Overview: Book Four in The Survivors series, Only Enchanting focusses on characters anew, as far as I know. This is the second book I have read of Mary Balogh's, and this is a far more engaging story with the rich Viscount having his heart broken, along with the societal shame that comes with such things.
Encouraged to make amends with her, he ends up in the behold of young Agnes Keeping, who is young but far from naive, though she has never been in love.
Viscount Flavian Ponsonby doesn't seem an appropriate match for Agnes. He's obscenely rich, rather muddled in his ways, and stammers for good measure.
But he's rather charismatic too, and is more than capable of charming the good hearted and kind Agnes.
Perhaps the best of us can understand the first flush of love, though we were probably in our teens or younger when this happened.
Agnes, however, falls for Flavian, and I wondered could this really work as a story. It certainly does as a fantasy, and the author is smart enough to direct her characters cleverly. The games are well played, but I started to wonder was Agnes just going for the security that the Viscount offered.
He seemed to get a wicked glee from saying, "I'm rich, you know."
But all is not as it seems, with Flavian proposing marriage to Agnes the real game is one where he wants to hurt his former love in the most extreme way possible. It's fair to say that in my view, Agnes was like the older sister I would have liked in real life. And I certainly would have kept her away from the leech-like Viscount.
Agnes adapts well to her new situation, finding resolve in her that maybe even she didn't know was there. It's the little details that stand out for me in books. A scene where she is interviewing new ladies to help her is funny and well done.
One of the girls, Madeline, confidently says that Agnes can call her Maddy if she wants to, citing that Madeline was a rather long name, and too grand for the like of her family. It was her father who insisted they all bear long names, so whatever else they didn't have in life, they would at least have their names.
Whilst critics of these kind of stories may say that the outcome is never in doubt, Mary Balogh keeps us guessing. It's a fun, book, a great follow up to The Escape, and stammering full of himself Flavian won me over...late in the book.
Agnes is a great character though, and I hope she makes a return for later books in the series.