ONLY A KISS is Book 6 in Mary Balogh's Survivors' Club
series. I believe ONLY A KISS can be enjoyed and
understood without reading the previous books in the
series, but reading them will provide a richer reading
experience. Imogen, Lady Barclay, and Percival "Percy"
Hayes, Earl of Hardford, have the kind of inauspicious
first meeting reminiscent of Jane Austen's PRIDE AND
PREJUDICE. Both characters strike the wrong note when
first meeting each other but the romance that develops is
emotionally powerful and utterly delightful. This is one
of my favorite books in this Survivors' Club series.
Imogen and Percy are at first connected, much to their
mutual chagrin, by a title and her late husband's family.
The physical proximity of Imogen living on Percy's land
leads to some initial fireworks. Despite their prickly
interactions, I like them both immensely
and am happy to have the story told from both
perspectives. Imogen and Percy are typical of the kind of
complex characters written by Mary Balogh. Both
characters find themselves at a crossroads in life and
both evolve over the course of ONLY A KISS. Although it's
clear from the beginning that Imogen has unresolved
issues over her husband's torture and subsequent death
during the previous war, it's not until the very end that
the reader and Percy get all the details. Imogen's
strength and fragility make her a fascinating character
to read about.
Percy is the perfect prescription for Imogen. He is a
thoroughly charming man who's best quality is being able
to make her laugh. Percy is outwardly very smooth,
articulate, and amusing, but he also proves to be a
reluctantly caring man looking for more meaning to his
life. I like how the subplot involving smuggling
provides a little mystery to pair nicely with the
romance, in addition to giving Percy added depth. The
romance and mystery are equally intriguing without the
mystery at any time distracting from the romance.
ONLY A KISS is a captivating and sexy romance with a
riveting mystery thrown in for good measure. The
complexities of the characters and the raw emotion will
hook you and not let you go. As always, I look forward to
the next book by Mary Balogh.
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 predecessorâ€™s son
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?