What a fantastic addition to a remarkable historical romance series! The emotional stories told about the other ‘members’ of the club thus far should have prepared me for the story I have been curious about for so long, despite being mesmerized by the journeys described thus far. This revelation of Imogen’s history is all the more striking as we accompany Percy, who has a self-described ‘perfect’ existence and no desire to change it, but is bored…and makes the momentous decision to travel to the wilds of Cornwall. I love the gradual acclimation as two very determined individuals learn to adapt to each other, no matter how unwillingly, even as a mystery is gradually uncovered and solved—with crushingly stunning results for several of those involved. One does not need to be familiar with the other stories in this wonderfully compelling series to appreciate this particular tale, but each of the others is well worth reading, and all of these folks have become people I am delighted to catch up with and enjoy visiting. This author excels in penning vivid tales that combine gut-wrenching histories and beautifully lush romances, and this is an excellent example of her artistry. The expertly woven understories, in this case, involving rejects both four- and two-legged, enhance the overall appeal, and one should be prepared to need a tissue or two while reading the long-awaited story of the only female member of the Survivors’ Club.
“Only a Kiss” by Mary Balogh is part of the ‘Survivors’ Club’ series and details the story of Percival (Percy) William Henry Hayes, Earl of Hardford and Viscount Barclay, who makes the momentous decision on his 30th birthday to visit Hardford Hall in Cornwall for the first time since he inherited it. Imogen Hayes, widowed Lady Barclay, has existed in seclusion on that particular estate, content in the knowledge that she has arranged the dower house to her specifications until she is forced to temporarily move into the main house because of problems with her roof. Percy’s first encounter with the widow is less than salubrious, and matters go downhill as each inexplicably causes the other to act very uncharacteristically, but only time will tell whether that is a positive or negative life-changing development.
The Survivors’ Club: Six men and one woman, injured in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendships forged in steel and loyalty. But for one, her trials are not over....
Since witnessing the death of her husband during the wars, Imogen, Lady Barclay, has secluded herself in the confines of Hardford Hall, their home in Cornwall. The new owner has failed to take up his inheritance, and Imogen desperately hopes he will never come to disturb her fragile peace.
Percival Hayes, Earl of Hardford, has no interest in the wilds of Cornwall, but when he impulsively decides to pay a visit to his estate there, he is shocked to discover that it is not the ruined heap he had expected. He is equally shocked to find the beautiful widow of his predecessor’s son living there.
Soon Imogen awakens in Percy a passion he has never thought himself capable of feeling. But can he save her from her misery and reawaken her soul? And what will it mean for him if he succeeds?