Only Beloved

Written by Mary Balogh
Review by Ray Thompson

The seventh and concluding novel in the Survivors’ Club Regency series describes how George, Duke of Stanbrook, finds a happy marriage with Dora Debbins, a gently born spinster who is earning a modest living as a music teacher. Since they are older, their expectations are for friendship and comfortable companionship, rather than passion, but fall in love they do. Both have been damaged by traumatic family experiences in their past, he a loveless first marriage, she a mother’s abandonment; but as they confront the past and share the burden, they find not only healing but happiness. The process is not easy, however: not only must they struggle with their own sense of injustice, but not all those responsible are willing to be reconciled.

This does create suspense and an awareness that darkness can strike at even the innocent, but the strength of the story is the steadily deepening love between two deserving protagonists as they meet the challenges together. This is another heart-warming and impressive performance from Balogh. Strongly recommended.