My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book was book #7 and the finale of The Survivors’ Club series.I loved getting to read George Crabbe, The Duke of Stanbrook’s story. George about 10 years earlier had been inspired to open his home as a hospital for 6 broken people that needed intense rehabilitation and love. George provided both as a way to face his own grief at losing his wife and son. The seven survivors formed the Survivor’s club and their stories have been just lovely to read.
George Crabbe was always there for the Survivors, loving them, being a sort of father figure to them, being happy for their successes and yet never finding a love of his own. Never sharing his story with them.
I have to say that this book, Only Beloved, was beautiful. I love the way that Mary Balogh brings the scenery to life so that you have a firm picture of what the characters are living, seeing and feeling. The home of the Duke sat on some of the most spectacular property, skimming the ocean and surrounded by pastureland and Mary brought that to me.
I was so excited to find the book was recently released and so I grabbed a copy and start reading it. I let it jump over all of my other books in the TBR pile and opened it immediately. I was not sorry for that. It was a wonderful story. I am rather sad that there are no more to come. Yet, Mary made sure we knew their outcome and made me feel ok with that. Each person that had been featured before is accounted for in the epilog. I was really glad about that.
I was so happy that when George decided he was lonely once the club members had left his home, he remembered the kindness and friendliness of Dora Debbins, the sister of Agnes. He thought that they could make a happy life together. He went to her cottage and offered for her and it made me so happy. He did not offer love or passion, he offered her a life filled with mature companionship and friendship. George had this idea that passion and love were immature and unobtainable in a real marriage. Dora, on the other hand, had every intention of showing him how she felt. She showed it in her kindness and in her attempts to draw George out of his own head.
I was very happy to see her getting the opportunity for a life that she missed out on due to a scandal. When the scandal had occurred when she was just seventeen. All the missed opportunities may finally come to fruition for Dora. We knew about Dora, we knew that she had never been able to have a season and that she had been acting as the mother for Agnes. She had willingly sacrificed her own chances to raise her much younger sister.
There was more than just romance in the book, there were mysteries, accusations, and revelations. There were families finding out truths about each other. It was full of lives coming together and being torn apart.
I adored this book. I loved watching George and Dora making a marriage, a life together. I loved each time George acted cute and adorable with her. Showing his feelings to her by providing her with heartfelt gifts that were better than jewels and flowers. I loved watching them become a couple.
I was so thankful to see the favorites from other books appearing here and there letting me know of their lives. It was a wonderful conclusion to the series. I can honestly say, well done, Mary, you made one faithful reader very happy!
Only Beloved is available in hardback, paperback and as an Audiobook. It is now available in the Kindle Edition on Amazon