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October 21, 2015

Survivor Club Series

The ProposalSurvivor Club Series

By: Mary Balogh

Every now and then, I find that my reading desires point towards something gentle with a touch of romance that transports me through time. When this happens, I turn to Mary Balogh, one of my favorite Regency-era authors. Balogh is known for her descriptions of the era, clothing, customs, and settings, and provides rich detail to her characters who are all at once charming, flawed, and irresistible.

Balogh recently completed a series called The Survivor Series, which centers around six survivors of the Napoleonic wars. Five men who fought, and one woman whose husband was killed, were brought to Penderris Hall, the home of Duke of Stanbrook, where each recuperated from wounds of the body, mind, and heart. The “Survivors”, as they call themselves, have long left Penderris but remain close, with a bond that transcends friendship. Each year, the group meets for three weeks at Penderris to re-connect, share progress on their journeys towards healing, and to renew their bonds.

The Survivor Series consists of six books, each featuring one of the six survivors from Penderris. Understandably, each is a romantic story with plenty of nods to Regency customs and manners, which makes it an intriguing read. The Survivor men are all gallant gentlemen, if a little rough around the edges; they pursue strong, independent, plucky women. The sixth book, focusing on the female Survivor Imogen, portrays her as a woman of strength and resolve.

This series was truly a joy to read. These books are quick and easy, and it was a pleasant to read novels that emphasize both the romance between characters as well as the friendships that evolve between lovers and those who share their history. My favorite story is most likely that of Viscount Darleigh and Sophia Fry (The Arrangement, Book 2); however each story has plenty of its own merit.

I was excited to find that a seventh book, focusing on George, Duke of Stanbrook, will be coming out in 2016. George is an honorable and lovable character, and deserves his own story. While related, these books do not have to be read in order; you will find your favorite characters popping up in each other’s stories. The Hamilton East Public Library has print and downloadable copies of all of the books that have been published.

Review By: Jessica Diehl