Review: Simply Love by Mary Balogh

Posted September 13, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 12 Comments

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Review: Simply Love by Mary Balogh
Simply Love

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: Simply Quartet #2
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Dell
Released on February 27, 2007
Pages: 418
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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The Delight

Simply Love was simply the right book at the right time.  I didn’t even know I wanted this story until I was in the middle of it.  It was gently-paced, heartbreaking at times, and a very slow burn romance.  It was an exquisite story and foreshadows the author’s fabulous Survivor’s Club series and returns the reader to the world of the Bedwyns at the same time.


Simply Love is the second of four books that give four very different and differently hurting women who run a girls’ school a chance at love.  These are standalone romances that are closely connected and closely connected to the Bedwyn Saga series, particularly this one so I don’t recommend them out of order.

Anne Jewell plans to spend the summer with her two friends at the school looking after the charity students who live at the school year round.  But, then an invitation to spend the summer with the intimidating, aristocratic Bedwyns for a month on the coast of Wales is not to refused when she knows what it will mean for her son to be around all the children and be exposed to good male role models.  Anne is beneath the Bedwyns as an unwed mother.  She can’t understand how they even tolerate her presence let alone encourage her with their friendship, but they do and refuse to let her hide away in the nursery with the small children.  This leads to an unforgettable encounter with the Duke of Bewcastle’s estate steward, Sydnam Butler.  She shrinks from his scars at first and shrinks from him because of her first time being attracted to a man after her rape.  She wants to deny the unwelcome attraction to Sydham behind a barrier of polite friendship.

Sydham has found a new life for himself.  It wasn’t what he wanted, but he won’t let his family coddle him and without his right arm and an eye he lost his ability to paint since he was right-handed.  Without his looks, he prefers his solitary life in the small Welsh village as Bewcastle’s steward.  Now, with the beautiful Anne visiting the estate with the rest of the Bedwyns he knows he is lonely and wishes he were a whole man once again.  Not that she will allow anything beyond friendship.  Until the attraction pushes them into something deeper and they end up challenging each other to make peace with their pasts so they can have a happy future.

I ended up caring deeply for both Anne and Sydham.  Tragedy hit them and left them working so hard to keep their heads above water that they never realized how lonely their lives have become.  This is a friendship with a sizzling undertone of attraction.  They won’t do anything about the attraction because she can’t be touched by a man without freezing up and she thinks she’s unworthy.  Meanwhile, Sydham thinks his physical scars prevent him from being worthy of courting such a beautiful woman who sees herself as damaged.  I loved how her son was cherished by her and befriended by him throughout their unconventional courting.

Once again, the author isn’t afraid to explore darker and deeper concerns beyond  the romance with rape, rape survivor, war, torture survivor, illegitimacy, and how family, friends and society respond to these issues.

This story is subtle and requires patience for it to tease out.  As I said, it was the right book for the right mood.  I love the author’s writing and I look forward to my next encounter with this series.  Definitely a recommend to historical romance lovers.

Challenges Met

Mt. TBR #69
Fall Reading Assignment #3 Prof. Author Love
Series That Never Ends #9
Library Love #21

Oldie But a Goodie #15


About Mary Balogh

Mary Jenkins was born in 1944 in Swansea, Wales, UK. After graduating from university, moved to Saskatchewan, Canada, to teach high school English, on a two-year teaching contract in 1967. She married her Canadian husband, Robert Balogh, and had three children, Jacqueline, Christopher and Sian. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, music and knitting. She also enjoys watching tennis and curling.

Mary Balogh started writing in the evenings as a hobby. Her first book, a Regency love story, was published in 1985 as A Masked Deception under her married name. In 1988, she retired from teaching after 20 years to pursue her dream to write full-time. She has written more than seventy novels and almost thirty novellas since then, including the New York Times bestselling ‘Slightly’ sextet and ‘Simply’ quartet. She has won numerous awards, including Bestselling Historical of the Year from the Borders Group, and her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She has won seven Waldenbooks Awards and two B. Dalton Awards for her bestselling novels, as well as a Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award.

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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 Fiction

I’m always moved by Mary Balogh’s tortured characters. Here’s another one I’ll have to add to my TBR. I’ll check out the first book in the series since you feel they should be read in order. Another brilliant review, Sophia Rose! 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Same here! It’s like her gift to write these types. You’d probably be all right to jump in here if you read the Bedwyns since there is that connection.

2 years ago

Oh good! Anne gets a book! Thanks for posting. I’ll have to look to see if KU or Audible Escape has it.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Lorna

It was fab. Hope you find a copy, Lorna. 🙂

2 years ago
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Got it free on Audible Escape. Thanks. I have to finish the series first.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Lorna

Yay! This one makes a good follow-up to the series to see where things are at with the Bedwyn crowd now.

Lover of Romance
2 years ago

What I really admire about this author is the way that she addresses the serious issues that many authors avoid. These elements are real and she really places it in the story that is so relatable and really delves deeper. Glad you enjoyed this one too!!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Yes! She went there with the illegitimacy and recovery from war and torture. I respect that, too.

Teresa Mary Rose
2 years ago

I love a well done slow burn romance! And it is always good when you find a book that you are just in the perfect mood for. Great review!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

This was definitely that one for me. Thanks, Teresa! 🙂

Carole Rae
2 years ago

Woah! Loads of darker stuff! Glad it worked well.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Yeah! She went there and it made for a powerful story. 🙂