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After I previously borrowed a book by Mary Balogh from my local library, and wasn't that impressed, I did umm and arr about whether or not to bother borrowing another book from her "simply" collection, needless to say I did and here is my opinion of it!
The book in question is - "Simply magic".
Susanna Osborne is enjoying a short break away from her job as a live in school teacher at St Martins school for girls, this is due to a very kind offer from her former work colleague and best friend Frances, who just so happened to have married a Viscount the previous year.
After strolling one day around the extensive grounds of Frances home, she comes across a visitor to the area and is distraught to find she recognises his face, though thankfully he doesn't seem to remember her from their youth, meaning that her secret must stay just that way.
After deciding she will just simply avoid his company, it seems as though Peter Edgeworth has other ideas, and finds himself actively searching her out, though neither one can explain why.
Is this the beginning of something beautiful, or will Susanna's secret forever hold them apart?
This was definitely worlds better than the last offering I read from Mary Balogh, and surprisingly featured the characters of Frances and her romance and marriage to her Viscount, with this book feeling much easier to read and seemed to flow much better too.
The book is set in the Regency era, so is full of propriety and moral standards, so when the inevitable sex scene comes along (and they do, though not as frequently as I would like!) it seems to make the story even more tantalising to read!
There is little in the way of bad language, and even the sex scene's are extremely tastefully done, though this is obviously not a book for the under 18!
This is of course a romance book, and should be viewed as a fun escape from reality book, full of intrigue's and simmering passions, so if you are after intellectual reading this is never going to be he book for you, but if (like me!) you find the idea of a book with it's own sort of Mr Darcy, this is the one for you!
Price wise this is available via www.amazon.co.uk for around the £5.00, and as mentioned earlier is part of a series of books, though do not have to be read in in order to follow, as each book is a stand alone story, with the odd previous character flittering through.
This was a really enjoyable read, and for any romance or period type book fans out there, this is for you, recommended!
Thanks for reading x
Simply Magic is the third book of the Simply Quartet of novels centred around the lives and loves of four teachers from a girls' school in Bath. Although this book is the third in the series, it can be read as a stand alone story as it's easy to pick up the main threads of what has gone before or even read the story without knowing any of the back history.
Synopsis: Susanna Osbourne is the guest at a house party in the country being given by a friend who until her recent marriage, had also been a teacher at the same school where Susanna teaches. Whilst visiting her friend she meets Peter Edgworth, Viscount Whitleaf and during the course of her two week stay, Susanna and Peter conduct a flirtation which gradually deepens into something more but after the fortnight ends, they separate thinking they will probably never meet again.
Characters: I really liked Susanna. She is independent and intelligent and her demeanour is quietly confident and very much in keeping with the way women would have behaved at that time.
Peter, too, is a likeable character. He is the pampered only son and heir and as such has been molly-coddled by his mother and older sisters until he rebelled against the life they had planned for him. Having been surrounded by women for most of his life, he is comfortable in their company and knows how to exert his charms with the ladies. He is an accomplished flirt.
One of the problems that many writers of historical romances face is that of producing a romantic and fulfilling love story whilst keeping roughly within the bounds of the proprieties that were prevalent during that period of history. Mary Balogh succeeds beautifully with this story.
Susanna's situation, I'm sure, was a very common one during the early nineteenth century, when many properties were entailed and succession to wealth and title was almost exclusively a male preserve. The lot of women was, at best, precarious and for many the only career choices were marriage, drudgery or prostitution.
Susanna is luckier than most. She had been gently bred until the death of her father when she was twelve resulted in her being sent as a charity pupil to the school in Bath. Here she was taken under the wing of the headmistress and when her schooldays end, she continues there as a teacher.
Her relationship with Peter is also fairly convincing. His feelings for her are undeniable and his reluctance to offer her marriage because of the differences in their social stations rings true.
However, this is fiction and in all good romances, the heart rules the head but the story still remains plausible. Obviously, being a romance, there are times when the characters behave in ways that are more twenty-first than nineteenth century but always in a manner that doesn't jar. Mary Balogh builds the romance between Susanna and Peter in a very believable way as well as weaving a story around the mystery that surrounds the death of Susanna's father. The characters grow and develop as the story progresses.
Although living in North America nowadays, Mary Balogh was born and raised in Wales and therefore writes English dialogue which never produces any glaring Americanisms, which so often throws the reader out of the story.
Overall I enjoyed this book. Although nothing terribly dramatic happens, the relationship between the two principals is believable and sweet and the story has a suitably romantic ending. The secondary characters are also well-rounded enough to add depth to the story.
This book is what I would consider a good summer read.