Review: Simply Magic by Mary Balogh

Posted October 21, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 16 Comments

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Review: Simply Magic by Mary Balogh
Simply Magic

One StarOne StarOne Star
three-flames

Series: Simply Quartet #3
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Dell
Released on February 26, 2008
Pages: 433
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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The Delight

Simply Magic was not quite as magical as I was expecting, simply put.  I adored the last book and have enjoyed Susanna’s bit role in the previous Simply Quartet stories, but her own story turned out to be something of a mixed bag for me.  If one likes beta heroes, and I do, that was the bright spot of this story for me.

Review

Simply Magic is book three in the Simply Quartet spinoff from the original Bedwyns series.  It can standalone with references back to previous couples and parts of the second story taking place in parallel time frame.

Susanna Osborne is a teacher at a girls’ school in Bath where she was once a charity student.  She was sent there at the age of twelve after being found on the streets of London by good people.  Now, her life is quiet and sheltered and she harbors a secret which she keeps tucked close until well into this story.

The story begins with the intro to the happy go lucky hero, Peter Edgeworth, Viscount Whitleaf, choosing to stay some extra time with his friend in the country.  He had decided to stop his aimless life that he has been living since five years before when he called off a courtship just shy of engagement because he wasn’t feeling it with the woman and wasn’t going to marry so young just because it was expected.  He gets labeled for it even if he hadn’t made any promises and it was both their families that raised expectations.  He’s got five older sisters and mother along with extended family who see him as the family hope since his birth just before his father’s death keeps the title and fortune in the family.  Peter has decided to stop avoiding his responsibilities to title and estate, but he still wants nothing to do with his mother’s matchmaking- hence the extended stay with a friend that allows him to encounter Susanna.

So, this story got rolling slowly which was no real issue until it never really picked up in some ways.  I was ready to DNF this one a few times.  First, it was Susanna getting one glimpse of Peter with pretty girls around him and offering pleasantries to them and her.  Her glimpse had her starching up all primness and prunes to label him a shallow flirt and not bothering to hide this.  She hears his family name and dooms him to her frosty disdain even though she knows he was just a kid when her secret issue with his family went down.
Ah yes… Susanna’s secret.  It carried on waaaaay tooo lonnng.  If the author was trying to build suspense, she missed the mark in my case.  I was well over any suspense by the time the truth came out.  It was a dark secret indeed, I’ll give her that.  And, I’ll be generous enough to say that it explained the issue she had upon hearing Peter’s family name.  What it doesn’t really cover is her constant attitude to him and condescension when he proved through words and deeds that he wasn’t what she made him out to be and he was not even the slightest responsible for the past, her hiding it from friends, her continued martyr attitude about being a teacher and a charity girl when all along simple communication with a few people would have changed everything.

Now, Peter, our hero, was a pleasant, lovely soul.  He had a light way about things and he wasn’t a strong confronter.  He liked to please people by doing for them and making them smile and he liked being around people.  He enjoyed fun.  When he decided to take responsibility for his duties, there ended any fault one might have picked with him.  He bent over backwards trying to gain Susanna’s approbation.  He was a gentle soul and struggled going into the bosom of his family and turning things upside down because his mother (oh man I detested this woman) steamrolled things and did whatever the heck she pleased even knowing his wishes.

What was a high point was when the pair of them challenged each other to face up to their issues- Peter’s was his mother and Susanna’s was people from her past.  I love when I see partnering and understanding in a romance pair.  I was somewhat indifferent to this pair after being tired of Susanna’s issues and ignoring the truth of her feelings for… I still don’t know, to be honest even though there were reasons given.

So, in the end, I liked Peter and was glad he got his life sorted and saw the truth of the past with Susanna.  Now, I’m looking forward to our final member of the teaching quartet still single and very resistant to love.  While this wasn’t a favorite of mine, the author’s writing is superb and I can recommend oodles of her books including others in this series to historical romance fans.

Challenges Met

Library Love #22
Mt TBR #73
Oldie But a Goodie #16
Reading Assignment Fall #5 Professor Author Love
Series that Never Ends #10

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Rachel @Waves of FictionCarole RaeSophia RoseCarole @ Carole's Random Life in BooksDebbie Haupt Recent comment authors
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Melliane
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It’s been a while since I haven’t read a HR!

Sophia Rose
Guest

I go in moods when it comes to historicals. Hope you pick up a good one when you get back to HR. 🙂

Lorna
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Lorna

To be honest, I just started listening to Simply Unforgettable last night. I didn’t want to read all of your review because of that. 3 stars does have me wondering though!

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh great! You might end up loving these even if I get so-so about some of them. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
Guest

Sorry this didn’t work for you. It is hard when we struggle with a character.

Sophia Rose
Guest

It really was. She came off as judgmental, overly-naive, and stubborn for me though I’m sure it wasn’t really that bad, especially if a reader doesn’t get off on the wrong footing with her. LOL

Angie Elle
Guest

Oh, man. This heroine sounds insufferable! You’re a trooper for sticking it out. Here’s hoping you jive with the next heroine! 🙂

Sophia Rose
Guest

She really danced on my nerves. I really liked the hero and I was actually curious what the big annoying secret was. 🙂

Debbie Haupt
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Debbie Haupt

sounds good even if it wasn’t a fave, thanks Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose
Guest

That is true. Her writing is always stellar as are her attention to historical details and development. 🙂

Carole @ Carole's Random Life in Books
Guest

I do want to read this author but I think I won’t be starting with this book. Sorry you had some issues with it.

Sophia Rose
Guest

LOL. I love her books, but nope, this would not be my recommendation for your first with her. 🙂

Carole Rae
Guest

I think I read something by her?? Maybe not? I can’t remember. I’d have to check. If I remember correctly I did like it.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Most likely and I have no doubt you liked it. I’ve adored and loved so many of her. 🙂

Rachel @Waves of Fiction
Guest

Having a secret and holding onto it when it doesn’t make any sense just annoys me and stresses me out when I know the reveal is going to cause drama. Sorry to hear there were some frustrations with this one. :/

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes, you get why I got worked up about it. I understood not splashing it about to strangers or new acquaintances, but long-time friends and even the man whose family it involves when it was in the past? I couldn’t figure out why she was holding out and then punishing the poor man for it when it was clearly not his fault. Grr! 🙂