Ralph Stockwood prides himself on being a leader, but when he convinced his friends to fight in the Napoleonic Wars, he never envisioned being the sole survivor. Racked with guilt over their deaths, Ralph must move on…and find a wife so as to secure an heir to his family’s title and fortune.
Since her seasons in London ended in disaster, Chloe Muirhead is resigned to spinsterhood. Driven by the need to escape her family, she takes refuge at the home of her mother’s godmother, where she meets Ralph. He needs a wife. She wants a husband. So Chloe makes an outrageous suggestion: strike a bargain and get married. One condition: Ralph has to promise that he will never take her back to London. But circumstances change. And to Ralph it was only a promise.
Rating: A for narration; B+ for content
This, the fifth book in Mary Balogh’s Survivor’s Club series, is a gently moving marriage-of-convenience story in which a badly emotionally scarred young man is gradually brought back to the land of the living by a woman who has been dogged by scandal and who has her own emotional dragons to slay. Only a Promise isn’t just the story of a marriage of convenience turning to love, however; it’s also a story that shows us that sometimes the biggest barriers to happiness are internal rather than external, and that we are sometimes our own worst enemies. It explores the debilitating effects of guilt and uncertainty and the way in which they can be overcome with the help of a great deal of support, understanding and, ultimately, love.
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