Only Beloved by Mary Balogh
Publisher & Release: Signet, May 3, 2016
Time and setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 399 pages
Heat Level: 1 Flames
Rating: 4.25 Gold Crowns
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?
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I’ve been a huge fan of Mary Balogh’s novels ever since I found her Slightly series many years ago. I have enjoyed the Survivor’s series immensely and hate to see it come to an end. I thoroughly enjoyed the end of Only Beloved. Ms. Balogh wraps up the series exceedingly well. She always writes a great epilogue that ties up all loose ends beautifully.
After many years as a widower, George, the Duke of Stanbrook, decides he wants a companion, one who will be a friend and a lover, now that he has reached his middle years. He met Dora Debbins the previous year and found her enchanting, a brilliant musician, and soothing to his soul. As his thoughts turn to marriage, he believes she will be perfect for him.
When George travels to ask for her hand, Dora eagerly accepts the duke’s proposal. After all, not only is he a man of consequences, he is a man of substance. Can Dora find a way into George’s heart when all he wants is companionship and a lover without romance, or will his past keep him from fully accepting all she has to offer?
Only Beloved is another novel that will sweep you away to Regency England where lords and ladies of the ton reign and life is elegant. Ms. Balogh is the supreme expert at setting the stage in this marvelous period of history. From her wonderful ability with the speech of the times to the descriptions of life in this period, this novel will give you all you want in a historical romance.
I truly loved both Dora and George’s characters. They are exactly right for each other. While Only Beloved is not a sensual as her other books, the love between this pair pulled at my heart-strings. They are truly a match made in heaven.
I read some of the reviews for Only Beloved, and while I agree there is a lot of monologue and dialogue discussing mundane tasks such as correspondence, Ms. Balogh is still a brilliant storyteller and the climax of the story had me on the edge of my seat, totally redeeming the book for me, giving me an extremely satisfying and very happy ending.
The audio version is narrated by Roselyn Landor, and as always, she gives an outstanding performance. Her voice tone is perfect for this regency setting, bringing the characters to life. I always know I'm in for a treat when she is the narrator.
I will miss the survivors, but there is no doubt all of them will live a long and fulfilling life, sharing deep abiding love with their spouses. I highly recommend Only Beloved. It is a great addition to this fabulous series. Happy reading!