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?
Rating: Narration – A+; Content – B+
This seventh and final instalment in Mary Balogh’s Survivor’s Club series has rather an autumnal feel about it, telling as it does the story of two mature people who come together in order to gain a friend and companion but find so much more. George Crabbe, Duke of Stanbrook, has been a strong background presence in all the other books, as a support and sounding-board for the other characters. He could, in fact, be termed the club’s founder given that it was his generosity in opening his home to wounded soldiers that created the conditions which enabled the six ‘survivors’ – five men and one woman – to forge the strong bonds of friendship to which readers and listeners have been witness over the past six novels.
In the years since they left the hospital, all six of the survivors have married and found happiness, and it’s following the last of the weddings – of the club’s single female member, Imogen – that George starts to think that perhaps there is something missing from his life. He’s forty-eight years old and has been a widower for the past twelve years. His history, or as much as we know of it so far, is also a tragic one; his only son was killed in battle and his wife was so distraught that she took her own life. This is also as much as his fellow survivors know, for George has never shared the entirety of his story with them, partly out of a wish not to burden them, but mostly because he feels that there are secrets contained within it that are not his to tell.
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