This is book six in "The Survivors' Club". This story is about the only woman in The Survivors' Club, Imogen, Lady Barclay. She followed the drum with her husband when he went off to fight the French. They were captured behind enemy lines and he was tortured and killed in front of her. A new gentleman is now the Viscount Barclay and Imogen has moved into the Dower House. Imogen is a strong woman who will not depend on anyone for her living. She is fiercely independent and knows that she will never marry again. Like all the Survivors, she has a deep painful secret that she can never forget nor forgive herself. She plans on living her life just the way it is, a little predictable and sometimes boring, except for the three weeks that the Survivors' meet once a year.
Percy Hayes is the new Earl of Hartford and Viscount Barclay. He has the perfect life, money, friends, any woman he wants (no innocents or debutantes) and he is only 30 years old. So why is he suddenly disgruntled with his life. Maybe he is feeling his age. He has always been a carefree Rogue with no real responsibilities. But wait, he inherited a Title and an Estate from a distant relative. Since he did not need the money, he largely ignored the whole business. Now that he was 30 and a little drunk from celebrating his birthday with two old friends, he decided to check out his new estate in of all places the wilds of Cornwall.
By the time he arrives at the Estate he is thinking that it was a stupid idea and should have stayed in London. He was barely in the door when he meets Imogen for the first time and the sparks fly!
I have been reading Mary's books since the mid 80's and have loved every one of them. Her style is wonderfully relaxing but still full of adventure. I wish I knew how to explain it better. When I am reading one of her books I don't get frustrated because her characters and stories are extraordinarily complex but not irritating. The characters are all multifaceted and their is a reason for any and all situations that they find themselves in. Their stories are beautifully romantic and you experience these feelings as you read. Sometimes you are reading a book and you just cannot like the hero or heroine...this has never happened to me while reading one of Mary's books. I get so much satisfaction from reading her books and have never been disappointed. You won't be either. I highly recommend anything Mary Balogh has written and hope that she keeps writing for a long time.