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Simply Magic by Mary Balogh
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5 stars!

I like Mary Balogh, so I expected to enjoy this book; but I was surprised that I absolutely loved it!

Susanna Osbourne is a teacher at Miss Martin's school in Bath. She has no family, since her mother died in childbirth and her father died when she was twelve. She was sent to Miss Martin's by an anonymous benefactor as a charity student, and she remained to become a teacher. She is quite happy and content with her life.

While visiting a former teacher, who is now Countess of Edgecombe (see [b:Simply Unforgettable|110410|Simply Unforgettable (Simply #1)|Mary Balogh|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1171637213s/110410.jpg|1391369]), she happens to meet Peter Edgeworth, Viscount Whitleaf. He is handsome and charming, and seems to feel it's his mission in life to flirt with all the ladies, even the elderly spinster Miss Honeydew. Susanna is immediately on her guard, not just because she thinks he's shallow and frivolous, but because she met him once as a child and his presence brings up unhappy memories. During their two weeks in one another's company, however, they strike up a genuine friendship, which culminates in an afternoon of lovemaking before they part.

Susanna expects never to see Peter again, but when he comes to Bath for a wedding of yet another teacher (see [b:Simply Love|71644|Simply Love (Simply, #2)|Mary Balogh|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170782650s/71644.jpg|427962]), Susanna realizes that she has indeed lost her heart to Peter. (And may I just add right here that being a teacher at Miss Martin's school looks to be a better way of finding a titled husband than attending dozens of balls in London.) Peter proposes, but Susanna turns him down, feeling that he has made the offer out of guilt and obligation rather than love. She also has strong feelings about remaining independent, and she truly loves her life at the school. Again, Peter leaves, and they don't expect to meet again.

I won't go into detail about the rest of their story, but their pasts turn out to be more complicated, and intertwined, than first suspected. Peter has a lot of maturing to do, and he needs to get out from under his mother's domination.

Peter is not a rake or an alpha hero; he's really more of an overgrown boy, but he truly wants to live a meaningful, productive life, having a family and running his estate successfully. At the same time, Susanna has to stop ignoring terrible events from her past, and with help from Peter (and sometimes a little interference from him), she comes to envision a future much different from that which she had long thought was inevitable.

The obstacles to their HEA are serious and real and don't seem contrived. This is just a really sweet story that will leave you feeling happy at the end.

( )
  LadyWesley | Sep 25, 2013 |
When Susanna Osbourne meets Peter Edgeworth, Viscount Whitleaf she recognises him, he doesn't recognise her. She falls for him, but feels that the secrets in her life can never allow her to marry him. They have to open the old wounds of the past to heal her. Peter has to realise what he wants out of life.

It's pretty predictable but quite an interesting read. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Apr 13, 2010 |
First time reader of Mary Balogh, and I did enjoy this story. The first half was sparkling and witty, as Peter attempted to know Susanna a lot more. The sex scenes is the story were a bit of a suprise and I didn't really like the way they were written. Nonetheless, good story. ( )
  gogglemiss | Oct 20, 2009 |
I am a fan of Mary Balogh, but I don't find the "Simply" series as compelling as the "Slightly" series. When you get down to it, they are all cinderella tales. I suppose that is what most of her readers want. Balogh always makes an effort to give her characters more dimension than is usual for this genre. The main character Peter,for example, is a pleasant young man pampered by his mother and sisters, is hardly a stereotypical romance story hero.
  odkins | Oct 7, 2009 |
I really didn't care for this story. It was the second Mary Balogh I've listened to and will be the last. This story was trying to be a lot of things and failed in every way. The interactions between Susanna Osbourne and Peter Edgeworth are really just plain silly. The love scenes fall short and they don't make you pine for the couple to get together. Peter is, for lack of a better word, a wuss who doesn't grow a backbone till the very end of the novel. I really didn't care for the too proud Susanna either regardless of her tragic past. There was no depth to the story and everything was too highly predictable. Overall I would recommend you not waste your time. ( )
  lollypop917 | Oct 2, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440241987, Mass Market Paperback)

On a splendid August afternoon Susanna Osbourne is introduced to the most handsome man she has ever seen . . . and instantly feels the icy chill of recognition. Peter Edgeworth, Viscount Whitleaf, is utterly charming—and seemingly unaware that they have met before. With his knowing smile and seductive gaze, Peter acts the rake; but he stirs something in Susanna she has never felt before, a yearning that both frightens and dazzles her. Instantly she knows: this brash nobleman poses a threat to her heart . . . and to the secrets she guards so desperately.


From the moment they meet, Peter is drawn to Susanna’s independence, dazzled by her sharp wit—he simply must have her. But the more he pursues, the more Susanna withdraws . . . until a sensual game of thrust-and-parry culminates in a glorious afternoon of passion. Now more determined than ever to keep her by his side, Peter begins to suspect that a tragic history still haunts Susanna. And as he moves closer to the truth, Peter is certain of one thing: he will defy the mysteries of her past for a future with this exquisite creature—all Susanna must do is trust him with the most precious secret of all. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Haunted by tragedy, Susanna Osbourne is determined to keep her distance from all men, including handsome Peter Edgeworth, an aristocrat who is determined to overcome the secrets of the past to build a new future with her.

» see all 4 descriptions

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