Book Review: Mary Balogh’s Simply Magic

Posted June 28, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Mary Balogh’s Simply MagicSimply Magic by Mary Balogh
This historical romance is a paperback edition was published by Dell on February 26, 2008 and has 433 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

three-half-stars

Other books by this author include Slightly Married, Slightly Wicked, Slightly Tempted, Slightly Scandalous, Slightly Dangerous, A Summer to Remember, Simply Unforgettable, Simply Love

Third in the Simply Quartet Regency romance series which carries on from Balogh’s Bedwyn Saga and revolving around four teachers at Miss Martin’s School for Girls in Bath, England. The couple focus is on Susanna Osbourne and Peter Edgeworth.

The action takes place while Anne Jewell and her son, David, are in Wales (Simply Love, 2 (8)). It’s been two years since events in Simply Unforgettable, 1 (7).

My Take

Poor Peter had done everything expected of him, including fall in love. Who knew he could have such a backbone nor that he would stoop to such menial tasks with such enthusiasm. He’s simply too kind, the wretch.

I understand why Balogh had the lovemaking scene, but the lead-up was poorly done. It didn’t make sense for Susanna to fall into it as she did. I guess Balogh was simply running out of time. Nor could I buy into Susanna’s later reactions to Peter. She knows what that world is like. Sure, Peter’s offer was dishonorable, but what did she expect? And, then again, he sure is a dimwit when it comes to his heart.

I like pink, but Viscountess Whitleaf’s “destruction” of the drawing room… You’ll just shake your head when you hear her say that this refurbishment is for him. Oh. Yeah. ‘Cause what young man doesn’t adore pink and lots of frilly, ruffly pillows…?

While I did enjoy Miss Osbourne’s determined shunning of Peter, her reasons, when we finally learn what they are, are annoying. Then again, as Balogh dribbles out more and more bits, it does become more understandable…and still annoying. I would have liked an explanation of the tremendous contrast between what Lady Markham said about Susanna back when her father died and what the Markhams are saying now. Was that initial comment out of context or…?

Balogh never does mention what his uncles and guardians did that was so horrible that he’s shunned them for the past six years. It’s rather surprising since he’s so very tolerant of his mother, especially when he finds out how guilty she is of so much.

Jesus, Balogh goes on and on about Susanna’s father being a servant, making him sound like he mucked out stables or worked in the gardens. He was Sir Charles’ secretary for godsakes. It’s a step way above servant.

I do wish Balogh had played off Peter’s “There she is” more. Made it more poignant, more emotional and heart-rending.

The Story

Peter should never have mentioned coming home to his earnest mother. Now he’ll have to put that trip off…of course, if he hadn’t, he’d never have met Miss Osbourne.

The Miss Osbourne who sets Peter a Herculean task.

The Characters

Miss Susanna Osbourne, a former charity student, teaches at Miss Martin’s School for Girls in Bath. Her father, William Osbourne, was Sir Charles Markham’s secretary. Colonel Clarence and Mrs. Sadie Osbourne and the Reverend Ambrose Clapton are Susanna’s long-estranged grandparents.

Miss Martin’s School for Girls is…
…in Bath and was created by Claudia Martin who is its headmistress. Miss Lila Walton, a former charity girl, has become a junior teacher. Mr. Keeble is the elderly school porter. Mr.Huckerby is the dancing master. Mademoiselle Étienne is the French teacher. Cecile Pierre. Mr. Upton is the drawing master. Mr. Blake is the physician who attends the school when someone is ill. Mr. Hatchard is Miss Martin’s solicitor and London agent. Agnes Ryde is a new charity girl having great difficulties. Betsy Reynolds is a day pupil. Mary Fisher is a middle school boarder.

The twenty-six-year-old Peter Edgeworth, Viscount Whitleaf, loves the ladies, just not that much. His country estate is Sidley Park. His mother is the nasty, mean-minded, hypocritical bitch, Viscountess Whitleaf, with lots and lots of nasty secrets. His sisters included Barbara (married to Clarence), Doris, Amy (married to Bertie Lamb, Peter’s favorite brother-in-law), Belinda, and Josephine. Millingsworth is his condescending steward.

Lauren, Viscountess Ravensberg, is Peter’s cousin. She’s married to Kit (A Summer to Remember, 0.6), and they have children: Andrew and Sophia. The Earl and Countess of Ravensburg are Kit’s parents, and they all live at Alvesley. Sydnam Butler is Kit’s younger brother who just married Anne Jewell, another former teacher from Miss Martin’s.

The Duke and Duchess of Bewcastle (Slightly Dangerous, 6 & last) are their neighbors. Mrs. and Miss Eleanor Thompson are the duchess’ mother and sister. The Bedwyns and Ravensbergs are heading back to Bath for a surprise celebration of Sydnam and Anne’s marriage. Lady Freyja Bedwyn is the sister of the Duke of Bewcastle and married to Joshua Moore, Marquess of Hallmere (Slightly Scandalous, 3). Lady Potford is Joshua’s grandmother. More siblings include Lord and Lady Aidan Bedwyn (Slightly Married, 1) and Lord and Lady Alleyne Bedwyn (Slightly Sinful, 5) who are in Bath.

Fincham Manor is the home of the Markhams. Theo Markham is the head of the house and brother to Edith Markham with whom Susanna grew up. Edith has married Lawrence Morley and lives in Gloucestershire. They have a newborn son, Jamie. Lady Markham is their mother.

Other neighbors near Sidley Park include the Harrises, the Mummerts, and the Poles.

Somerset is…
…where Hareford House, the Raycroft family home, is located. John Raycroft is Peter’s friend and betrothed to Alice Hickmore who has gone off to Vienna. His sisters include Miss Rosamond.

Lucius and Frances Marshall, the Earl and Countess of Edgecombe (Simply Unforgettable) who live at Barclay Court, are their traveling neighbors — she’s a famous opera signer. Frances had been a teacher at Miss Martin’s. Smothers is their butler. Gertrude, Jane, and Mary Calvert are neighbors of the Raycrofts. Mr. Finn, another neighbor, a gentleman farmer, and the earl’s tenant has two left feet. More neighbors include Mr. Birney, the local vicar; Mr. Dannen does love his monologues; Miss Krebbs; Miss Honeydew is a sister of the newly deceased vicar; Mrs. and Miss Moss; and, Mr. Crossley is a widower.

Miss Rose Larchwell is but the latest of the young hopefuls Peter’s mother is trying to thrust down his throat. Bertha Grantham is a young lady from whom Peter withdrew his unspoken suit. Arabella Flynn-Posy is the Christmas hopeful.

The Cover and Title

The cover is the cheerful green of a garden with a stone birdbath resting in the center with its sculpture of two loving children on top and surrounded by blooming flowers around it and blooming bushes in the distant background. The author’s name is in an embossed white while the title is in an embossed metallic red.

The title is what each feels when s/he see the other, a moment that was Simply Magic.

three-half-stars

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