Only Beloved by Mary Balogh


Genre: Romance, Regency Era, Historical Fiction

Pages: 472

Published by May 3rd 2016 by Signet




For the first time since the death of his wife, the Duke of Stanbrook is considering remarrying and finally embracing happiness for himself. With that thought comes the treasured image of a woman he met briefly a year ago and never saw again.

Dora Debbins relinquished all hope to marry when a family scandal left her in charge of her younger sister. Earning a modest living as a music teacher, she’s left with only an unfulfilled dream. Then one afternoon, an unexpected visitor makes it come true.

For both George and Dora that brief first encounter was as fleeting as it was unforgettable. Now is the time for a second chance. And while even true love comes with a risk, who are two dreamers to argue with destiny?


A wholly unremarkable read. While this novel certainly paints a wonderful image of the regency era, coupled with the mannerisms, etiquette, and societal issues, it was simply not enough to draw me fully into this story, however, believable it may or may not have been.

Dora Debbins is a 39-year-old spinster, who had lost all hope of marriage after a scandal occurred during her debut season. After the dust settled she wound up being the caretaker of her younger sister and had dedicated her life to her sister. Since then Dora has become a music instructor and her sister has recently married.

The Duke of Stanbrook, George, was a young groom when he was married, only seventeen and at the age of forty-eight, he finds himself a widow for a good amount of years and even lonely. For a time, he opened his mansion up to become a hospital for wounded soldier’s during the war and now he finds himself utterly lonely and considering the idea of marriage.

That is the premise of the novel and while it is quite a lovely one that promises wholesome romance it fell short in many ways. The characters are fairly flat and while you gain some insight into their thoughts [more than some, the book is mostly internal monologue,] it was overdone. I was unable to connect to the characters because when they were in play they were flat, they expressed more emotion inside their minds than what they did from character to character. They were very one dimensional and it was overall difficult for me to get into them.

I admittedly skimmed roughly 100 pages of this book, why? Well, there is only so much internal thinking I can deal with, rehashing events that occurred in the previous chapter and what not.

After reading some of the reviews and comparing my notes to them I found myself wondering “Did we read the same book?”

No, I did not read the previous books and you don’t necessarily need to. I would never because I did not enjoy this one. The twists and turns in the plot were easy to pick out before they occurred, so there was never really an element of surprise. So, between flat characters, flat plot, this was a dud for me.

Was the world built in it stunning? Yes. Was it a believable period book? Yes.

There were just one too many drawbacks for me to give this book anything higher than a 2.



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