Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I divulged my fantasy of staying aboard the Sunborn yacht hotel in London. Sim visited some William Morris sites and a bunch of pubs on her virtual walking tour of London. Heather reviewed Bill Bryson’s latest offering, a book about a return trip to England, The Road to Little Dribbling. Jackie gave us a fun look at lions in London.
Mary Balogh’s Survivors’ Club series stretches to six Regency romance novels now, with the seventh expected in May. This series portrays a group of men and one woman who suffered PTSD, before it was named, as well as more physical wounds during the Napoleonic Wars. They recovered together in the home of the Duke of Stanbrook in Cornwall. During these books, the characters are gradually taking steps to re-join the realities of their lives. I enjoy romances where the hero or heroine (or both) are deeply damaged but discover that love heals in unexpected ways.
The first three books in the series were:
The Proposal. Hugo, a giant of man, with a commoner’s heritage and sensibility must deal with an inherited title. He’s barely coping when he’s inexplicably drawn to a woman who is as damaged as he is, but as high-born as he is low.
The Arrangement. Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, was blinded during the war. Frustrated by the constant ministrations of the women in his family, he is determined not to let them saddle him with a wife who treats him the same.
The Escape. Sir Benedict Harper has permanent leg damage. His future is very uncertain given his limited capabilities but he knows that he needs something to give him a sense of purpose. He doesn’t expect that something to include escorting a desperate young widow to Wales.
I’ve just completed the next three books in the series.
Only Enchanting is Flavian’s story. The Viscount Ponsonby stutters. His brain flits away from certain topics in ways that unsettle his composure and his tongue. One of those topics is about the woman he loved before the war. She and both of their families want to rekindle the romance. So, how come he has run away to the countryside where an unprepossessing widow enchants him?
Only a Promise tells the story of Ralph Stockwood . His visible scars merely hint at the misery and guilt within. The need for an heir forces him to consider the marriage mart even though he knows he’s not suitable husband material. What about a woman who has as few expectations of marriage as he does?
Only a Kiss features the one woman in the Survivors’ Club, Imogen, Lady Barclay. She lives in the dower house on her deceased husband’s estate and expects to end her days in service to the elder women in the family and the people of the seaside village. What she doesn’t expect is for the present Earl of Hardford to leave his established life in London and take an interest in his neglected Cornish hall and estate.
The seventh book, Only Beloved, is (presumably) the final of the series since the Duke of Stanbrook is the only remaining survivor. I’ve been looking forward to this one since the Duke is older than the typical hero of a romance novel and I find that a refreshing change of pace.
These books take us all over the English and Welsh countryside with frequent forays into London, albeit 200 years ago. The architecture and interiors, of course, are still recognizable because some of those have been preserved to the present day.
Where in the British Isles has your reading taken you lately?