Only Beloved – Mary Balogh

Publisher: Signet

Published: May 2016

ISBN: 9780451477781

From the legendary New York Times bestselling author of Only a Kiss and Only a Promise comes the final book in the rapturous Survivor’s Club series—as the future of one man lies within the heart of a lost but never-forgotten love…

For the first time since the death of his wife, the Duke of Stanbrook is considering remarrying and finally embracing happiness for himself. With that thought comes the treasured image of a woman he met briefly a year ago and never saw again.

Dora Debbins relinquished all hope to marry when a family scandal left her in charge of her younger sister. Earning a modest living as a music teacher, she’s left with only an unfulfilled dream. Then one afternoon, an unexpected visitor makes it come true.

For both George and Dora that brief first encounter was as fleeting as it was unforgettable. Now is the time for a second chance. And while even true love comes with a risk, who are two dreamers to argue with destiny?  

My review
Only Beloved is the 7th book in the serie of the Survivor’s Club. If you haven’t read the other books, you can read this book as a standalone book perfectly, because Mary Balogh gives enough information about the characters and the previous books. However, by doing so, the story in this book is starting a bit slowly. Mary shows you the story of Dora and George, but since the couple is somewhat older (late thirties and forties), there is a lot of story to tell. So when you are updated after about one third of the book, the pace finally picks up. Mary has a lovely way of giving her characters depth and feelings, so you soon find yourself thrown back in history, when it was completely normal for a Duke to visit an acquainted woman and out of the blue ask her to marry him. And you also don’t think it is strange that the woman thinks about this offer for about 5 minutes and then totally agrees to marry the guy. And when the Duke (a total gentleman) offers to introduce his fiancee to ‘the ton’ in Londen before the wedding, then that is totally normal as well. 
And when you are reading the story, you can’t help but feel that this was actually happing in the ancient history. So it is a very sweet and romantic story, with a lot of lovely characters from the earlier Survivor’s Club stories. In the final part of the book, there is suddenly a little twist in the story, so the gentle flow of the book turns a little bit more into a river. But by no means there is a gigantic waterfall in the book. So it’s a very delightful read, with a nostalgic feel and a tough of old fashion romance.
However, since I’m more of a ‘let’s-go-rafting-down-the-waterfall’ kind of reader, only three stars from me. With a thank you to FirstToRead for this ARC.

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