cover image Only Beloved

Only Beloved

Mary Balogh. Signet, $7.99 mass market (400p) ISBN 978-0-451-47778-1

Balogh’s warmhearted final Survivors’ Club Regency (after Only a Kiss) finally turns to the compassionate Duke of Stanbrook, who brought six wounded strangers—five men and one woman—into his Cornwall home after their service in the Napoleonic wars and assisted in their physical and mental recovery. Now these close friends have all married happily, and the duke, who lost his son in the wars and his wife soon after, finally admits he is lonely. Even at 48, he would be considered a very desirable match, but he turns to unassuming 39-year-old spinster Dora Debbins, sister-in-law of Lord Ponsonby (familiar from Only Enchanting), instead of looking for a higher-status woman to be his wife. Dora has not dared to admit her yearning for the handsome duke she met when her sister married into the Survivors’ Club. She is stunned when the duke turns up in her modest cottage and proposes, but accepting his proposal brings heartache, because even the kind gentleman hides dark secrets that threaten their happy life together. Balogh deftly reveals Dora’s growth into an elegant duchess who earns the love of a sensitive man. This is a satisfying conclusion to an intense and popular historical series. Agent: Maria Carvainis, Maria Carvainis Agency. (May)