’s ball she’s very excited, especially when a very handsome Viscount, Lord Ponsonby, asks her to dance. She’s even happier when he asks her a second time to waltz and she falls a little bit in love with the man. He finds her enchanting and can’t quite forget her.
Five months later the Survivors’ Club is having their annual three week gathering and for once they are having it at her friend Sophia’s estate. This brings Lord Ponsonby back on the scene and that begins their courtship.
Flavian, Lord Ponsonby, was severely injured in the war and it was thought by all that he would not survive – he proved them wrong. Then it was thought that even though he would live he would be mad and have to be institutionalized – he proved everyone wrong again. He not only survived but he flourished. Ok, he has some memory issues and he does stutter a bit but he was shot in the head, among other injuries, so it’s understandable. His family is making noises about him getting back with his ex-fiance who abandoned him in his time of need and he wants nothing to do with it. Besides that, he’s infatuated with Agnes and can’t seem to figure out why. He manages to court her a bit, in his own strange way, and ends up marrying her.
Agnes is thrilled to be married to Flavian but when they return to London and find not only his family but his ex-fiance and her family lying in wait she’s not so thrilled. Agnes soon puts two and two together and figures out that Flavian married her to avoid having to marry Velma and she’s pissed. Flavian soothes her ruffled feathers but can the pair make a marriage that was made in haste work for the long term?
What a great story. I loved Agnes and Flavian together and their story was very touching. There weren’t any true villains here – just a spiteful ex-fiance – that would kidnap or physically harm anyone, and I loved that it mostly revolved around Agnes and Flavian working out their lives and their relationship.
Flavian had been manipulated a time or two in his life and he always managed to get himself out of it. He had been severely injured and then deserted by his fiancé and best friend. It hurt him horribly and he tried to hide that hurt behind a face of indifference. He also had had a brother whom he loved dearly. David was always physically weak and Flavian only inherited his title because David had died. He hated that he had to lose his brother in order to inherit and would have rather had David back with him. I loved this family connection and how strongly it was written. Though Flavian was a little off kilter at times because of his brain injury he was a kind man and I liked how he treated Agnes, especially after they were married.
Agnes was a woman who wasn’t going to let anything pull her down. She wanted nothing more than for her marriage to work but was quite pissed, and rightfully so, when she believed that Flavian had used her to get away from Velma. He couldn’t deny that that was a part of it but I loved that they could communicate enough that they worked it out without too much strife. Agnes had her own personal demons that haunted her and Flavian, who’d do anything for her, helped her with those as well.
I really enjoyed this story. A scarred hero (inner scars in this case) is always a big pull for me in books and this one didn’t let me down. It was a wonderful love story and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
Rating: 4 out of 5