Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Dell
Released on February 26, 2008
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.
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.
Library Love #22
Mt TBR #73
Oldie But a Goodie #16
Reading Assignment Fall #5 Professor Author Love
Series that Never Ends #10